Ceramics with found objects and natural materials with Elaine Bolt

Pottery and ceramics

Ref: S4D11421

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About this course

Explore techniques with clay and found materials to form ceramic and mixed media assemblages. You will be encouraged to develop expressive work through experimenting and combining materials.

Course Description

On this course, you will explore the making process, looking at techniques with clay and combining found and natural materials to form inventive mixed media assemblages.

In the first part of this course, ideas and inspiration for projects and themes will be explored. The tutor will talk about her work, showing how her ideas have developed and how it’s made. She will work with you to explore your ideas for the week.

You will work with porcelain and other clays to explore how found objects and natural materials can be impressed into the clay or used as a mould. You will look at how re-purposing items such as fabric off-cuts, paper, rusty metal, wire and other materials can be used to create textures and effects.

You can also make pieces that can later be combined to form part of an assemblage. Various techniques, including pinching, press-moulding and slab rolling to make small pieces and components are explored. Some small pieces made during the first day can be fired during the week and used later on as part of the workshop.

You will look at found objects and how they can inspire ideas or summon memories; making use of any objects you bring to the workshop. The outdoor spaces on the West Dean estate will also be used to explore ways of finding and using different materials.

Finally, the course will explore different ways to arrange and display your three-dimensional mixed media collages and objects.

The ideas shared aim to develop skills and enthusiasm for continuing to work with clay and combining ceramics with other materials.

Materials week: Found 20-24 February 2022

Caroline Wendling, Bronwen Gwillm, Elaine Bolt, Rita Parniczky, Melanie Rose.

This course is part of a themed week, FOUND. With sustainability very much a focus of daily life now, this set of five courses explore a resourceful approach to creative work using found and upcycled materials, and other materials often considered as waste. The primary objective is to employ an inquisitive, and playful approach in developing new work, while learning new skills and to developing thoughtful artworks or beautiful objects. The courses start on Sunday evening and finish on Thursday afternoon and you are encouraged to engage with those on the other courses.


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 until 9pm, 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 porcelain clay/glazing materials and firing costs of work made – large work in size and quantity may be charged extra. Some mount board for displaying work, strong clear-drying glue and nickel chrome wire is also included to share. The tutor will also supply some materials including bringing her own selection of found materials.

What students need to bring

  • Bring materials of your own you would like to explore using in the workshops. These could include:
  • Twigs and leaves
  • Fabrics (natural fibres only, e.g. cotton, linen, wool)
  • Any small found objects you have and would like to incorporate into a design

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Textured papers
  • Natural fibre fabric, undyed cotton, muslin, etc.
  • String and sewing thread
Firing options 1. 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. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Elaine Bolt

Elaine Bolt has an MA in Ceramics from UCA Farnham and has several years teaching experience. She works from her studio in Brighton where she also teaches throwing and handbuilding techniques. Elaine exhibits her work widely in galleries and specialist craft events across the UK.


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

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