Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
Have your ceramic shape ideas transformed from sketches into plaster moulds ready for slip casting, or attend an in-depth course to be taken through this process with expert guidance. With over 30 years’ experience as a professional ceramic shape designer, product developer and educator, I’m able to assist all makers with their ceramic design projects.
I teach ‘one-to-one’ at dates to suit you. I can assist industrial designers, craft potters, students or anyone wishing to develop their skills further. You may have a large order to fulfil and wish to speed up the making process by casting from plaster moulds, or simply be interested in learning more about industrial ceramic methods of production. In a very friendly, relaxed and informal atmosphere, your project will take shape before your very eyes!
All guests are very welcome to visit my studio, regardless of current skill level and background. From hobbyists with a passion for pottery, to university tutors and technicians who wish to expand their knowledge, I cater for anyone wishing to use plaster moulds to make shapes to then kiln fire.
All guests go home with a mould ready to use once dried.
I cover all the following skills in depth:
• concept sketching and shape designing
• simple technical/working drawings
• tableware, giftware and figurine shape modelling/carving in clay and plaster
• lathe and bench whirler plaster turning for circular shapes
• plaster sledging/profiling with a metal tool and template for irregular/aesometric shapes
• tea pot and cream jug handle and spout modelling
• sprig moulding and relief plaster modelling for surface decoration
Jigger/jolley moulding for machine plate and bowl production
• plaster mould making (from simple drop-out to multi-part moulds)
• slip casting
You are welcome to bring a current project with you or start something new. Some guests bring along an existing item (such as a found object, existing ceramic shape or thrown pot) that they wish to make moulds from. I'm also available to travel and deliver mould making tuition in your own workshop anywhere in the UK, Europe and worldwide. If you don't require the use of my plaster turning lathe or bench whirler, I can bring a selection of tools and specialist equipment with me to wherever you're located.
My workshop is located at the former Spode factory in the heart of the pottery industry of Stoke on Trent UK. You could combine your stay in the area by visiting the following pottery museums and heritage sites -
- Stoke Museums
- Historic Spode Factory
- Middleport Pottery
- World of Wedgwood
- Emma Bridgewater Factory
I can recommend various accommodation options on request. For those arriving by car there is free parking on site, or I can meet you at Stoke-on-Trent railway station or collect you from Manchester and East Midlands Airports (by prior arrangement and at extra cost).
For those who haven't the time to learn these in-depth skills personally, I offer a complete shape design, plaster modelling and mould making service. In this case, please send me your ideas/images/sketches via email and I'll supply a detailed quotation.
Please contact me about your project, or for more details about my courses and we'll take it from there. I will happily answer all your question whatever your requirements.
I look forward to hearing from you.
What's included in the price?
The cost of a one-day course is £200 per person and includes use of specialist tools, equipment and materials. If booking more than one day's tuition, I can recommend accommodation options.
As a complete beginner to ceramics, I was lucky to find Ed here at Craft Courses. He's the loveliest tutor I've ever met and so knowledgeable in plaster works, his experience speaks for themselves during the two-day class. Can't wait to try my moulds back home! Would definitely recommend!
I am a furniture maker, and wanted to create a mould for a new product. Ed was very open and listened to what I needed to create. A patient, gentle natured person very knowledgable in the mould making world. He also understands the production of the piece afterwards, so takes you through the whole process and creates a mould for your needs. I would highly recommend him for any mould making needs. An incredible view onto the old Spode factory, a perfect setting. I didn't get to eat one, but would recommend trying an oat cake if in Stoke on Trent, Ed knows a good place.
Travelled from Malta for a one to one mould making course with Ed. So happy that I came across Ed's details, he is a wizard of plaster, knows everything and even more. I didn't expect to learn so much, I didn't know how complicated it's to make a perfect mould, a mould that will last and will produce excellent slipcast pieces. Make sure that your phone has enough memory on it, there will be a lot of pictures, especially if you are newbie, there will be a lot of things you don't expect. Ed is fun and is very patient, and he makes sure that you will learn what you came for. I definitely will continue to work with Ed, hopefully next time in Malta. Thank you Ed!
