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.
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.
Demonstrations will be ongoing and personal assistance and advice always available.
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.
Summer School highlights:
The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. 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
• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course
• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)
• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio
• A celebration dinner on the last evening, with a surrealist theme inspired by Salvador Dalí, who was one of West Dean founder, Edward James’ friends and collaborators. (Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.)
• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios
As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully. A detailed timetable will be given to all students on arrival.
(Please note that plans may be subject to change depending on GOV.UK guidance at the time.)
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 until 9pm, 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.
Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study.
Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.