Pottery forming techniques are varied and exciting. Slabbing, pinching, coiling, doweling all have a different aesthetic voice – apply to sculpting animals and you’ll find the forming method has played a significant role in the end result. Used individually and in combination, demonstrating the impact of techniques is at the core of this workshop. Working in two- and three-dimensions on a variety of different scales, wall-mounted, free-standing, clusters and group projects, you will be encouraged to take risks in this intense and productive week.
A minimum of one day will be allocated to raku fire and finish pieces, you’ll also have the option of using slips and oxides to colour work before bisque firing. There will be a loose, experimental drawing element to the course – doodling ideas to explore sculptural possibilities and encouraging you to express ideas beyond literal interpretation.
No solid modelling is used, all pieces are constructed hollow occasionally adopting a simple external armature, allowing you to work more effectively and with more immediacy. Electric heat guns and the use of stoneware paper clay increase the possibility of faster working and a more spontaneous approach to interpretation. Demonstrations will be ongoing and personal assistance and advice always available.
Animal structure and anatomy will be discussed as this should inform and underpin much of your decision making. However, the goal is not to make a realistic copy of an animal but to capture the spirit of the creature through re-interpretation of form combined with respect for the forming technique.
The aim of this course is to demonstrate the important role of techniques and how each has its own voice affecting the final appearance of the sculpture. Training yourself to consider the method of making before you begin can help achieve a more successful outcome. Other intentions are to show how basic drawing can play a vital role in helping to interpret and extend sculptural ideas. To think about design and stylisation rather than make life-like copies and to work with the benefits/constraints of the medium.
By the end of the course you will have gained enough confidence and experience to continue developing ideas independently. The techniques acquired on the course can be adapted to create other kinds of clay sculpture, such as figures or abstract forms – they can also be utilized for making large or small scale vessels. You will also have a basic understanding of raku/smoke firing.
A feature of the Summer School is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace further opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course.
Several early evening creative sessions (5.10pm - 7pm) are planned throughout the week. Extra activities will differ this year in response to social distancing. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:
• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work
• Sign up early evening tutor-led drawing sessions in the garden
• Time to relax or explore in the tranquil West Dean Gardens
• Take a break from your course with some free time on Tuesday afternoon, from 3.30-5pm
• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios
Timetable for Summer Schools
Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.
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.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students should vacate their rooms by 10am please.
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.