As a relative newbie to ceramics, I wanted to learn a new technique - so came to visit Ed as a complete beginner with no experience of mould making. Any worries I had disappeared as Ed explained everything I needed to know really clearly. I had a really fun and informative two days with Ed - he is brilliant company and 30 years experience means he knows his stuff! I can’t recommend Ed highly enough.
I worked with Ed on a research project as part of my doctorate studies with Manchester School of Art, York Art Gallery and the British Ceramics Biennial. I have a number of years experience in ceramic design for production but Ed's industry know-how and refined model/mould making skills were exactly what I needed to visualise and test some of the ideas. When I hit technical sticking points and needed a soundboard he was passionate, enthusiastic and jumped straight in. I'll be working with him in the future for sure.
I work at Blackburn College Lancashire as 3D/Fine Art Technician. I came to Ed's to rekindle my mould making skills supported by the staff development department.
I cant recommend Ed enough. Having been connected to the ceramics industry in Stoke for 30 years Ed knows numerous tricks of the trade which he's only too willing to pass on.
I took along two models I'd been working on. A sculptural piece in the form of a cat's head and a more functional piece in the form of a lidded box. Ed, masterfully, used these to produce two perfect moulds. I documented each step with my smartphone which will be really useful for college.
Ed's a great teacher and easy going company to boot.
Went to Ed's with some designs on paper and came back two days later with two beautiful moulds. The various processes were explained simply and very clearly the first morning, then we set about making the two moulds and developed the designs in the making process. I came with an understanding of the principles of the process but it was the detail that made it so valuable for me.....just how thick should that plaster be?....how do you get that glassy finish on the pattern? It was also fun, Eds interesting and really good company.
Less than a year later and I’m back again from Australia for another 3 days of high quality design and mould making along with great company. I love Ed’s new studio in the Old Spode factory.
Ed’s ability to convert a concept into a plaster mould of the highest quality is sensational. His attention to detail and the quality of his work is fabulous, while at the same time sharing his knowledge and giving me skills that I can use in the future.
All this and it is delightful to spend time in his company. Good coffee, great chats and high quality work. I’ll be back again soon! Thanks Ed
I was fortunate to have three days with Ed and it was brilliant! I can't recommend him enough!! I came with a reasonable knowledge but really lacked the finer technical skills knowledge to make really good moulds.
I was treated to a 'master class' of top tips , great technical skills and very good background knowledge of the process and all done with great humour . There is a great art to imparting information to other people so that they have the understanding and confidence to put it into practice. This will be of great benefit to both my job as a technician and lecturer and in my own ceramic practice.
I absolutely loved my 2 days learning to mould make at Ed's new workshop in the ex-Spode Factory, Stoke. It was great to reproduce my broken Green Man and create a mould of him from which I can make perhaps 100 copies. At the same time I benefited from a great free counselling session with Ed (who is a truly kind, caring and empathetic person) and we definitely put the world to rights. I plan to revisit at some point in the future.
Ed solved every problem I threw at him. He had plenty of handy tips and tricks for mould making which I can't wait to put into action. Ed's a great teacher and a great guy who clearly has a passion for his craft. I'd highly recommend the course to anybody who had an interest in mould making :)
Just spent 2 days on Ed's mould making course, i made a complicated shape in clay which Ed showed me how to make a mould of for slip casting. I had previously done a ceramics degree, which did cover mould making but unfortunately i wasn't really paying much attention to it, Ed covered so much information that what i had done all came back, only now, i had a totally one to one tuition and every question was answered and expertly shown how to do the process. I was expecting just to get my mould made but was taught so much more, the difference in plasters, which tools to use and how everyday objects can be used, how what i have in my own pottery studio can be used to turn the plaster etc etc. You don't just get the tuition, you meet a genuinely nice generous guy, who has the skill and confidence to share what he knows
I travelled through the beautiful, snowy Staffordshire countryside to spend a fun, informative and rewarding two days mould making with Ed. I had previously learnt the principals of mould making and slip casting at university but as that was over ten years ago, I felt I needed to brush up on the details of my knowledge.
