The art of pottery and ceramics has been explored for thousands of years as a practical and artistic outlet by adults and children alike. It is suggested that learning ceramic skills can benefit your mind and body, assisting in reducing stress, increasing focus, and encouraging experimentation and exploration of creative thinking.
Workshops and classes on ceramics will vary in frequency and location. There are educational institutions offering diplomas or degrees in fine arts and ceramics, otherwise local potters studios and organisations will offer workshops showcasing a particular artist or technique over a number of weeks.
The following are the five main ceramic techniques that will be addressed in these classes or workshops.
- Coiling – although coiling can be time consuming, it is one of the more basic ceramic techniques used to create anything from pencil holders to large pots. Coiling involves rolling soft clay into quarter to half inch thick rolls, and stacking them up on a flat, typically rounded base.
- Pinching – perhaps the most direct method we have of interacting with clay, pinching involves pushing and molding a ball of clay into the desired shape. This technique is generally used to create small pots and sculptural forms but potters are given full creative reign over their materials.
- Slab construction – this method involves joining slabs of clay together, however thick or thin you would like for your project, to create a sculpture. Although it sounds very straightforward, there are difficulties in mastering how to manipulate the clay and keep it from warping.
- Slip casting – seen as one of the more mechanical or restrained techniques, slip casting is pouring slip – liquid clay – into a desired mold to harden, with the potter trimming and adjusting the sculpture before setting out to dry.
Wheel throwing/hand throwing – when you think of pottery, you think of a potter’s wheel. Wheel or hand throwing once mastered is a fast way to build vessels by manipulating the clay with pressure and speed.
For those looking for a new experience or activity for the family, local arts organisations will usually host craft days where you can get your hands dirty and get creative. Contact your local council or search for your nearest potter’s club or organisation to find what may be on offer in your area.
The following are a few organisations and courses available throughout Queensland: