Pottery and ceramics

A throwers' workshop with Alison Sandeman

Ref: S4D10598


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About this course

Explore and develop your ideas for wheel-made forms and build on your throwing skills. You have your own wheel throughout the course and a range of stoneware clays, with an earthenware clay also available.

Course Description

In this exploration of the relationship between function and form, many practical points are also discussed and demonstrated during this week of creativity and an exchange of ideas. You will be able to explore and develop your own ideas and designs for wheel-made forms under the guidance of the tutor, who will assist with the challenges of the wheel and the focus on the relationship of form and function. The workshop will also include discussions and demonstrations on many practical points. Any problems you have met in your own studios or pottery classes will be discussed.

You will have the use of your own wheel and a choice of three stoneware clays. An earthenware clay will also be available. The workshop is intended for those who have basic throwing skills, including being able to confidently centre clay on the wheel. Pots completed on the workshop can be left at the College to be biscuit fired. You will have the option of returning to the College for a Glazing Day.

On the first evening of the course the group will meet to discuss their making plans and prepare for the week ahead. The tutor will assist with details relating to wheels, batts, clays, clay preparation, weights and sizes. You have the option of being able to use the pottery facilities until 9pm each subsequent evening of the course. You will also have the opportunity to watch slides and videos relating to throwing and turning on some of the evenings.


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 all clay, glazing and firing costs (large work in size and quantity may be charged extra).
  • Basic tool kits are provided in the pottery for use during the course.

What students need to bring

  • Overall, old towel
  • Books and pots of interest
  • 20 Clean plastic shopping bags/small bin bags
  • Your own throwing batts, if you prefer them

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, pottery knife
  • Rough paper or sketch pad and pencil
  • Wood or plastic ruler
  • Natural sponge
Firing and glazing options: 1. 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. Leave raw, finished pieces for biscuit firing at the College. You can then book a place on a Glazing Day and glaze your own work (allowing four weeks for your work to be biscuit fired). This work will be re-fired after glazing and available for collection within six months. 3. Take away your unfired pots for firing and glazing elsewhere. Course reading list: For those interested in reading any books before the course, the following may be in your public library: The Craft of the Potter by Michael Casson (BBC Publications) The Complete Potter's Companion by Tony Birks (Conran Octopus) The Techniques of Throwing by John Colbeck (Batsford Watson-Guptill) Throwing by Richard Phethean (Blandford) Throwing Pots by Phil Rogers (A & C Black) 10,000 Years of Pottery by Emmanuel Cooper (British Museum Press) Country Pottery by Andrew McGarva The Workshop Guide to Ceramics by Duncan Hooson and Tony Quinn (Thames and Hudson)


Alison Sandeman

Alison Sandeman is a long-standing tutor at West Dean. She makes functional individual pieces in stoneware, porcelain and Raku. She has a special interest in outdoor firing techniques.


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

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