Press moulding animal figurines in clay with Susan Halls

Pottery and ceramics

Ref: S5D11713

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Places available

About this course

Learn to make small batch-production figures through the process of simple plaster casting. This exciting process allows you to make varied pieces from your original design. You will go from modelling, moulding, pressing, bisque, to glaze in five days.

Course Description

Working with plaster moulds is fast and exciting; not only can you make dozens of pieces from the same mould, there is the opportunity to make each ceramic object unique. You will then be able to explore and enjoy multiple glazing and colouring possibilities.

In this introduction to the process, you will begin by modelling an animal or figure in clay - this could be high or low relief - from this design, a simple, one-piece mould is created in plaster of Paris. Once the mould is made the original model is discarded. Soft clay is then pressed into the negative shape that has been created in the plaster. Bases can be added resulting in a “Flat back” form - like an old fashioned 19th century mantle ornament, or book end. The figurines could also be wall hung - the options are wonderfully varied. Due to the speed of the process you will be able to bisque and glaze fire the pieces. The glazing will be at earthenware, 1100 degrees C.

In order to fit the time frame your work will be 20cm squared at the most. You will finish the course with several complete, glazed pieces that demonstrate the versatility of the techniques involved. You will have acquired an understanding of the moulding process and the character of mixing and working with plaster and the potential of making multiple forms and how to exploit the process to maximum effect.


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


  • On this course the College will supply materials including clays, plaster and glazes

What students need to bring

  • A new plastic bowl or bucket
  • An A4 sketch pad or loose paper
  • Drawing pencils
  • Boxes and bubble wrap (or similar) for taking work home safely.
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified. Firing and glazing options: 1. Any unfired or glazed piece that you wish to keep, may be left at the College for firing, basic glazing and re-firing by the College, for collection within six months. 2. Take away your unfired pots 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.

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