Canberra Potters'

Society Inc.





















Watson Arts Centre is an ACT Government facility managed by Canberra Potters' Society Inc. CPS is supported by the ACT Government


If you are unsure if your skills are suitable for a particular workshop, please contact or phone 02 6241 7800.


 MORE! Teapots Galore

Another chance to explore hand-made teapots with Rick Beviss

10am - 4.30pm 24 & 25 June 2017

$285 CPS members & students; $300 others

Fee includes bisque firing.

Keanes Ironstone clay, which Rick would like participants to use, can be bought at the workshop, or bring your own if you already use it.

Note that this is a workshop on hand-built teapots (not wheel-thrown).

Course outline:


Introduction and PowerPoint presentation on teapot design. Discussion on what makes a teapot work where participants will learn the ergonomics of a good teapot:

  • handles
  • spouts - no drips
  • lids - that stay put
  • spout size to hole ratio - important for a good pour.

Making demonstration - handbuilding a teapot:

  • slabs for body
  • lid cut from form - perfect fit
  • handles - overhead, side, extruded or pulled.

Making - participants will begin to make the components of their teapots.


Assemble components made the previous day.

Demonstration - decorative techniques.

Final assembly and decoration of teapots.

Paper Clay: Carla Wolfs

26 February, 5 & 19 March 2017


Over three half-day sessions participants explored the possibilities of paper clay with Carla Wolfs, an internationally renowned ceramic artist from the Netherlands who makes rotating organic and architectural shapes. She hand-builds her pieces in paper clay and develops the forms with line, negative space and texture.


Summer School Intensive with JENNY ORCHARD

January 4 - 8 2017



During this 5-day summer school Jenny taught sculptural techniques to an enthusiastic audience, assisting participants in the development of their own projects and providing one-on-one tuition and mentoring to assist participants with their works, drawing on her own skills and experience. Participants were asked to come with a plan for one large project to be realised over the course of the 5 days. In addition there were making demonstrations using Jenny's signature handbuilding techniques, a talk and slide show of Jenny's work/career, information about her glazing techniques and the sharing of earthenware glaze recipes.

Day One began with a visual presentation of Jenny’s work as well as the art and ceramics that have inspired her over the years. This was followed by a demonstration of hand building techniques together with a discussion of texture and form. Participants revealed plans for their own projects.

Day Two saw ongoing demonstrations as clay became firmer and could be assembled. Assembly techniques and the beginnings of texture applications were presented through a series of smaller works highlighting a range of finishes. Students were able to begin their own projects.

Day Three saw more detailed discussion on technique as it applies to size, detail and the boundaries of the material, taking into account the range of work emerging from the group.

Day Four saw Jenny finish her building demonstration. The smaller constructions were used to discuss the effects of drying, how best to dry larger vs smaller works and glazing possibilities. Participants continued working on their own projects. 

Day Five saw further discussion and critique of the works created to enable everyone to share their new experiences and insights.

Radical Raku!  TIM ANDREWS (UK) October 7 & 8 2016

Ten people joined Raku expert Tim Andrews (UK) to learn his making, glazing and firing techniques. 

Tim Andrews has gained an international reputation for his beautiful smoke fired and raku fired ceramics.  If you thought Raku was a bit ‘rough and ready’…think again! Check out his beautiful work here at his website:  

Tim trained as a studio apprentice to David Leach 1978-79 and Dartington Pottery Training Workshop where he was then employed during 1981-82. Over the years he has held many teaching posts including Exeter College and Plymouth School of Art and Design. He has exhibited widely and his work is held in many collections including, the Ashmolean Museum, Stoke-on-Trent and the Abramovich Collection.  He presents workshops on his techniques all over the world… and now here!

Raku at Hatfield, UK

CUERDA SECA (a decorative technique) - September 25 with visiting tutor Sandra Passerman


Cuerda Seca, also known as the “Dry Cord Technique”, is a method of creating interesting lineal designs on ceramics through the use of thin dry lines made up of manganese oxide and grease. This substance acts as a barrier between glazes during firing, containing and slightly raising the glazes from the surface. This creates the illusion that each section of glaze enclosed by the lines is a small shard of ceramic tile. After firing, the manganese itself gains a metallic appearance and resembles the grout found between the shards in a mosaic or tiled work. This is why Cuerda Seca was often used as a way of simulating the mosaic style to save time and money.

There are a few variations of the technique. For example, the full Cuerda Seca technique covers the whole body of the ceramic with glaze, whereas the partial Cuerda Seca technique leaves a few areas of clay exposed to provide an interesting contrast in texture. There are also other techniques that were derived from Cuerda Seca, such as Cuenca y Arista, a method of decoration using ridges to separate and contain the glaze within depressions in the clay; and the French Cloisonné, a decoration using tubular lines to a similar effect.

 About the tutor

Originally from Argentina, Sandra Passerman has lived and worked in Australia for the past 25 years as a pottery teacher for the Bondi Pavilion Community Centre and Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Art Centre. She also has exhibited her work at various art exhibitions around Sydney, and runs workshops from her studio at home.



Winter School  2016 - FEAST! with Steve Williams July 18 – 22




From Kiln to Table…

Well-known wood-fire specialist Steve Williams led participants in a week-long intensive sharing his vast knowledge of making and design principles.

Participants went through all stages of the making process including thinking, planning and designing forms to complement the foods to be served on them.   

Steve shared tips on his fluid making technique, which involves handling the clay as little as possible, lending freshness and a sense of movement to the work he creates. The week culminated in a soda-firing – a collaboration between Steve and our own Maryke Henderson.

The week ended with the sharing of food using some of the forms that had been created as Steve was guest presenter at the Friday Night Supper Club at the end of the week. This was a wonderful opportunity to talk amongst peers about the process and outcomes of the workshop.  


