Pottery and ceramics

Experimenting with porcelain paper clay with Lucy Cobb

Ref: SLW08910

Suitable for all

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About this course

Explore the many techniques and versatility of paper clay. You can create complex structures and sculpt with this exciting material and take casts of found organic material by dipping and painting on porcelain paper clay slip. Learn techniques to use with wet, leatherhard and dry sheets to make larger scale sculptures.

Course Description

Paper clay is an amazing and exciting material. Mixing organic fibres with a clay body enables you to create complex structures and sculpt with it at any stage. You will explore the many techniques and versatility of paper clay throughout the course.

On the first evening I will briefly introduce the history of paper clay and show some examples of its creative and expansive potential. We will handle some of the different clay bodies in raw and fired states. On the following day you will start by taking casts of found organic materials by dipping and painting the porcelain paper clay slip onto the surfaces.

This is followed by the techniques of pouring and painting the paperclay slip onto plaster bats or moulds or onto balloons or paper/cardboard forms. Organic material can then be pressed into these layers which will then burn away leaving an imprint or ghost image of the material. Wet/leatherhard/dry sheets can then be joined together or cut, torn, sewn together and formed into larger scale sculptures.

Because of the structure of paper clay, it can be worked with at wet, leather hard or dry stages. Green Paper clay can even be joined to bisqued paper clay.

Oxides can be added to the slip or wedged into the plastic clay. We will be firing the work up to stoneware/porcelain glaze temperatures in one cycle as bisque paper clay is very fragile. The pieces won't be glazed but oxides and slips can be added to colour the clay at the making stages.

The tutor will encourage everyone to work on multiple pieces in order to build up the layers of the slip and develop each technique. She will also outline methods and recipes to make your own paper clay.


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 course fee includes the cost of all clay, oxides and firing costs - large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.

What students need to bring

  • Students may want to start collecting organic materials such as interesting seed pods and seeds, leaves, dried papery seaweed, and textured (organic) materials.
  • An apron
  • A camera to document your work
  • The tutor encourages you to bring some found organic (combustible) materials in which to dip and paint the paper clay slip onto
  • For example: seeds, dried seed pods, leaves, dried flower heads.
  • Textures to emboss with and any material that may inspire your sculpting process.

Available to buy

  • Organic materials, rice, lentils, strings, balloons, slip trailers, pipettes, hair dryers, books and resources.
  • A sketchbook
  • Drawing materials

Firing finished pieces - at the end of the course: Students may leave any raw, finished pieces, that they wish to keep, for biscuit firing for collection at a later date. Students are free to take away their unfired pieces for firing elsewhere. Please note: once your work has been fired, it will be available for collection within six months.


Lucy Cobb

Lucy studied Sculpture and Ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art. She then established 'Radio', gallery and project space in Berlin. Apprenticed at North Street Pottery, where she now works.
Making for Michelin star restaurants and for their shop. Teaches at Clapham Pottery, Heatherley's School of Fine Art and Chestnut Grove Academy.


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

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