Personalities in clay – developing your own way of throwing with Kyra Cane

Pottery and ceramics

Ref: SSS10565


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About this course

Whether you want to make pots to use or abstract pieces, the wheel can express a personality or the maker's creative voice. Develop your understanding of the potential of clay to express ideas through form, surface, technique, skill and knowledge.

Course Description

Whether you want to make pots to use, or individual abstract pieces, the wheel is a fantastic method of making forms which express a personality or the maker's creative voice. You will develop your understanding of the potential of clay to express ideas through form, surface, technique, skill and knowledge. Suitable for anyone who has developed throwing skills and wants to be able to make work that is individual and expressive.

Making work that is more individual and expressive sounds so easy but as many of you will know, actually developing thrown forms that have their own personality is more difficult than it seems. There are so many options, so many materials and techniques that you like, how do you decide what to do?

The key is in developing a visual language through which you learn to identify your own criteria. This can take the form of a sketchbook where you make notes and diagrams, collect images, and draw, or it can be in an electronic format such as pinterest or instagram.

You will begin to ask yourself what is it that makes your ceramic work belong to you? What does the touch of a hand or the imprint of a tool say about the person who created the object?

This course will help you develop a range of wheel thrown ceramic pieces that are individual by increasing your understanding of the potential of clay to express ideas through form, surface, technique, skill and knowledge. Learning to appreciate the many properties that clay can have, the many personalities it can embody, from refined forms to bold aggressive vessels, from beautiful bowls to constructed abstract pieces, the choice is yours.

• You will be able to use a range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional processes and techniques to help you identify the personal characteristics you want to articulate in your ceramic work.

• You will develop confidence in making a wide range of decisions when throwing and turning clay on a wheel which enable you to create forms that have meaning to you.

• You will gain an understanding of surface in relation to form by experimenting and exploring throwing techniques and by developing a range of appropriate ceramic finishes.

• You will develop a critical approach to the analysis of ceramic form, surface and style by examining examples of work made by a range of potters.

By the end of the week you will have a selection of fired samples, a group of ceramic pieces which can be taken home or fired at the College and a visual resource from which you can develop future work.

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.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • The cost of clays, glaze materials and firings is included in the course fee. Large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring with you a small collection of imagery (photographs, cuttings or drawings) and three-dinensional objects or fragments which inspire you. Think about ways of recording textures, surfaces, colours and forms that you like and bring them with you.
  • Bring your favourite tools, a sketchbook, pencil, and some type of camera if you like to record things using this.
  • Look at books including Kyra Cane’s book, Making and Drawing, if you would like some ideas about ways that artists develop ideas.
  • An overall; Old towel;
  • Cardboard boxes are useful if taking raw pots away at the end of the course.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, pottery knife (basic pottery tools are provided for use)
  • A good selection of all art materials
  • 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.


Kyra Cane

Kyra Cane studied Ceramics at Camberwell College of Arts, she has taught and examined on numerous courses, notably Harrow Ceramics, University of Westminster. Her work is exhibited in national and international galleries. She has written a book about Making and Drawing and is currently Chair of the Craft Potters Charitable Trust.


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

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