GINNY CONROW's Crystalline Glaze workshop on the 1 May 2016 was preceded by a  well-attended artist talk on Friday 29 April


Summer School  4th to 8th January 2016

Carla Wolfs visiting artist from the Netherlands

Carla took participants through the making and use of paperclay and demystified the making of her unique forms. Participants learnt to make moulds from Styrofoam by carving and cutting into it.

Carla is a well-established artist and educator with many years of teaching experience. She has exhibited widely and in many countries including Germany, the UK, Belgium and Hungary as well as in the Netherlands. She was Artist-in-Residence at Canberra Potters' January to March and we were proud to present her as one of our Summer School tutors.

She says of her work:

My current work involves rotating shapes which are composed out of lines. The effect achieved with lines creates movement.

As basic form I choose the simplicity of a circle, oval or triangle. The lines create a deliberate fluently pattern. The clay between the lines will be removed. This creates transparency and seclusion; the inside is visible.

I work with different clay mixtures; often with paper fibers and / or perlite added. The objects are hand built. Glazes are at the service of the form and are sober. Work is fired at 1140 or 1240 Celsius in an electric kiln. 

In the world around us there is a lot of beauty to discover. A print of a tire track in the wet sand, sunlight coming in through shutters or noise barriers along the highway. These are objects with an interesting lining composition. Rhythm and repetition of lines get my attention and are the basis for my work.

Malcolm Cooke from Tharwa (ex Cuppacumbalong)



For 5 days Malcolm led participants through all phases of the production process including clay preparation, throwing of various forms and thrown and assembled pieces. He also presented the use of his own decorative techniques, including carving and resist.

An artist with 40 years experience as a potter, Malcolm Cooke has extensively shown his work. He is represented in many national and international ceramic collections including Taipei Fine Arts Museum, University of Austin Texas, Queen Victoria Museum in Tasmania, Castlemaine Art Gallery, Australia

Cooke is well-known for his distinctive one-off pieces with clean classical forms and carved decorative surfaces. In 1995, he established the Art Shed Studio and Gallery next door to Cuppacumbalong with Marily Opperman.

Cooke started working with ceramics at the early age of 17. He trained in Victoria and with the old generation Bendigo potters. He obtained a Diploma of Fine Art (Ceramics) from the Bendigo Institute of Technology in 1970. He worked at Bendigo Pottery and set up potteries of his own at Clunes and Badgers Creek before coming to Cuppacumbalong in 1981 to work as a thrower for the first resident potter there, Doug Alexander. He took over as resident potter from Doug in 1982 - 1995.


Two-day Master Class with American sculptor and current artist-in-residence CORINNE BEARDSLEY

Texture and Technique

Sunday 15th November and Sunday 22nd November 9.30am to 4.30pm

On day 1 Cori introduced options for armature construction and discussed paper clay technical resources and her approach to making, which is intuitive, gestural, experimental, searching through creation. .She demonstrated techniques to make textures and marks and gave insight as to how the artist thinks about different clay processes. Using an array of textures and forms, students began collaging.

On day 2, construction methods including specific slips, hollowing techniques, armatures and kiln loading tips were covered along with surface airbrushing, stains, and glazes. Cori demonstrated processes and presented examples of previous works. Students then continued working on what they had made the day before.

Winter School 13-15 July - Form and Surface with Ben Carter

With a focus on developing rich surfaces for both functional and sculptural ceramics, participants learnt a variety of surface-design methods including slip decorating, sgraffito, underglaze painting, resist painting, mishima, and layering stains. During the workshop aesthetic issues (i.e. proportions, color theory, etc.), making strong functional pottery forms, using metaphor and story telling as a basis for sculpture, and creative problem solving in the studio were discussed, along with marketing, social media and the changing landscape of contemporary craft.

Ben Carter is a ceramic professional based in Santa Cruz, CA. He received his Masters Degree in ceramics from the University of Florida. He maintains a studio, exhibits nationally, and has taught workshops in Australia, New Zealand, China, and the United States. He is the creator and host of the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler blog and podcast. You can see an online portfolio of his work at


Michiko Takada graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2003 with a Master’s Degree. In the beginning she used slip trailing on slabs to emphasise different colours on her work. Her interest later shifted to creating three-dimensional ‘space structures’, which she describes as the spaces that appear when clay threads are intertwined and then those spaces are themselves intertwined. She became fascinated with how spaces create interesting and beautiful structures.

Michiko creates hollow shapes by wrapping cotton thread dipped in slip around balloons. She also uses timber boards with nails around which she runs slipped cotton thread to mimic weaving; from these she creates item such as handbags, jumpers and draped cloth. The pieces are raw glazed with a clear glaze before firing. During firing the cotton thread burns away leaving the clay slip with thread marks. These create interesting warps and lines.

Great care is taken in choosing the correct size of thread and its placement to create the finish that Michiko wants. Even so, while she usually gets pleasant surprises from the kiln she also, she says, gets some miserable failures! Either way, she finds it wonderful to see how the clay changes its characteristics in the firing process. The burning off of the cotton threads in the kiln often leaves hollow spaces and even though these are not visible from the outside, they are important to Michiko. When tubes are broken in the firing process, they reveal different and very interesting spaces.

For the past 10 years, Michiko has used semi porcelain, which is predominantly white. After firing, the clay is a very subtle white - not quite white and not quite cream. In recent years she has also been using different colours to decorate her pieces.

About 15 years ago, Michiko came to Canberra for three weeks thanks to an exchange program between her university and the ANU. At that time she was still fairly new to pottery but she dreamt of coming back to Canberra one day. Now that she has established her own style she felt that the time was right for a return and to see what difference using Australian clay would make to her works. She has also been to Italy and Singapore and found it interesting to work in different environments. They affected her pieces in different ways so she is interested to see what effect the Australian environment and materials will have.

