Organic additions to clay surfaces – sculptural ceramics with Lucy Cobb

Pottery and ceramics

Ref: SWE10928

Suitable for all

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About this course

Explore the process of adding to clay to create new textures, surfaces, and patterns. Use a variety of clay bodies and organic materials, like vermiculite, perlite, grog, rice, and seeds, to disrupt and sculpt the clay.

Course Description

Explore the process of adding organic materials to the surface of clay and to the clay body to create interesting and creative pieces. This sculptural course is open to all levels and focuses on experimentation with the techniques.

The aim of the course is to explore the surface of the clay and its tensions. By creating surfaces that break and tear or are smooth and delicate. By using various organic materials like vermiculite, perlite, rice, various clay grogs, shells, seeds, etc. You will work towards creating a sculpture or various sculptures with the surfaces created, wherever that may lead in your ongoing practices and explorations into clay.

The course will be focused on handbuilding, and working in moulds with slabs or fragments. You will use a variety of clay bodies from which you can also create simple slips and grogs to add to the surfaces. We will wedge the organic materials into the clay body and/or roll, press, push into the surface of the clay. We will explore the thickness of the clay and density of the walls, depending on the sculptural design.

The clay bodies used will complement this exploration in their structure and contrast: black chunky sculptural clay and chunky crank paper clay.

The tutor will encourage you to focus on the process and exploration, rather than the outcome.

On the first evening of the course the group will look at experiments by other ceramicists and artists. The tutor will show you some examples and you will handle both clays and discuss how the various organic materials will affect them. Towards the end of the course the group will collectively discuss our discoveries.

The work will be fired to stoneware temperatures without a glaze. Various oxides and slips can be added at the building stages, although the black clay is particularly rich and dense in colour so not much stains it apart from white slip.


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 cost of clay, slips, and firing costs of work made – large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.

What students need to bring

  • Organic materials, like dried seeds and grains, and any organic textures
  • Sketchbook
  • Camera to document work
  • Apron

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbooks
  • Paint brushes
  • Drawing materials
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 (allowing four weeks for your work to be biscuit fired). This work will be available for collection within six months. 3. Take away your unfired pieces for firing elsewhere.


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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