About the Course
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 design ideas and small batch ceramic production projects.
I teach ‘one-to-one’ at dates to suit you. I'm very flexible on tuition dates and these include weekends, for those busy during the week. I'm also available during any school holidays etc.. I assist industrial designers, craft potters, students or indeed anyone with a passion for ceramics who wish 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 ceramic production. In a very friendly, relaxed and informal atmosphere, your project will take shape before your very eyes!
I offer specialist tuition for university tutors and product design technicians, who wish to expand their knowledge via professional development. Please contact me for the price per day for this tuition.
All guests are very welcome to visit my studio, regardless of current skill level and background. From hobbyists with a passion for pottery, to professionals who wish to expand their knowledge, I cater for anyone wishing to use plaster moulds to replicate ceramic shapes.
All guests go home with moulds 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 wheel-thrown pot) that they wish to make moulds from.
I'm 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 geographically.
My workshop is located at the former Spode ceramic 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 (just down the road) or collect you from Manchester, Liverpool or East Midlands Airports (by prior arrangement and extra fee).
For those who haven't got the time to learn these in-depth skills personally, I offer a complete shape design, plaster modelling, mould making & small batch ceramic production service. In this case, please send me your ideas/images/sketches via email and I'll supply a detailed quotation. For more information about my practice, please find me via Google.
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 or background.
I look forward to hearing from you.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
Use of specialist tools, equipment and materials. If booking more than one day of tuition, I can recommend local accommodation options. Complementary transport can be arranged to and from your accommodation within the city of Stoke on Trent.
Mel and I had an excellent day learning to make a four part mould in Ed’s studio. Ed coped admirably with our many demanding questions - as we have been making very unpretty moulds and book-learning as we go. He was enthusiastic and fun and ignored my bag full of shapes to settle on the most challenging one. So we learnt all the hard stuff, lots of professional tips, took many photographs and made notes and laughed a lot. Now we must quickly make another complex piece to ensure we remember as much as possible. We certainly recommend Ed for an enjoyable time learning a new skill, from someone who knows everything there is to know about casting difficult shapes.
Janice and Mel - - #18639
I too spent a couple of very enjoyable and informative days with the master mould maker Ed Bentley, gaining valuable insight into that particular aspect of ceramics. Furthermore, to add glaze to the clay biscuit, it's worth noting that within one minute's walk of Ed's studio, for those who need it, there is a very good place to stay i.e. reasonably priced, comfortable and recently opened plus a cosy cafe around the corner all within the Spode site. Ask Ed for further details.
Jonathan Groves - - #18409
I went up to Stoke for a 2day mould making course with Ed. I enjoyed it a lot and Ed is very thorough and a great teacher. Would recommend!
Karin - - #18228
Ed Bentley is a master craftsman and it was a great pleasure to do block moulding with him. So much so I went back a few weeks later and we made a ceiling rose together. Happily it came home safely and shall gain pride of place in the hall.
Danny - - #17627
I came to see Ed for help with developing some ceramics ideas, shapes and patterns. He could not have been more helpful, in sharing and using his knowledge to help inform my thinking. He really taught me the process and parameters I will have to work within so that I can now develop my thinking and create designs. A great day. Thank you!
Katy - - #17311
I’ve known Ed for a few years as he was my tutor at Central Saint Martin’s, London back in 2013.
I was wanting a refresher course and time to get involved with plaster again so contacted Ed to tap into his expertise. I travelled from Amsterdam and arrived with my model I needed to cast - then we set to work. Ed is easy to chat over ideas with and the final outcome was great. Cheers Ed, hope to see you in Amsterdam soon!
Kate - - #17034
Spend wonderful day making prototype with Ed !!!!
Thank you for your great expertise and guidance!!!!
I will be back ... and highly recommend to anyone who works with plaster !!!!!
Liz - - #16903
I spent a really informative day with Ed, the course was really thorough and I came away with a fantastic moulding of my model - ready for slip casting in a couple of weeks. Thanks again Ed and I look forward to the next course!
Caroline Jones - - #16772
Spent a fantastic couple of days with Ed making a models and moulds. I've been making my own moulds for a while, but it was absolutely invaluable to learn all the professional tricks of the trade with somebody who was so willing to share his knowledge. This will help no end as I go forward and continue with my MA in Glass and Ceramics at Sunderland University - it speaks volumes about Ed's reputation that the University of Sunderland Futures Fund was willing to fund my place on Ed's course in order to further my studies. Can't wait to come back and learn more.