Prizes and Awards:

2003 Asahi Modern Craft

2003 Ashahi Pottery

2003 Women’s Association of Ceramic Art

2004 Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition

2005 Choza Tokoname Exhibition

2005 Korean International Pottery Competition

2005 Sidney Myer Fund International Award

2006 Mino International Pottery Competition

2006 Mashiko Pottery Competition

2007 Kobe International Biennale

2011 Kikuchi Biennale



2002 Gallery Maronie in Kyoto

2006 INAX Gallery Ceramica in Ginza

2007 Oideya Gallery in Yamanashi

2009 h2o in Kyoto

2010 Gallery RYO in Osaka

2011 Gallery RYO in Osaka




8th and 15th MARCH 2015

Hidemi (Demi) was artist-in-residence at CPS between January and March 2015. In this two-day masterclass, she passed on her skills and ideas to some eager participants.


Hidemi Tokutake, Untitled, 2013


Summer School  

5th to 9th January 9.30am to 4pm

The Summer School offered a choice of two very distinct artists, both leaders in their respective fields

Janet DeBoos: Glazes

Janet DeBoos, Blue and Yellow Qing Vase, Peeling #1 + #2 Vase, porcellaneous stoneware

Janet DeBoos is a nationally and internationally recognised glaze master and a lifetime member of CPS. This week-long course was a great opportunity to join an expert in glaze. Working with Janet, participants learnt the skills and confidence to handle glaze materials and develop their own glazes.

Walter Auer: Terra Sigillata

Walter Auer, vessels

Walter Auer may not have been as well known to our local community but he is a recognised educator and master of terra sigillatta. Born in Campo Tures, Italy, Walter studied Ceramics at the State Institute of Art in Faenza. Subsequently he undertook further training in Turkey and Japan. Since his arrival in Sydney in 1997 he has exhibited regularly and teaches ceramics at Brookvale and Gymea TAFEs. Working with Walter, participants explored the ancient surface technique of terra sigillata, its amazing soft glossy surfaces and the range of colours that can be achieved.



Monday 8th December 9.30am to 4pm

$120 CPS members and students; $150 non-members

To enrol, phone 6141 7800 or email

Cathi Jefferson, our current artist-in-residence, has been creating salt fired stoneware for more than thirty years. She has a studio and gallery on southern Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley near Duncan.

Cathi’s creation of functional dishes is grounded in her belief that it’s important to have handmade items in our lives to help us remain connected to the natural world and to each other. Most of her work is wheel-thrown and altered into square or triangular shapes. Cathy uses a salt-fired technique to finish her stoneware.

Her sculptural pieces are inspired by the massive trees and other forest elements that surround her studio.


Michael Keighery

This October masterclass had to be cancelled.

In this planned two day class masterclass Michael was going explore and demystify aspects of his work processes, leading participants in a series of practical exercises to facilitate the generation of ideas and discussing and demonstrating creative strategies.

Michael’s mixed media, ceramic-based and performance art is collected, respected and exhibited worldwide. From the Second Beijing International in China to the Huntington Gallery in Boston USA, his work has been featured in major contemporary art events. In Australia Michael has presented regular solo exhibitions in Sydney as well as at the Brisbane City Gallery, New England Regional Art Museum and Maitland Regional Art Gallery. He is also an acclaimed pyrotechnic and performance artist. His work incorporates cutting edge digital technology to merge text and imagery with ceramics and other media. An acerbic social commentator, his work is frequently controversial, constantly treading the border between the acceptable and the unacceptable.

Michael’s work is widely collected and represented in prestigious public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of WA, Powerhouse Museum, Artbank, Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Fuping International Ceramics Galleries, China as well as many regional galleries across Australia.

He has had a distinguished career as an arts educator and policy maker, most recently as Head of Fine Arts Program UWS from 2003 to 2007, National President (Australia) International Association of Art (IAA), Chair of National Association of the Visual Arts (NAVA) as well as Chair of Viscopy and a member of the NSW Arts Advisory Council, NSW Ministry for the Arts.

Keighery also has a long history of exploring how new technologies such as CNC Milling and 3D Printing can be incorporated into traditional ceramic studio production processes.



Ruthanne Tudball

20th & 21st September 2014



Whilst she is very well known as a soda-firer, Ruthanne Tudball is also a consummate thrower. Her fluid and lively forms are easily recognisable. Join this 2–day demonstration workshop and learn how she makes and alters her forms on the wheel whilst the pieces are still wet. She does very little turning and the pieces are finished quickly, giving them a quality that is fresh and full of movement  and personality. 

“As what I do involves throwing a form, manipulating it wet, often faceting it and assembling it wet before lifting it off the wheel as a finished piece, there is a lot involved in demonstrating each piece.”

On Day 1 Ruth will start with a PowerPoint talk to introduce herself and her works, followed by demonstration and questions. Day 2 will continue with further demonstration of making techniques and finishing pieces from the first day.

Ruthanne was born and brought up in California but moved to England in 1968. She discovered the lure of clay when handling handmade bowls in a Cardiff market; coming away determined to learn how to make such beautiful things. Much of her spare time whilst studying English Literature at Reading University was spent in a studio teaching herself to throw using a book for illustrations on how to do it. By 1987 she was able to attend a part-time post-graduate course at Goldsmith’s College in London, spending three days a week completely immersed in working with clay. She graduated in1989 with a Commendation and two years’ worth of research into soda glazing. This led to writing a book, “Soda Glazing”, published by A&C Black in 1995.

The world of ceramics is wide and varied, and it is important to Ruthanne to make it accessible and understandable to a wide public. To this end, she plays an active role as a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain, a member of Contemporary Applied Arts and as a recently elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

soda-glazed chawan

soda-glazed plate

soda-glazed teapot


2014 Winter School

21st to 25th July


Throwing and Assembling &

Glaze on Glaze decoration

with David Stuchbury

The Jenny Orchard Handbuilding workshop had to be cancelled due to unforeseen events.


