I will teach you the basics of throwing on the Potter's Wheel at the start of the day, followed by hand-building and coiling. You will then combine all three techniques to produce 1 sizeable finished item showcasing the techniques you have learnt. If, on the other hand you have a particular project you would like realised, I can focus on that for the day instead. I am happy to be flexible.
The Day will be structured as follows (I can flex timings to suit depending on your travel arrangements):
09:00 Arrival & Prep
09:30 Throwing on the Potter's Wheel (1.5hrs)
11:00 Break (tea, coffee, refreshments provided)
11:30 Hand-building Demo & Practise
12:15 Coiling Demo & Practise
13:00 Lunch Break (please bring your own packed lunch)
13:45 Assembly & Clay Properties Demo
16:45 Finishing Off
(Some workshop content may change depending on specific ideas/needs on the day)
I will then fire your piece of work to 1000 degrees (included in the price of the course). You will then be invited to book additional time to glaze your item and learn about firings and glaze techniques after your initial making day. People usually need 1-2hrs of time to glaze their work depending on the complexity of the decoration and number of items. I charge £50 per hour for further glazing tuition and this includes all the tools, glazes and final firing.
Alternatively, you can collect your piece of work and decorate it with acrylic paints and varnish in your own time at home.
I work on a 1:1 or 1:2 basis as I like to give my full attention to students so they can immerse themselves in the process of creating with clay for the day. I am experienced in teaching children ceramics (year 4 to 6th form ages inclusive) in my previous role as 'Ceramics Specialist' at Clifton High School in Bristol.
I also have experience in training & development and holistic therapies, which help me enrich the learning process. I currently have students who come to me with specific learning needs such as autism and visual impairment. These individuals benefit from the tactile and therapeutic qualities of the clay - something that in fact we could all benefit from in our busy lives! I believe we can all find peace within if we choose to focus on the present moment and clay is a medium which can assist in this calming of the mind.
My studio is located at the front of of my house, adjoining my therapy space where you can see examples of the work I produce as inspiration for your own projects. When you come to me you are welcome to use 3 rooms as relaxation areas in your break times. My therapy treatment room at the back of my house, opens out onto my back garden via patio doors, so it is a lovey place to enjoy the peace and quiet in my garden. There is also a therapy training lounge in between my studio and therapy treatment room - this is set out with chairs and bean bags - perfect if you wish to read while you eat your lunch.
My house is situated just 10 minutes from Cribbs Causeway J17 of the M5 and a similar distance from the centre of Bristol. There are also regular local buses that run to Westbury-on-Trym village which is a 5 minute walk from my house. There are also 2 lovely cafes within 2 minutes walk from my house.
If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
All materials are provided such as clays, tools, firings.
Refreshment teas, coffee, soft drinks and filtered water are provided.
NOT INCLUDED: Please bring your own packed lunch to enjoy either in my garden, therapy spaces.
This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.
Next available date
23rd October 2020
I had a session with Sonya at the weekend and found it great fun. Having not done pottery for many years, I was able to learn some new skills to support throwing on the wheel. Sonya was very encouraging and enabled me to explore and learn from my mistakes, which I believe is the very best way to learn. Sonya demonstrated clearly and enabled us to then have time to make several pots of our own.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and can highly recommend Sonya as a great teacher. Thank you Sonya for giving us a great creative and mindful experience!
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Hi Sophie
Sophie and I attend a 121 pottery class with Sonya this weekend. I have to say it was a while since I did any pottery throwing, so was a little apprehensive. However Sonya was brilliant, she took us through a demonstration and then asked us to try it out...very mindful and tactile experience. We even managed to produce a couple of pots each - hope they don't explode in the kiln!
Sonya is very knowledgeable about all aspects of pottery, glazing etc. and I would thoroughly recommend her course...even if it's just for the fun element.
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Dear Jon,
Sonya is amazing! Not only is she very knowledgeable about ceramics, but also a fantastic teacher and lovely person.
My teenage daughter has had weekly lessons which she has used as her skill for her DofE Bronze Award. Sonya has demonstrated and given guidance on a variety of methods and allowed my daughter (who is left handed) to find techniques that she is comfortable with, making the sessions fun and productive without any pressure. She has produced numerous pieces, including a set of mugs, bowls & coasters and is keen to learn more.
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Dear Elizabeth and Emilia,
I ended up at Sonya’s studio, having been let down by a last minute cancellation at a group workshop elsewhere, and I’m so very glad that happened!
I had a tremendous day which positively flew by!
Sonya is very warm, welcoming and accommodating. The 1-1 set up for the day was structured yet flexible and I was able to try my hand at throwing, which I’d always wanted to do and thoroughly enjoyed even if I didn’t end up with anything resembling a pot!
Significantly, I was able to produce a built up wall plaque, which is a very important project to me, and which I’ll be going back to add glaze and lustre to.
I’m really looking forward to learning these next stages and have no doubt Sonya will ensure the experience is informative, personal and fun !
What more could I ask for!
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Dear Hala,
I had a lovely day with Sonya exploring pottery for the first time! It was wonderful to have the one to one tuition. This meant the day could flow naturally with what I found I enjoyed most and where I felt I'd like to get more experience. Sonya was a fantastic teacher, she gave me lots of different methods and ideas of how to work with the clay so that I could find what worked best for me.
I am so pleased with the pots that we made together. I made 3 bowls, a large vase and finally managed to make a little jug after many failed attempts! I can't believe what we managed to do just in the one day. A testament to some really patient and creative teaching from Sonya. I'm now looking forward to glazing the pots and having the finished pieces at home.
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Hi Emma, thank you so much for your lovely review. I'm so pleased you found the day so enjoyable and useful. Yes it was so rewarding to see you produce so many final pieces, especially seeing this was your first time - they will look fantastic when they are glazed!
As soon as you arrive, Sonya's warm welcoming manner makes you feel instantly at home. You're then offered a wide selection of drinks as she sits down with you to discuss what you would like to achieve from the day. I had already been in contact with her on what aspects of pottery I would like to improve on. For me, that was throwing, but it could have easily been slab work or any other hand building technique. Sonya came up with a tailored plan of how she thought the day could unfold. It gave a good mixture of hands on experimentation as well as showing step by step tutorials. She was also very knowledgeable explaining not just how you do something, but why as well. What I liked most, is that even though we had a plan for the day, it could be completely adapted depending on how you took to each task. For example, If you found centring your clay on the wheel particularly challenging, (like I did) then you would spend more time going through that, exploring different methods for centring to find one that would work for your particular style. I would recommend the workshop to anyone from beginner to advanced. You will have a great day and come away with lots of pieces to take home. I look forward to going back to finish glazing them.
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Thank you for your review Matt, I'm so pleased you found the day useful and the numerous pieces you produced are a testament to your improved throwing skills! I will look forward to helping you glaze them so you can start using your plates, bowls and vases!
Sonya is an excellent teacher. I very much enjoyed learning in her studio one to one. It was my first time making ceramics on a wheel, which I found especially fun. I rediscovered the pleasure of making something by getting messy with my hands. A real treat.
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Dear Camille, I'm so glad you found your first experience throwing on the Potter's Wheel a real treat. You worked so diligently with the clay and produced an amazing vase inspired by Hans Coper. It's now fired and ready for glazing whenever you fancy doing the decorative fun bit!
I had such a wonderful time spending the day with Sonya in her lovely studio. I'm an Art teacher and wanted to improve my skills and confidence in Ceramics. I went in without any idea of what I wanted to create and came out with a beautiful vase which was made up of a mixture of hand thrown pieces and some slab built pieces. Having Sonya work with me 1:1 was brilliant and she was able to tailor the session to suits my previous experience with clay which was great. She was also able to share her experiences of teaching in a school which was really useful. I loved it so much I'm thinking about getting my own wheel and kiln. Thanks Sonya!
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Thank you Jasmin, it was a pleasure teaching you and you are such a natural! Your final piece is amazing...degree standard! It is drying at the moment and then once fired you can pop back to decorate it and learn about the Alchemy of glazing! See you soon...Sonya
I absolutely loved my time learning from Sonya! I made three pots, and a mug over my sessions with her... and I particularly enjoyed and benefitted from the 1:1 help to find throwing techniques that suited my hands (rather than just learning a one-size-fits-all-method which I'd found hard before meeting her). Her style of teaching gave me new confidence and enjoyment in working with clay and I'd highly recommend Sonya as a teacher for anyone interested in learning more about the joy of clay!
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Elizabeth, thank you for your review...it has been a pleasure teaching you and helping you perfect your throwing style. It can be difficult to gain a personal style when taught in a group setting so I'm pleased my 1:1 approach has helped enrich your experience with clay and helped you gain in confidence. Your work has certainly reflected this! Keep up the good work and I hope to see you again soon. Best Wishes, Sonya.
It was fun/Amazing I loved it 😀 Sonya is very helpful and fun
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Hi Tom, thank you for commenting on your time spent with me creating with clay! It's been a pleasure working with you and your Dragon in particular! Until next time...
My son has done a couple of projects with Sonya. The first time he went with an idea of a present he wanted to make for his Godmother. He looked up the picture of a frog lazing on a lily leaf. The project was split over several days. He started with using the clay to form and create his lily leaf and frog. Next he painted it then returned to glaze it. Sonya allowed Tom to lead the sessions and helped him create his own idea with guidance and support. This was an amazing and positive experience for him. We are now on his second creation of a Dragon. Sonya was able to provide a theraputic and nurturing environment which allowed my son to flourish. I can not recommend her highly enough
Response from Sonya Ceramic Art:Dear Eddy, thank you for your review! I was so pleased to help Tom with his Frog project. It's always a pleasure to meet children who have such a zest for creativity and ideas and Tom certainly knew exactly what he wanted to create, which helped the whole process along nicely. He's been a pleasure to work with and I look forward to completing the latest Dragon project too!