Experimental ceramics

Course Dates: 09/07/23 - 13/08/23
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: Keeley Street
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.
100% of 100
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £499.00 Senior fee £399.00 Concession £324.00

Course Code: VR747

Sun, day, 09 Jul - 13 Aug '23

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

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 £2.50 per 500g for clay before firing, the porcelain charge is £20:00 per bag/ £10:00 per 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 website for the full range of ceramics courses. Courses may be subject to change

Need art supplies? Our partner London Graphic Centre has everything you need from pencil to printing services, at 15% off.

To get an LGC discount card, students will need to show proof/ confirmation of enrolment of them being a student at City Lit. You can apply for our card in-store or by simply emailing info@londongraphics.co.uk with a scan or photo of relevant confirmation. The student discount does not apply to products that are already discounted or on offer. More information can be found here- https://www.londongraphics.co.uk/student-discounts/.

Alex Simpson Tutor Website

Alex Simpson is a practising artist, teacher and technician. Her area of specialism is hand building sculptural forms, but she teaches a wide range of ceramic techniques to children and adults. As well as City Lit she teaches ceramics at The London Sculpture workshop, Westminster Under School and from her studio. She has also worked as a technician at the Royal College of Art. She has exhibited work across the UK. In 2016 she was selected by the Barbican Arts Group Trust to undertake a solo exhibition Through Viscera at Black Horse Lane. In 2017 she was selected for the Award exhibition at the British Ceramics Biennial Stoke-on-Trent where she created a site-specific installation. Recent exhibitions include, We Sit Together For a Minute, Thames Side Studio Gallery London, Undertow, Sluice Gallery, London and The Bodies That Remain, Horse Hospital, London. In 2015 She graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Masters in Ceramics and Glass. She has a background in drawing and printmaking holding a BA in Illustration from the University of Brighton.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.