Workshop report by Fran Romano

An enthusiastic group participated in this workshop during our second Winter School. The group launched straight into making demonstrations from David Stuchbery, with the week structured around the need to get work through a bisque firing ready for decorating on Thursday and Friday.

David demonstrated and set tasks for the group to make a number of his signature vessels including plates, lovely ‘pilgrim flasks’ and then faceted pots amongst others. All the while he stressed the importance of thinking about decoration as an integral part of the form. He talked about creating a surface on the vessel for decoration. David’s signature is glaze-on-glaze decoration and he generously shared his skills and knowledge in this area, handing out glaze recipes and teaching his brushwork techniques.

The group had a lovely relaxed feel to it and Ian was ably assisted by our own Rick Beviss who helped with both teaching and general workshop tasks (as well as getting the all-important kiln going!) Lovely winter sunshine allowed us also to spend time together during breaks sharing tips and stories about clay all the time.

Feedback from the group included: A well-structured workshop…We managed to cover a wide range of techniques and the whole ceramic process from beginning to end….this makes it more meaningful. David is a great teacher… good at imparting knowledge. It’s great to be challenged in a workshop to try things you may not have thought to do…We have learned a lot of new techniques in a short space of time. It was all great.

David Stuchbury is known not only for his thrown and assembled forms but also for his unique approach to glaze-on-glaze decorative techniques and wax resist.

The privilege of teaching ceramics at tertiary level for over thirty years has not only given David the opportunity to attend many ceramic conferences but also the chance to organize numerous workshops and enjoy exposure to incredible talent and numerous techniques.  David is looking to this Winter School to reflect back on some of the gems he has picked up along the way and to share these techniques.

Whilst David is clearly a master potter he has “always primarily been interested in ‘surface decoration….he utilizes the thrown vessel as a canvas for decoration and is now interested in a much more creative approach to the vessel form, taking a sculptural approach. "I believe the surface quality of my ceramic pieces is becoming much more sumptuous through controlled process rather than happy accidents", he says.

David came to us highly experienced and qualified with over fifty years as a practicing artist and teacher (as both the former Head of Ceramics at La Trobe University and Former Head of School – School of Visual Arts & Design).He has exhibited continuously and his work is held in galleries and private collections. He continues to work in production work at acclaimed Bendigo Pottery. And continues to research into glaze and surface decoration at his personal studio in Woodvale.




Using earthenware clay and an array of vibrantly coloured glazes, Jenny Orchard brings to life her hybrid ‘creatures’, each one possessing a unique personality and exhibiting a complete defiance of convention. 

Her work references the places in which she has lived and lives as well as her fascination with European tradition, African and Aboriginal mythologies, Australian contemporary culture and the environment. 

Her plates allow her to explore in more detail a single aspect of her beings and concurrently reference the traditional history of the plate as a decorative and functional object. 

Born in Turkey, Jenny grew up in Zimbabwe and emigrated to Australia in 1976. She studied at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in 1980. Jenny has exhibited widely in Australia and has participated in shows in Japan, Germany, Italy and the USA. Her work has been extensively acquired and is represented, amongst others, in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of South Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria

Check out Jenny’s website for more information about her work…

Or see some examples in the collection at Beaver Galleries:


Vases - Rude Bear and Exile on Edith Street


Delinquent Weed 2

This April workshop unfortunately had to be cancelled

New Zealand potter JOHN PARKER  “Creating a new consistent body of work”

Workshop/Masterclass with Irish ceramicist & artist-in-residence JANE JERMYN

Sunday 16th and Sunday 23rd March 2014

A message from workshop attendee Anita Smith:


I just had to write a few words about the fabulous master class I attended with Jane Jermyn at the Canberra Potters Society this weekend. I have come away with a sense of excitement at all the possibilities that Jane's techniques have given me. I've had an opportunity to enjoy the work of fellow students - to witness the looks of anticipation and joy when a completed piece is drawn from the fire. I have also been given tips and ideas by other "teachers" in the class (thank you, Ingrid, for explaining your work to me during a little break). I've seen slides of the most beautiful work of Irish ceramic artists and heard wonderful tales of one my all time favourite authors (Dervla Murphy) who is well known to Jane. Before I arrived at the class the second morning I felt very weary. I left feeling "full of beans!"  Thank you Jane and the Potters Society. (4 photos below by Anita Smith)

The first Sunday of this workshop was a hands-on making day when Jane demonstrated her techniques and participants made work using those techniques. The second Sunday was a firing day when pieces made the previous week were fired in a Raku kiln using two different firing techniques – Naked Raku and Obvara. Obvara is an old Eastern European firing method that Jane learned in Belarus in 2009. The work is taken from the kiln at around 900-950C and plunged into a yeast/flour/water mixture and then immediately into cold water. It gives an organic-like purely decorative finish.

Jane Jermyn began studying ceramics in her mid 40’s and has been a practising artist for 18 years. In 2001 she was awarded her BA from West Wales School of the Arts and her MA in 2009 from National College of Art and Design in Dublin.

In 2003 she was an invited demonstrator at Aberystwyth International Ceramics Festival where she demonstrated her ‘Wet-firing ‘ technique. In 2011 she was an invited demonstrator / exhibitor at the 1st International Ceramic Art Festival (ICAF) Sasama, Japan and the 5th International Festival of Ceramics and Dance, Na-eri, South Korea.

She has taken part in International symposia in Turkey, Estonia, Cuba, Croatia, Bosnia, Poland, Slovenia, Latvia and Belarus. In 2010 she undertook a 6 week residency at Nelson Mandela Metropolitian University, South Africa. In 2012 she undertook a month long residency in France.

There have been articles on her work published in ‘CeramicsTECHNICAL’ No 13 and ‘New Ceramics/Neue Keramik’ No 5/08 and ‘Ceramics Ireland’ No 27/2011.

