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An introduction to ceramics - handbuilding and surface decoration

Experimentation and learning to work with raw clay

About the Course

This hands-on weekend course (10 hours across 2 days) will introduce you to the versatility of clay, from making functional items like tableware to conceptual sculpture. You will be fully supported in making objects of your choice through group demonstrations and one-to-one guidance, in a fun and friendly environment, from tutors who are specialist ceramics graduates from the Royal College of Art.

This course is ideal for a beginner who would like to experience and explore the main ways of making ceramics through pinching, coiling, slab building and slip decoration. With practical demonstrations and one-to-one tuition you will be guided through making and decorating a range of ceramic objects. These techniques have the potential to be used to make anything from functional ceramics such as mugs, plates, platters, bowls, cups, planters, to figurative or sculptural works.

On the first day you will learn about different types of clay and their uses, how to prepare your clay through wedging, how to pinch a bowl form, roll coils, roll a slab and begin coiling a pot or object of your choice.

On the second day you will learn how to roll a slab to build a cylinder, cube shape or object of your choice. We will then show you how to decorate your forms with a range of tools and techniques including painting, stencilling, sgraffito and slip trailing with coloured decorating slips.

Kiln firing will also be explained and your creations will be fired after the course. Because your work needs to dry and be fired before glazing you will have the opportunity to select a piece of work to be glazed by the tutor after the course. The tutor can also advise you on alternative surface finishes.

By the end of the course you will have the fundamental skills needed to hand-build anything you can imagine in clay! You can use these techniques at home or in your studio with air-drying clay or the real stuff and bring it to us to fire it for you. At London Sculpture Workshop we offer a kiln firing service for groups or individuals.

Please contact us via the link above for more details.

If you would like to glaze the rest of you work from this course, or perhaps have something you have been working on outside of the course, you can bring it along to one of our glazing workshops. This short course gives you the opportunity to take your work and understanding to the next level, by learning how to apply glaze using a variety of techniques.

Classes are for a maximum of 12 people ensuring everyone is supported in a fun and friendly environment. The tutors are two RCA graduates who are experienced artists, teachers and technicians. After the course you can improve and learn new skills on our intermediate course.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

Please note:
The course cost includes all materials and two kiln firings. For health and safety reasons we ask you to wear closed footwear (no sandals or flip flops). Aprons will be provided but it can get messy. Please bring a notebook.

Due to the drying and firing process the work will be ready in 2 - 4 weeks. London Sculpture Workshop will email you when your masterpieces can be collected. The workshop is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30am - 1pm and 2pm - 5:30pm.

Course times: 10am - 4pm (with a 1 hour break for lunch)

Number of places available: 12

Tutors: Alex Simpson (RCA) and Lauren Ilsley (RCA)

Alex obtained her Masters degree in Ceramics from the Royal College of Art. She works as a ceramics technician and teacher alongside her own practise.

Lauren is a sculptor who obtained her Masters degree in Ceramics from the Royal College of Art. She is a ceramics tutor and technician alongside her practice.


London Sculpture Workshop at London Sculpture Workshop
Thames Side Studios, Unit Zero, First Floor
Harrington Way
SE18 5NR
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Suitable for

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  • Suitable for beginners

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