Birds – sculpting in paper clay with Susan Halls

Pottery and ceramics

Ref: S3D11244

Suitable for all

Join waiting list

Course full - scroll down for other

About this course

Work with stoneware paper clay, coiling, slabbing, pinching and dowel work to construct your bird specimen. Slip painting offers a means of colouring your bird before firing.

Course Description

As a subject for sculpting the bird presents an infinite variety of shapes and personalities. Owl, duck, penguin, chicken or parrot are all worthy subjects but there is also room for species invention – a fantasy bird or non-specific hybrid could present exciting visual possibilities. The main concern is a formal one, how to get pieces to stand. Two legs, particularly thin ones can create technical difficulties, but with a shift in your thinking and a willingness to embrace the nature of the material exciting interpretations are at hand.

You will work with stoneware paper clay and use electric heat guns to speed up making. Coiling, slabbing, pinching and dowel work will be techniques for construction, so no armatures or hollowing out. In most cases, think big, let’s work larger than life. Slip painting will be offered as a means of colouring the work before firing


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The cost of clay/glazing materials and firing costs of work made – large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.

What students need to bring

  • Bring a sketch pad with some doodles or sketched ideas – even if they are photographs, gathering information is beneficial. Consider the subject matter and narrow your choice.
  • Sketchpad
  • Overall/Apron (preferably cotton or laminated fabric)
  • Basic pottery tools if you have them – especially a potter's knife

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A wide range of sketchbooks and drawing equipment, including items listed above
  • Some pottery tools
Firing options: Fill in the form supplied and leave any raw, finished pieces that you wish to keep, for biscuit firing, basic glazing and re-firing by the College, for collection within six months. 2. Take away your unfired sculpture for firing and glazing elsewhere.


Susan Halls

Susan intended to study illustration, but beguiled by the art school's ceramics department she jumped ship and has never looked back. After two years studying for her MA she established her London studios, moving to the USA in 1998 where she continues to teach and make sculpture.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Sign-up to be the first to know

Sign up to our Short Course enews to hear about new courses, late availability and get creative inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.