She has exhibited in USA, France, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, Estonia, Cuba, Poland, Belarus, UK, China, France, Japan, South Korea, Slovenia, Latvia and Ireland. In 2014 she is an invited exhibitor in a major international ceramics exhibition in New Dehli, India.

Find out more about Jane at 

2014 Summer School

Mould making...and beyond with Michael Keighery

Report and photographs by Velda Hunter

What a Hoot!

The 2014 Summer School with Michael Keighery was not only instructive, it was thoroughly enjoyable. 

Michael, an accomplished and generous educator, led the weeklong school on Mould Making – and that’s not all!  The 14 participants were challenged to produce a piece of assignment work using one of Michael’s vintage doll head moulds that included found objects, as well as rising to the challenge of producing at least one plaster mould.  Everyone completed the week having achieved this goal.

Moulds were for chillis, a frog, a skinned chicken, a vintage meat mincer, tableware and much more.  Michael also taught an image transfer method using a standard laser printer and commercial decal paper – participants all posed for mug shots, and the photographed images were transferred onto small glazed tiles.

Summer school attendees headed off to Revolve at various times to purchase multi-piece plaster moulds, and to explore options for assignment pieces.  As an acclaimed performance artist, Michael sniffed out a magnificent black tutu, and demonstrated its worth as a dance garment, and a hat!  

Special thanks goes to Maryke for her efforts to keep the week running smoothly, providing materials, the morning and afternoon teas, and the splendid pizza lunch on the last day. A fabulous week of work, friendship and fun.

Michael and Janet

Doll head and found objects

Michael, Suzanne and frog

Michael and some summer school students


Skinned chicken

Pizza chef Maryke Henderson


Unfortunately ONE-SITTING Throwing Techniques with STEVE WILLIAMS had to be cancelled due to lack of enrolments.


Masterclass with Japanese ceramicist RYOZO SHIBATA

Canberra Potters’ Society’s artist-in-residence Ryozo Shibata covered both making and decorating techniques in this masterclass, including his lovely cobalt blue decoration.

On the Saturday Shibata demonstrated and showed a DVD. On the Sunday participants used the techniques shown the previous day to decorate plates made by Shibata.

Ryozo Shibata was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1952 and received his MFA in 1978 from Kyoto University of Fine Arts. He specializes in sometsuke, blue and white porcelain ware, combining his skill in traditional techniques with contemporary forms. He is a member of the Japanese Arts and Crafts Association, and lives and works in Kyoto.

Shibata has had numerous solo and group exhibitions and has received many awards. His work is held in public collections such as Kyoto University of Arts, Ito Museum in Hyogo Prefecture, and the Japanese Embassy in Australia, Canberra.




Printing on Clay with Petra Svoboda

29th & 30th June 2013

Report by Marion Hicks

On the last weekend in June, twelve others and I attended a workshop on “Printing on Clay” by Petra Svoboda.

It was great to see the many different ways images could be applied to a clay surface.

Using a simple concoction of honey, glycerol and underglaze stains, images of anything photocopied or laser printed could be screen printed directly, or printed for later use onto greaseproof paper as a transfer, to decorate leather hard, bone dry or bisque pots.

We also printed embossed prints onto greenware clay tiles using carved lino, with a different ink of stand oil (heat thickened linseed oil) and underglaze stains.

This ink mixture could also be used to make photo lithography to be transferred onto leather hard pots or tiles. Here a photocopied image is inked up and cleaned with water and gum Arabic. The cleaned image is then burnished onto the clay surface.

The detailed prints people achieved were fantastic and I am sure that with practice and perseverance there will be lots of great works appearing at the potters’ society in the near future.

We tried two types of screens for screen printing, the Riso speed screens and the Easy Screen. The former is where the image is cut with a thermal copier or a flash cure unit which uses bulbs to heat the carbon of the photocopy. This cuts through the blue plastic coating of the mesh leaving a void where ink can be squeegeed through to achieve a print.

The pink easy screen is the newer format mesh by Riso where images are printed onto photocopied transparencies and then the easy screen is exposed under UV lights or in strong sunlight. The exposed screen is left in water for 10 minutes and then washed in warm water to remove the unexposed carbon image. The two screen formats involve almost the reverse screen treatment.

We all really appreciated Petra’s easy to understand demonstrations and instructions, and for the use of the equipment purchased or borrowed for the weekend. Also, our thanks to Workshop Co-ordinator Fran Romano who kept the workshop fully stocked with equipment and clay tiles. Our enthusiasm was also aided by her supply of filtered coffee, tea and tasty treats.

All in all it was a very productive and enjoyable weekend. 


Image transferred on clay

Using the Gocco machine

Demonstration by Petra

WINTER SCHOOL 2013 22nd to 26th July 2013

check out the photos on our Facebook page


Workshop report by Susan Hill

CPS had the pleasure of welcoming Judy Pierce of One Tree Hill Pottery to tutor the hand-building course at the July 2013 Winter School. Judy is primarily a hand-builder with over 30 years experience and has enjoyed a successful, life-long career as a potter. Each day of the 5-day course was fun, intensive and designed to stretch the imagination and aptitude of the students.

Judy works extensively with extruded forms, combined with hand-constructed elements, and treated the students to a constructive master-class in the myriad ways to combine and enhance their own work using her demonstrated techniques. Judy included ample practical instruction and, combined with her encouraging style and infectious enjoyment of working with clay, encouraged and stimulated the class to rethink design ideals; challenging participants to develop original concepts that stretch imagination, but be critical of their results.

The course elements included: slab building, combination and alteration of extruded forms, how to create hollow tube patterns for your own extruder, new ways with texture, creating extruded oval forms and lids to fit them, pot feet,  joining shapes, Slap handles, design awareness, fail-proof teapot spouts and invaluable hints and tips on thinking ‘outside the tube’.

