Oxfordshire Arts is continuing our series of one and two-day workshops aimed at the beginner potter or those who want to refresh and develop existing skills. Tutors for these workshops will be drawn from Mia Sarosi; Jon Crute; Debbie Page; or Alison Jones. We will run these workshops roughly once a month. Numbers will be restricted to 8 (6 for throwing) to allow for the best possible learning experience.

All materials, tools, aprons, firings, refreshments and a light lunch are included in the cost of each workshop (please state any dietary requirements when booking). All work will be bisque fired, glazed and glaze fired and then ready to pick up. We aim for you to pick up your pieces about 3 weeks after each workshop. Please contact Bookings & Enquiries to book and for information about workshops.

One-day Workshops in 2024
Sunday July 14th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £165
Saturday Sept 28th from 10:00 to 16:00 Hand-building £150
Sunday Oct 13th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £165
Saturday Nov 16th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £165
Sunday Nov 17th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £165

Please note that the Throwing Workshops in November 2024 are on consecutive days, and if you would like to book both – making it a two-day workshop – you will only be charged £300

Throwing Workshops

Wheel throwing is the process of forming clay into shapes on a potter’s wheel. It is a common technique for making ceramic mugs, bowls, and plates. The potter shapes and forms wet clay on the wheel, then lets the clay harden and dry a bit to a leather-hard stage before finishing and returning the piece to the wheel for trimming. You can also use the potter’s wheel to add decorative surface design elements like lines, textures, and color by carving or adding slip and underglaze to the clay surface before firing. There are many possibilities when wheel throwing, from creating replicable, functional forms to creating tall, symmetrical shapes and beyond, the possibilities when it comes to wheel throwing are endless.

Handbuilding Workshops

Clay is a material rich in history and possibilities for art making, and handbuilding pottery is the oldest use of the medium. Once you have experience with a few basic techniques, you can make your own functional tableware, vessels, sculpture, installations, and mixed media—the possibilities in ceramics are endless.

Handbuilding is a ceramics technique that allows you to create forms with clay and your hands, without using a throwing wheel. Before ceramicists invented the wheel, handbuilding was the only way they could create functional and artistic ceramic forms. All you need to get started are your clay, your hands, and a few simple tools.

Handbuilding methods and techniques

While handbuilding is as simple as using your hands to form an object out of clay, it encompasses three main techniques and forming methods. Once you have mastered pinching, coiling, and slab building, you can make just about anything out of clay.

Pinching and Coiling

Pinching Pots
Pinch pots are a great first handbuilding technique to learn when you first begin to work with clay. Simply begin with a single ball of clay and shape it into a small pot using only your hands by pressing your thumb into the center of the ball. Hold and spin the ball in one hand while you press the walls out with your thumb. Pinch pots are a direct method for beginning to work with clay and getting familiar with the medium.

Coiling Pots
Coiled pots are created by rolling out long individual coils of clay and joining them together to create a larger piece. Coiled pots can take on any number of forms, and the size can range from small to large. You can also combine the pinch pot method with the coil pot technique by making a shallow dish with the pinch pot method to use as your coiled pots’ base. Continue to build up your piece and keep adding coils until you are satisfied with the form and size.

Slab Building

Slabbing Pots
A slab pot is formed by joining flat slabs of clay together. They can joined at various stages depending on what shape you are making.

You join the two slabs together using a process called “score and slip or slurry”. Scoring your clay is essentially scratching marks on the two sides that will be joined together. After scoring, you will brush slip or slurry on each side as if you are gluing the sides together. A multitude of sizes and shapes can be made using this technique.

You may make paper templates to follow to map out your project and cut the slab accordingly. You can also use a slump mould to create uniform shapes for things like plates and bowls. In this case, you would roll out your slab and drape it over or inside your form.