Pottery and ceramics

Japanese ceramics – exploring form with Shozo Michikawa

Ref: S5D08916


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About this course

Develop your own Japanese-inspired pottery using the tutor's specialist methods for creating poetic and free-form ceramics. These include traditional throwing and the twist and cut technique. Shozo will show how he makes Oribe and Shino style tea bowls, plus plates, pots and vases using crank and raku clays. You will discover the joy and freedom of expression that clay allows.

Course Description

Discover traditional Japanese techniques, alongside the tutor's personal methods for creating poetic and free form ceramics. The aim of the course is for you to discover the joy and freedom of expression that clay allows working with these techniques.

The traditional Japanese materials and techniques covered include:

• Using crank and Raku clays

• Twist and cut technique

• Basic throwing

• Making Japanese ceramics - the traditional way

• Making Oribe and Shino style tea bowls

• Making plates, pots and vases

On the first evening the tutor will introduce himself and get to know the students. Following the tutor's demonstrations - including showing how he makes wheel thrown forms - you can expect to make a range of Japanese-inspired tea bowls, plates, pots and vases. He will also give illustrated talks. The course will end with an informal exhibition and discussion around work produced.


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 clays, glaze materials and firings is included in the course fee.

What students need to bring

  • Overall, old towel
  • Clean plastic shopping bags
  • Your own throwing batts, if you prefer them

Available to buy

  • 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 4 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.


Shozo Michikawa

Shozo Michikawa originally trained in Seto in Japan which has been famous for its ceramics production since at least the 13th Century. Shozo has been teaching at West Dean College since 2007 and has exhibited work in The National Museum of Wales, The City of Paris Museum, The Ashmolean Museum, and LACMA. In 2017, the German publisher Arnoldsche published 'Shozo Michikawa: Ceramic Art'.


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

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