I’m sure we’d all like to thank Judy for an enriching and enjoyable course. If you missed out on a place this time, make sure you get in early when Judy returns to CPS, hopefully very soon.

View Judy’s work on the One Tree Hill website:

Tantalising teapot creation:

Workshop report by Fran Romano

A small but enthusiastic group participated in this ‘Big Pot Throwing’ workshop with Ian Jones during our first ever Winter School in June whilst in Studio 1 an equally enthusiastic group attended the extruder workshop with Judy Pierce.

We started by bringing both groups together for a talk and slide show from the two artists. This served to ‘set the scene’ for the week and was most inspiring to all. It also paved the way for openness between the groups as people were encouraged to ‘check out’ what was going on in the other workshop.

Ian started with demonstrations of throwing in two parts and then joining the parts together. He continued this format during the week with ample time each day for trying out each technique. Throwing and coiling, two-part throwing, and tips for centring larger amounts of clay were shown.  He even showed us how to beat out a large lump of clay and then add a big coil as a way to make large platters.

The group had a lovely relaxed feel to it and Ian was generous in sharing his knowledge, anecdotes and skills. All the participants enjoyed themselves judging by the comments on the feedback forms, which included the following:

·   Great teacher….showed a great deal of support to all;

·   Lots of new techniques –great teacher;

·   Loved it!

The warmth in the studio was infectious, and it wasn’t just the heaters!  A communal pot-luck lunch on the last day brought the two groups together again and we enjoyed some lovely Canberra mid-winter sunshine together.

A Day with Mirta Morigi, renowned Italian ceramic artist





For nearly forty years Mirta Morigi has been making her ceramics in Faenza. Her workshop is in the historic centre of the city and over the years has become, in keeping with the renaissance style, a place of encounter and exchange between people and cultures, artists and designers of renown, and her ceramics, even today, are the successful synthesis of the noble past of Faience majolica with the future. Not only is it a unique ceramic workshop, it is also made up and conducted exclusively by women, Mirta and her girls - containers of ideas, crossing genres and technique, it is a place of '"intelligent hands", a treasure trove of that genius loci that made Faience known to all the world.

Mirta will be in Australia attending Clay Fest at Gulgong and is coming to Canberra afterwards with her daughter to share with us.

Hear about: The International Ceramic Museum of Faenza and the town itself; Mirta’s work and her techniques.

What better way to spend Mother’s Day than with this Mother and Daughter team? It promises to be a lovely day.


Printing on Clay with Joanne Searle   February 2013


a repeat of September 2012's workshop  


Eleven more people spent time learning some fantastic print transfer and plaster lamination techniques from Jo Searle. Jo's techniques are proving incredibly popular with local potters.

Jo’s last printing workshop with us was in September – check the report here.


2013 Summer School  7th to 11th January 

Vivien Lightfoot workshop - report by Fran Romano, Workshop Coordinator


After a demonstration from Vivien about how she makes her pieces, Days 1 & 2 were spent developing maquettes.  Vivien photographed work at the end of day 1 and Photoshop’d it at home to give feedback about how the work could be developed.  This approach seemed to help people take a ‘step back’ from their work and see it with fresh eyes.

Day 3:  Vivien assisted participants to then scale up their maquettes (again using the computer) with the aim of making 2 x 60cm forms by the end of the week! It sounds like a big ask – but with the sort of focus that this kind of intensive course brings it was achievable, particularly with such dedicated participants who had to be reminded to take breaks for morning teas and lunches!

The final day was dedicated to finishing and decorating the pieces.  Raw glazes and terra sigillata were applied and arrangements made for a later firing date.

Everyone in Vivien’s group appreciated her organised and individualised approach to tuition, and the feedback from both groups was overwhelmingly positive. Some of people’s comments were:

  • friendly atmosphere, relaxed ambience, wonderful space, loads of information

  • (being) intensively creative for a whole week

  • learning and socializing with ‘potty people’

  • delightful morning teas

Apart from the extreme heat that week (which had us all running around looking for fans and coolers and keeping up the iced water) the Summer school was a fabulous success, with positive feedback also coming from both tutors.  They both loved the wonderful facility we have in the Canberra Potters’ Society, and hope to work with us again in the future.

What a great opportunity for networking and learning from each other and, most of all, playing with clay!  And a BIG thank you to Maryke for agreeing to be the workshop assistant for Paul Davis and for all the extra work that she does to help!



Paul Davis workshop - report by Ian Hodgson


What a wonderful 5 days this summer school was. Paul introduced us to his own way of making and encouraged us to try something different. We spent time on the first day learning (refreshing for some) how to throw off the hump. It’s not as easy as it looks, but I’m sure, like most things, it will come with practice.

Then Paul introduced us to his range of throwing tools, and some different cutting wires (one of which could be quite lethal in the wrong hands). Paul demonstrated and talked about both throwing and handbuilding, with a big emphasis on altering to make a ‘point of difference’ to personalise your work.

We spent much of the week making our own stuff, and everyone got some personal time from Paul, although, as there was always a discussion going on somewhere in the workshop, I personally preferred to listen to that and soak up the inspiration, of which there was much. And then there were Paul’s fascinating stories to listen to – many and amazing. There was never a dull moment. I loved it. We heard of Paul’s 5 years in Japan as an apprentice at the 400 year old Saka pottery in Hagi, and his ceremonial induction into the Saka family. What a surreal experience that must have been.

We discussed glazes, of course – ash, celadon, tenmoku and shino – and Paul willingly gave us the recipe for his beautiful soft white glaze, but the effort of making it up from wood ash and rice straw ash is not likely to encourage its replication by too many others. We discussed working with porcelain, and the merits of turning with tungsten carbide tools. And we discussed the Kagero clay, which Paul developed and then had to reformulate when an important ingredient, Hallam fireclay, became unavailable.

