Ceramics Workshop

Thursday morning was a very interesting ceramics workshop with tutor and ceramacist  Lara Scobie.

First of all we had a short general talk about ceramics and the properties of the clay we were going to use – porcelain. We had some samples to look at and handle that Lara had made earlier.  All of the samples were small and were shaped and decorated in a variety of ways: monoprinting, embossing and colouring with slip.

Lara then gave a demonstration of how she uses porcelain by using a variety of tools: rolling pins, scrapers, knives, scalpels and her hands.

Lara’s demonstration using pocelain clay

The porcelain dries out quickly ( it needs to be kept wrapped up in plastic when not being used) and it starts to crack, this is when some water can be sponged onto the surface.

Coloured “slip” can be painted over the surface and allowed to embbed into the design, once the slip is dry it can be scraped off any areas it’s not needed.

We were given a lump of porcelain clay and a piece of newspaper to place our clay on to stop it sticking to the wooden work surface. Then the fun began! I used my sketch book to look  at the drawings I had done at the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh and Kelvingrove Museum for inspiration.  I found that this was really useful and made a variety of samples.  I found the clay easy to use and manipulate. I liked the way the impression could be made in the clay quite easily and the fact that it was really quick to make several samples. I used three different colours on several of my samples and also added holes in some of them so they could be developed in some way during the next ceramic workshop.

Leaf pressed into the clay and painted with black slip.

Black slip removed to leave the coloured imprint ready to be fired.

Some more samples ready to be fired.

We then took our samples to the kiln in the ceramic/plastics room in the general workshop where they would be fired and transformed from clay into ceramics!

I really enjoyed this workshop and learned some new techniques.  I felt that I was drawing with the clay to create designs in 3d.   It also brought back lots of happy memories of using plasticine as a child and rolling out pastry to make biscuits with my son.

I’m looking forward to the next ceramic workshop next week and finding out whether my samples have stayed intact in the kin.

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