Throwing expressive slipware ceramics with Dylan Bowen

Pottery and ceramics

Ref: S4D12001

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About this course

With an emphasis on spontaneity, you will learn to embrace new approaches to combining slip and clay in a dynamic way. Dylan will demonstrate his own techniques, including sliced plates and sculptural forms, wheel thrown platters and carved solid shapes.

Course Description

Learn and develop new approaches to making and decorating slipware with an emphasis on action and spontaneity. Using Dylan’s making and decorating techniques as a beginning, you will pursue new shapes and ideas and learn to embrace fresh directions.

The course will be loosely divided into two parts, one for making and one for decorating. An evening presentation outlining the tutor’s work and influences begins the first session. The first morning will start with a demonstration of plate making, using simple slicing techniques. The next two days will feature three more introductions to different methods of hand building and throwing. The aim will be for you to use these demonstrations as a starting point for your own work. The work made during the two days will be used for decorating during the remaining days. The decorating days will follow a similar schedule with many demonstrations and discussions and will involve the use of sliptrailers, brushes and sgraffito. An energetic and lively use of wet slip decorating will be fully explored.

You will produce and decorate work that embraces spontaneity and dynamism, learn new techniques in both construction and decoration and embrace the fluid potential of clay and slip.

You should begin to recognise when the piece is finished, to adapt to mistakes and unanticipated developments and use them as starting points for new directions. You will learn to rapidly assess the development of work during both decoration and construction. By the end of the course you will have gained a good understanding of working with wet slips, dynamic use of sliptrailers, brushes and sgraffitto, learnt new skills in throwing, constructing and carving, and also come away with several pieces of decorated work.


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 clay, slips and firings is included in the course fee.

What students need to bring

  • Trailers
  • Brushes
  • Cutting wires,
  • Harps
  • Additional decorating/mark making tools
  • Overall
  • Old towel
  • Cardboard boxes are useful if taking raw items away at the end of the course
  • Clean plastic shopping bags are useful

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, pottery knife (basic pottery tools are provided for use)
  • 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. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open-toes or sandals).


Dylan Bowen

Dylan trained at Shebbear Pottery with Clive Bowen and at Camberwell School of Art. He has worked as a slipware potter in Oxfordshire for the last 15 years. Dylan exhibits regularly in Galleries and Ceramic events, has lectured and demonstrated widely in the UK and is a Fellow of the CPA and a member of the CAA. Dylan teaches regularly in Oxford and has run slipware workshops.


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

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