Paul puts enormous effort into researching and obtaining just the right materials for every aspect of his work, both raw materials for clays and glazes, and for tools, including brushes, which he takes a delight in making.

Paul was resident potter at Sturt for 10 years (and mustn’t they miss him now!) and at the end of that time he and partner Jacqueline Clayton were offered the opportunity to acquire a factory-load of state of the art equipment for porcelain manufacture. That makes it sound very simple – but it most certainly wasn’t. However, they did it, and the equipment is now in a factory which they have purchased in Newcastle, and are operating under the business name of Press to Play (which I discovered was an important studio album by Paul McCartney, wherein lies another story, for another time maybe). From their new premises Paul and Jacqueline are now producing custom-designed ceramics for a number of top Sydney restaurants, and a range of beautiful functional ceramics, such as bowls, beakers and mugs, as well as Paul’s now gorgeous signature pieces.

I have always admired people who are prepared to take a risk and put their money where their mouth is. Paul Davis and Jacqueline Clayton have certainly done this and they have big plans for the future. I am sure we all wish them every success. They are absolute consummate professionals, and they deserve it.


Throwing off the hump

Throwing a square bowl. Paul was much impressed with Chris' bat system.

Vivien demonstrated sculpting different

faces from a single block of clay

Glazing the sculpted pieces outside

Participants enjoying a final day lunch

Paul and Jacqueline presented Maryke with a gorgeous platter for the Society's collection.


A Creative Approach to Dining Ware

A masterclass with UK ceramicist Sandy Brown

3rd & 4th November 2012

Report by Melinda Brouwer

After some slides of Sandy Brown's colourful and expressive work a team of eight keen participants headed to the workshop. Our first instruction from Sandy was to make 30 functional pots in 30 minutes without using any tools!  All participants rose to the challenge, with one person exceeding the target, and an interesting variety of mostly attractive and possibly functional pots produced by the group.

The object of this approach was to bypass our rational, critical minds and let our hands do all of the thinking and work.  This was quite successful and we were all pleased with our results. Next was to make four pots in 30 minutes (these tended to be bigger!) and then to the designing and making of two pots for our favourite food (in 30 minutes).  Many of us found that deciding on our favourite food was even more difficult than making 30 pots in 30 minutes. 

Because most of our pots to this point had been open forms, our last challenge on the making front was to make 30 taller pots, each with two handles, again in 30 minutes.  Once more there was a wide variety in the pots – many didn't have bottoms but that was not seen as a problem.

The focus of the workshop was to 'stimulate creativity leading into an intuitive approach to modern dining ware.'  As well as the freeing-up exercises there was discussion about our inner critic and dealing with criticism from other people – including analysing criticism and what has prompted it.

We then went wild with colour using coloured slips with slip trailers and a variety of brushes. The free use of a slip trailer held well above the pot was a revelation for a couple of us – a very free result – and a lot of fun. Sandy normally uses white slip on her pots and bisque fires before decorating with underglaze colours and coloured glazes.  She also likes to use a cobalt wash which has not been mixed, to give variation in the colour – 'a nice uneven wash which will not run.'  The workshop ended with a display of our completed work – very interesting, though not really surprising, to see how different all the work turned out reflecting our own uninhibited styles 

Check out Sandy, her work and her impressive cv at



Printing on Clay with Joanne Searle   22nd & 23rd September 2012

Report by Fran Romano, workshops co-ordinator

A lovely spring weekend saw twelve enthusiastic participants spend time learning some fantastic print transfer and plaster lamination techniques from Jo Searle.

Studio 1 was full and the worktables were set up outside for the keen participants to try out some of the techniques themselves (and to take advantage of the weather!)

Jo’s method was relaxed and informative and she was full of tips and knowledge, as well as being very approachable. Judging by the comments made on the day and the work produced, there will be a few CPS members incorporating some of these ideas into their own work in the near future.

From one of the participants:  “I had a wonderful time … and enjoyed experimenting with the new techniques… we discussed the possibility of Jo's … workshop being extended over a few more days to give.... more time to explore each of the techniques..…You could count me in if it was run!”

As there is already a waiting list of people who missed out this time round, a further workshop seems like a distinct possibility!


Joanne Searle is a Canberra-based ceramicist and Associate Lecturer at the ANU Ceramics Workshop. She is passionate about printed surfaces on clay and has developed a practice that utilises her love of the natural world as imagery. Searle completed a First Class Honours degree at the Australian National University, School of Art, Ceramics Workshop in 1999. Since then she has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, including the International Ceramics Competition held in Faenza, Italy in both 2003 & 2009 and the First Taiwan Ceramics Biennale in 2004.




BEN CARTER    12th & 13th May 2012

Report by Sylvia Marris

The word is that May’s workshop with American potter BEN CARTER was a great success. We’re hoping for a workshop report soon but in the meantime, thanks to Maryke Henderson and Ian Hodgson for these photos.

Ten potters attended a weekend workshop with Ben Carter on the 12 and 13th of May in Studio 1. The cool and sunny weekend was enhanced by a scrummy morning tea each day, provided by Maryke, and a few of us enjoyed dinner out with Ben on the Saturday night.

Ben has been throwing and hand building since the age of 15. The level of care and attention to detail while he works is impressive. During the weekend he demonstrated his throwing techniques by throwing and altering mugs, cups and saucers and a teapot. His forms are generously proportioned and expertly finished. He also used some nifty dense foam as a mould for a slab constructed butter dish.

Using underglazes, Ben painted floral designs (from his home state of Virginia) onto one side of the cups; or he painted the area surrounding, and sometimes including, the handle. He wants to reference the place of activity of the object with his designs while leaving broad areas of ‘rest’ surrounding the design.

The culture of silver service is a great influence on the forms and decoration of his cups and saucers. As well as hand painted designs, Ben creates layers of texture and pattern through using dipping and slip trailing. His line work is gestural and Ben uses symbols and patterns to ‘point’ to activity areas on his functional pots.

