Oxfordshire Arts has introduced a new series of one and two-day workshops aimed at the beginner potter or those who want to refresh and develop existing skills. We are very pleased to introduce two new Tutors to run these workshops, both from the Abingdon & Witney College Foundation Art & Design course – Emma Baldwin and Steve Broughton. 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.

One Day Workshops
Saturday May 28th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £165
Sunday May 29th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £165
Saturday June 25th from 10:00 to 16:00 Hand Building £140
Sunday June 26th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £165
Two Day Workshops
Saturday July 16th and Sunday July 17th from 10:00 to 16:00 Throwing £300

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 call or email Alison to book and for information about workshops.

Introduction to Pottery – 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

Tutor: Emma Baldwin

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

Tutor: Emma Baldwin

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.