Ed is extremely patient with no question, idea or problem too big or too small for him to devise a workable solution, filling in all the technical details I'd forgotten as we worked. Ed boosted my confidence and inspiration to take the skills I learnt on to improving and developing my practice.
Set in stunning countryside Ed's knowledge, skill and attention to detail mixed with a fun, calming environment was the perfect, inspiring weekend, a creative retreat.
I spent two days with Ed who was more than happy to tailor-make the time to meet my needs, more around the design/construction of press moulds than moulds for slip casting in this case. I left with a much clearer understanding of the techniques of mould making and two useful moulds into the bargain.
Ed is a great listener and communicator and as a result a very good teacher. I think he has found his niche, which is good for the rest of us! He is also a very skilled designer and maker, useful on an ongoing basis for more complex projects.
Even in wild December, the setting of the craft barn is really beautiful and I would recommend the trip for anyone looking to get away from if all to focus on improving their skills with the help of an expert teacher.
Over the two day 'mould making for slip casting ' course I did with Ed I learnt an incredible amount. I left the craft barn buzzing with 2 beautiful moulds in tow. I am eager to put all that I have been taught into practice right away. Ed is a genius! Thoroughly recommend his courses. Thank you Ed :)
I spent 3 days with Ed and it was a fabulous experience. I came from Australia to spend some time with Ed and he made me feel relaxed and confident. He was able to take my design for a vase and show me how to convert my original idea into a design that was both visually pleasing and practical.
He was very welcoming and explained each step of the way through the project with humour and generosity and he was patient and a joy to be with. I found it was very easy being in his company, and he can make great coffee!
I now feel that I have gained great insight into what is possible with mould making and Ed has given me confidence, and a framework with which to tackle projects on my own.
Thank you Ed
I booked myself in for a 3 day course with Ed at Manifold Craft Barn, and I can honestly say that I left there with a lot more knowledge and confidence when it came to mould making!
Ed's passion and commitment to his craft is so inspiring and he really took the time to walk me through every process that he went through. He was extremely patient, and no question was too silly, such an approachable lovely guy! I also have to mention how fun the whole experience was! good humour, good conversation, and he can make a hell of a coffee.
I came away from the course with a mould of a mug and handle that I had designed and that Ed helped me to develop, I was so pleased with the outcome.
I really feel that I could go back to uni and delve right into my last year with the confidence that I gained from the course. I hope to create some really nice work with my new skills! I would definitely recommend him to anybody that is considering going into this field,
Thank you Ed! :)
My two days with Ed were a huge learning curve, and just what I needed to improve my mould making skills. He's a great teacher, patient, enthusiasic and genuinely interested in your plans and ideas.
Over the two days we modelled a cup on the plaster lathe and carved a handle and I left his lovely workshop inspired and full of new ideas. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to know more about the art of mould making.
Ed Bentley travelled to bonnie Scotland recently to show me how to make moulds of my hand-thrown pieces of pottery. What an extraordinary man. His understanding, gentle nature and quick wit made the experience an absolute joy. He truly has the patience of a saint. I would have been overjoyed if Ed had shown me how to make one mould. However, he showed me how to make two: A three-piece mould and a one part drop-out mould. His attention to detail is extraordinary as he produces moulds which look like works of art in themselves. He is super talented, while so down to earth. I could not recommend Ed Bentley highly enough. Thank you so much Ed. Haste ye back!
I have recently (29th April-1st May 2015) spent three really great days in Ed's studio.
My planned project was to produce a new working mould of a pot design I had made 25 years ago at Art College. (The existing mould - having not been used for all those years - had begun to crumble away at the edges, and was no longer able to produce acceptable casts).
Ed was enthusiastic about the challenges that this shape of pot presented, and was a very good, patient instructor and demonstrator of each stage of this fascinating process.