Layla Khoo - - #16048
I spent 2 days with Ed learning how to make a mould for a model I already had. He was a brilliant teacher and had so much knowledge. It was a friendly atmosphere and I picked up a lot of new tips. I had already been making moulds but I now have so much more confidence to make more complicated things.
Camilla - - #15558
I spent 3 days with Ed, what a great guy. I am a retired architect and wanted to take up slip cast ceramics, as the design, mould making and the possibility of repetition appeals to me. It was great to see how the professional goes about things and learn some of the 'wrinkles' that are not obvious to the inexperienced. I really enjoyed being able to discuss technicalities and possible alternative ways of doing things. An unexpected bonus was that I found turning plaster on a lathe quite therapeutic!
I recommend Ed's patient and professional tuition to anyone wanting to learn the art of mould making in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
John Dowling - - #14933
We had 2 days mould making course with Ed. We are currently studying ceramic design degree course in London. We transferred to this course so we don’t have enough knowledge about mould making so we wanted to learn more skills about mould making during the weekend. It was very helpful and the most brilliant time. Ed taught us the process of mould making very clearly from how to make template to how to make model and mould. We were able to turn four models and made moulds in 2 days. He assisted us and support in every steps of mould making and he is a patient,fun and very gentle teacher :))
We would highly recommend him for mould making needs. we will visit Ed again in the future!~
je ju - - #14901
It was a pleasure to spend two days in the company of master craftsman, Ed Bentley. Together we produced much more than I was anticipating and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I used a lathe for the first time and learned about the model making process. I also gained confidence in plaster mould production, seeing fresh possibilities in my practice.
Marcus Hargis - - #14732
I had a one-to-one day with Ed, at ACAVA studios / Spode Works in Stoke. As someone who works with glass, I wanted to know more about the possibilities of plaster model-making and lathe turning. I also had lots of questions...! Ed was brilliant, friendly and patient. We were able to discuss various options, and then move on to turning and carving the plaster. I left with a much better idea of what is possible with plaster, some handy hints and tips, and a plaster blank so I could continue my voyage of discovery at home. It's great to watch and learn from someone with skill, who knows their materials and tools.
Georgia Redpath - - #14285
If you want to develop your ideas Ed is your man!! On the strength of my previous experience of doing training with Ed , I returned to do two days tuition on the plaster lathe. As before, his excellent knowledge and understanding of the craft is an absolute godsend and it's great to work with someone who really can assist you and support the development of new work. I was able to turn three new shapes and make the block moulds ready for making the 'Case'- Great fun and more than happy to work at my pace!!
Kit Anderson - - #12979
I did a 3 day plaster mould making course with Ed at the beginning of January and even from the booking stage, I knew I'd made the right choice. I cannot recommend this course enough. Ed was on-hand to look at the objects I wanted to cast (via email), made suggestions and once in Stoke-
even picked me up in the mornings! He tailored the tuition to suit my previous experience with mould making and goes above and beyond what is expected of a tutor. The studio is a wonderful place, with the walls used as a place to draw up ideas to demonstrate seam-lines (which I found so helpful- and hilarious). The dedication he has to his craft, professional standing and insider knowledge are only a few of the multitude of reasons I would recommend Ed's course. I would absolutely work with Ed again and would send someone of any level or experience to his studio, as his easy going nature makes learning (and re-learning) so easy.
M.A King - - #12606
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!
Olivia Marsha - - #11144
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.
Alice - - #11099
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!
Kira - - #10976
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.
Suzie McDaniel - - #10811
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.
Ian McIntyre - - #8884
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.
Bill Kelly - - #8336
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.
martin wharmby - - #7433
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
Russell Shaw - - #6442
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.
Kit Anderson - - #5618
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.
Linda Venters - - #5606
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 :)
Raechyl - - #5425
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
joan chan - - #4583
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.
Nichola Naylon - - #4480
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.
Thank you Ed!
Helen S. - - #3894
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 :)
Emilie Atkinson - - #3717
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
Russell Shaw - - #3649
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! :)
Jessica Perry - - #3592
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.
Katy Clark - - #2916
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!
Pauline Gallagher - - #2691
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.
Graham Smith - - #2605
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.
kate stephenson - - #2157
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.
Gill Winsley - - #2049
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
Charlotte Boersma - - #1730
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.
Elaine Henderson at Scapa Studios, Orkney - - #1684
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.
Vivien Barton - - #1675
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.
Eli Colin Payne - - #1665
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.
Zoe Baggott - - #1659
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
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