Creative Handbuilding – Inspired by Ancient Ceramics

Explore the sculptural potential of coil building. During this course, you'll be amazed and inspired by ancient Japanese ceramics, the oldest pots in the world.

Cath will introduce you to the fundamentals of coil building enabling you to create a large sculptural vessel that will surprise yourself and others. You will not only create a beautiful large form, you will learn a range of decorative techniques to embellish the surface resulting in a unique and impressive artwork.

As inspiration, Cath will take you on a ceramic history journey – focusing on ancient Jomon pots from Japan dating back to 10,000 BCE. From there, the class will consider the sculptural properties, decorative techniques and contemporary motifs for your own work to create something for the present moment.

Pots will be mid-fired to 1200 degrees but no glaze will be used. Oxides, slips and underglaze will be available if participants wish to add colour and highlight textures. The course focuses on creating work that will be decorative/sculptural, not functional.

  • Full days - Monday to Friday - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Suitable for ages 16 to adult
  • Everyone
  • Join waiting list

Course Info

Day One

Introductions to the course, the space, tools, materials and each other.

We take a look at inspirational historical work and discuss some of the techniques we will be exploring.

Demonstration of fundamental techniques and process to get you going.

A series of hand-building exercises using a range of techniques to get participants in the creative zone.

Day Two

Each participant will begin their major work building on ideas generated during the first day. Participants will be supported in the development of their ideas and appropriate techniques.

Day Three

Continuing on with making.  An afternoon presentation and discussion about decoration, surfaces and finishes will help refine decorative ideas and the opportunity for the participants to share challenges and surprises they are finding in the process.

Day Four

Finalising work. Planning for our exhibition on day 5.

Day Five

A group show and tell whereby everyone will display and discuss their work and celebrate the outcome.

Please note: Only one piece of work per person will be fired by the tutor. Firing of additional pieces created is the responsibility of the participants when they return home. Cath can direct you to relevant firing services depending on where you live.

This course is for everyone. It will be challenging and inspiring for beginners and it will stretch you further if you already have some experience.

Some familiarity with the stages of clay as a plastic and leather hard medium will be an advantage but not essential.

Please bring the following on your first day of class:

  • A towel
  • Apron
  • Students must wear covered, non-slip shoes

Your class has an extra cost of $80 – this cost includes:

  • One bag of clay
  • Slips – slip is liquid clay that can be painted on to surfaces for decorative effect
  • Underglaze – underglaze is similar but different with a larger colour range

Basic tool kits and additional clay will be available for purchase

Payment details provided on booking.

Happy Camper Reviews

Cath Fogarty
Course Tutor

Cath Fogarty

Cath Fogarty has worked as a potter, teacher, curator and manager over the last thirty years. Her own work has focused largely on creating slip-cast tableware based on handbuilt and carved pieces.

Early in her career, she focused on hand-building sculptural ceramics such as wall fountains and relief sculptures. Cath taught ceramics at Gymea TAFE in Sydney for three years whilst also running private evening classes. After working at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery for the last five years, she has returned to her own practice and teaching.