His easy going, supportive nature gave the studio time a very encouraging atmosphere, and certainly strengthened my confidence.
We finished the three-day course not only with a magnificent, professional, and beautifully finished mould, but also with a new 'model' for me to make further moulds from - and my notebook full of the process details.
I can highly recommend Ed and this course. It's a really marvellous opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the mould making process, resulting in a beautiful, workable solution to any design idea.
Ed came to the workshop at Workbridge in Northampton where we produce slip cast terracotta pots, garden and domestic. He showed me how to be able to make new moulds from our existing worn out moulds and to make a mould for a new shape. He spent three days with me and we produced cases for three replacement moulds and one new mould. He was very easy company and managed to stay focussed despite the interruptions in the workshop! I learned loads, lots of tips and good techniques. I am sure I will be visiting his Barn soon, thanks Ed.
Ed was my tutor on a 2 day course at Potsclay last summer & I remember thinking 'what am I doing here as such a novice'? How wrong was I. I came back with a great mould from a complex plastic Italan bowl which I love reproducing from, but also with happy memories of the great knowledge, fun and confidence Ed gave us all. I definitely plan to go again & tackle even bigger projects under his expert eye! A real privilege to be taught by him.
Several years ago I had the privilege of being tutored by Ed Bently at the Glasgow School of Art - Ceramic Design Degree course.
Ed introduced us then to the world of designing plaster models as a base for making of plaster moulds and (re)production of ceramic objects.
In april of this year it was the time to make my first commercial plaster model. Easy choice: Ed.
With three other GSA graduates I enjoyed Ed's taylored 3-day Plaster Mouldmaking for Slip Cast Ceramics at Moniforld's Craft Barn.
We had three really great days of super professional model making, mould making, design talk, tutoring, idea swapping, eating, drinking and shere fun.
And of course I am now producing like a mad woman! :-)
With love from Amsterdam, Holland
First met Ed when he tutored us on the BA Ceramic Design course at Glasgow School of Art in 2008 when he introduced us to the joys of precision drawing, technical design and plaster moulds. Went down to the Craft Barn with three other GSA graduates earlier this year for a refresh in plaster designing and moulding. Can't imagine a more knowledgeable or helpful tutor, will bend over backwards to adapt to whatever you need to know, has the patience of a saint, ( we were a very demanding bunch!) and has a good humoured, relaxed but focused style. Combined with the lovely residential facilities, you won't find a better course in this field.
I had the most brilliant time learning to make moulds from the clay wall plaques I had made. I was shown how to prepare the figures , before the process , and with Ed's expertise and support I made my moulds. I have never had the opportunity before to be able to learn to make moulds , and to have one to one tuition, with Ed made it possible. Ed is patience itself, and along with his fun and enthusiastic attitude, nothing seems impossible. If anyone is thinking about having a go at mould making , either on their own or with a few friends, have some fun in lovely surroundings I as a beginner, can recommend it . I cant wait to try my moulds out Ed! Thank you.
I initially booked myself on a one day course at the craft barn, but we ended up needing two days for my first animal wall sculpture. Sid the stag has proven to be very popular with galleries and I love the finished product every time...this is all down to Ed at the craft barn. Ed was extremely patient and has helped me through every stage of the process. I walked away with plenty of pictures and have managed to make a mould of my new bulls head on my own...its nowhere near Ed's high standards, but a huge thank you for teaching and guiding me Ed...your experience has proven invaluable to my projects.
My experience at the craft barn was very beneficial as I wanted one of my products that I designed to become reality and this was made possible. I booked into a 2 day course where we created a mould for the basis of my prototype. Working with Ed was really good fun, his vast experience within the industry showed through the execution of the mould through the different stages. This was excellent for me as I was able to be a part of the whole process and learn as well as bringing my product to life. I fully recommend this course to anyone who is interested in making pottery themselves or like I did making a prototype at an affordable cost. I will be using Ed's services again for future product development.