Experimental ceramics

Course Dates: 12/07/20 - 16/08/20
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Alex Simpson

A chance to use different clays with the addition of oxides, fluxing agents and natural combustible materials. Fuse found objects in the kiln, make biscuit slips and investigate the textural possibilities of glazes.


What is the course about?

This experimental ceramics workshop will focus on less conventional ways of making, introducing new and unfamiliar ways of hand building using a variety of different clays. You will be able to explore the potential of glaze-making to create textural surfaces; fire metal and organic objects in saggers (boxes made of clay), and ultimately discover a more immediate expressive approach to ceramic practice.

What will we cover?

This short course will investigate:
- Paper clay, exploring its properties and its potential as a medium for expression.
- Discover the exciting things that happen when you add combustible materials to clay such as saw dust pearlite and rice.
- The making of glazes which will produce textural qualities imitating volcanic surfaces
- Transforming found objects by dipping them into casting slip.
- Saggers - clay boxes to contain metal and organic objects during the firing process.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Explore Paper Clay, its specific properties and how to use and fire it.
- Mix a glaze; test a glaze; evaluate tests and apply to your work.
- Dip combustible materials into porcelain casting slip.
- Develop a more experimental personal approach to making with confidence.
- Prepare experimental work appropriately and safely before firing.
- Fully understand the health and safety guidelines associated with all ceramic practice.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is either for the adventurous beginner or more ideally for those with some experience of ceramic practice.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught through demonstrations, illustrated talks and handouts, individual and group discussions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There is a charge of £2.00 per 500g for clay before firing, the porcelain charge is £20.00 per bag/ £10.00per half bag.

All basic tools and equipment are provided. Please bring additional personal tools if you have them. You will be asked to bring in simple very cheap objects, materials such as a fork, rice, old tea cup and saucer and textured cloth. This will be explained in depth in the first session. Please bring a sketchbook in which to record results and develop ideas. A camera or a camera phone is very useful for making a visual record.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Part-time, full-time courses and workshops are available at City Lit. Advanced students will be encouraged into more adventurous projects. There will also be a glazing session at the beginning of September for those wanting to glaze pieces of work made during the Summer Term (course codes VR767 and VR766).

After completing this course, depending on your level of experience, you may also be interested in VR710 City Lit Ceramics ‘ VR711 Ceramics portfolio course’. Please check the 2019–2020 prospectus for the full range of ceramics courses. Courses may be subject to change

After completing this course, depending on your level of experience, you may also be interested in ‘Structured ceramics course’, ‘Ceramics portfolio course’, ‘Surface printing on clay’ and ‘Throwing and decoration’.
Please check the 2015–2016 prospectus when published, for the full range of ceramics courses. Courses may be subject to change.


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This was an exceptional course. I learnt so much in four days. One student described the tutor as the Usain Bolt of Ceramics. The quantity and quality of work coming out of the kiln was incredible. The tutor gave so much energy and you could see years of experience flood into students work. If anyone asks what is the difference between Pottery and Ceramics, this course is the answer.
Course Rating
Review by Malcolm Dickson / (Posted on 22/08/2016)
If there was a Star rating of 10, I'd give it to the tutor A practising ceramicist in her own right, the tutor is also a gifted, giving tutor. She prepares her courses with care & makes sure she gives attention to each & every student. Offers terrific support & encouragement. The class is always lively & I came away feeling sheer exhilaration!
Course Rating
Review by AnnieCaird / (Posted on 24/09/2015)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: VR747

Sun, day, 12 Jul - 16 Aug '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £449.00
Senior fee: £449.00
Concession: £449.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions? visualarts@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.