Unique Vases – Creative Handbuilding

Explore the sculptural potential of 'the vase'. Over the week, you'll take the journey from a vessel to hold a bunch of flowers - to unique sculptural artwork that can highlight a single flower, leaf or twig.

Cath will introduce you to a range of hand-building techniques that you can utilise to create myriad forms – including slab construction, coil building, pinching and modelling forms and surfaces. You’ll start with short exercises and then embark on a larger piece or pieces.

As inspiration, Cath will take you on a journey through some famous vases and vessels in ceramic history – both ancient and contemporary. From there, the class will consider the sculptural properties of flowers to get the creativity flowing.

  • Full days. Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Ages 16+
  • Intermediate, Advanced
  • Places available

Course Info

Day One

Introductions and a look at vases and objects, both historical and contemporary, as well as examples from Cath’s collection.
A series of short hand-building exercises using a range of techniques to get participants in the creative zone.

Day Two

Each participant can build on ideas generated on day one to build up a larger version of a vase or bring a completely different idea they would like to work on. Participants will be supported in the development of their ideas and appropriate techniques.

Day Three

Continuing on works, with an afternoon presentation and discussion about decoration, surfaces and finishes. And the opportunity for the participants to share challenges and surprises they are finding in the process.

Day Four

Finalising the forms for work created and embarking on decoration and surfaces.

Day Five

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

This course is for people with clay handling experience and prior knowledge of coil and or slab construction methods.

This also includes some familiarity with the stages of clay as a plastic and leather hard medium.


A towel


Students must wear covered, non-slip shoes

Students are welcome to bring their own tools. Make sure names are clearly marked.


One bag of clay slips, underglaze and glaze

Basic tool kits will be available for purchase


A material cost of $40 is payable to the tutor on the first day.

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.