Over the weekend Ben also discussed the use of terra sig, underglazes, sgraffito and drawing with slip. It became apparent over the two days that Ben is a talented and experienced potter who shared much about his practice and philosophy of making. He referenced the key concepts of his southern upbringing, hospitality, nature, abundance and growth, through his lecture and explained that these key constructs drive his intention of creating commemorative objects that help us remember our place in culture.



2012 SUMMER SCHOOL     January 2012


with Kevin Boyd


Read the workshop report below


Figurative Sculpture

handbuilt ceramics with Bev Hogg


Read the workshop report below.


Wheelforming with Kevin Boyd

Report by Andrea Ho

All potters are secret pyromaniacs. They love to fire things very, very hot. Relating one of many colourful and entertaining stories, Kevin remarked that he had once fired an entire car engine in his kiln.No-one in our class of twelve said, “How bizarre”. No-one asked, “What happened?”, or even, “Why?”

Someone DID ask, “How high did you fire it?” Kevin replied, “Stoneware, of course.” Fire formed the bracket of our five-day wheel-forming workshop. We began by considering simple forms, first in Kevin’s opening presentation and then at the wheel as we threw some pieces in preparation for the naked raku (smoke firing) planned for Friday. It was a great way to limber up, find our potting feet after the Christmas break.

We learned about terra sigillata, and experimented with applying both white and a terracotta ‘terrasig’.

Over the next few days Kevin helped us to explore altering forms: rims on bowls, self-made stamps, incising, adding hand-formed decoration, throwing ‘big clay’, and others. He taught us some of his techniques that make his own work so distinctive, including forming bowls from the rim down, and pulling handles in his style. It was exciting to watch each participant first try Kevin’s techniques, and then go on to make their own unique pieces fusing their own and Kevin’s styles. New creative doors opened each day.

An added bonus, Kevin proved a treasure house of tools. His clever use of everyday pottery items has taught us how to make sure we get even divisions of a form, and that we never need to trim the bottom of a mug again.

At break times we met up with Bev Hogg’s handbuilding students, and there were frequent ‘emissaries’ from both classes who would go across and visit the neighbours at work. It created a lovely sense of community, not to mention an opportunity to share artistic ideas and even enjoy a joint presentation by the two teachers on creativity.

On Friday our work reached a fiery climax with a full day of raku firing. It was a harsh, violent, messy, glorious process, producing some stunning results. With so many helping hands and volunteered kilns (thank you Chris, David, Julie, Ian) there was room to experiment with technique even on the day. It satisfied the hearts of even the most enthusiastic pyromaniacs (we had more than a few in the class).It was a great joy, almost a guilty pleasure, to spend a week with clay and with Kevin Boyd. Look out for some new and exciting work from artists in Canberra, Parkes and even Adelaide in 2012.

The output from Kevin Boyd's class was prolific.

Friday lunch for all gave Chris a chance to show he can cook great pizzas as well as make great pots.

Last day was a naked raku day – only the pots!



Figurative Sculpture handbuilt ceramics with Bev Hogg

Report by Julie Gorrell


There are probably a number of words that can best describe the figurative sculpture summer school conducted by Bev Hogg during the week 9th to 13th January 2012. Inspirational, challenging, encouraging, stressful, exhausting.  I think my fellow summer schoolers would feel comfortable with these. The 12 hand-builders probably came with different aspirations and varying levels of expertise, but we shared a common commitment to getting as much as we could out of the 5 days.

Bev eased us in on the first day (although by 4.30, most of us were pretty exhausted) and we were introduced to our clay and encouraged to think of the possibilities of surface decoration. We each produced 6 small 'tiles'. It was a terrific first exercise to get those of us who were less experienced in hand-building used to the flexibility of the material and the possibilities offered by found objects, various slips and glazes to decorate the surface. It also served to get us thinking about how we could apply this to the larger works that we would build through the week. After a wonderful morning tea provided by Maryke and Chris, our group joined with participants in the wheelforming summer school and we were exposed to the work of the master teachers, with Bev and Kevin talking us through images of their works and what inspires them. The kiln was stacked with our small works and when they emerged on Wednesday, it was great to explore the results and swap these around the group. In fact, these little memos became invaluable later when we were decorating our larger pieces.

Day two started with a group exercise. Building two pinch pots that were destined to be joined, we were instructed to use the imagery of the Summer Nats to construct a car. After a fair amount of face pulling by us girls, the small forms were commenced, with the shape beginning to emerge. At that point, each swapped one of the 'pots' - it could be the front, or the back of the car. At the end, the most wonderful things emerged; a fox, a beetle, and many aquatic forms. It was at this point that I think we all started to feel relaxed and appreciate the freedom offered by the medium.  It was a great way to get to know other members of the school as well. That afternoon we started developing our larger works, first building maquettes. I thought I should keep my form as simple as possible given this was my first attempt on figurative works. Others were more adventurous in their forms and had done a lot of prior research and thought deeply about their works.

On days three and four, Bev left us to continue to build the larger works and there was an intensity of effort in the studio. It was both frightening and exhilarating with Bev offering advice and encouragement in equal measure and instructions on the techniques to build the larger workers. By the end of this day, most of us had advanced our works so they were recognisable with the maquette.  On day five many arrived early, eager to finish our pieces, including the surface decoration.

The diversity in form was amazing from realistic to abstract, and starkly minimalist to flamboyant. There was no sense of competition among the group; rather it was one of achievement and genuine interest in the finished form. As for me, that 'simple' form was rather more complex!  However, with Bev's patience and assistance, she guided me and my colleagues through the construction techniques needed to prevent the works from collapsing; she also brought her accomplished sense of form and design to shape the pieces.  All of us are awaiting with much anticipation the final product to emerge from the kiln.

The week has given me the confidence to do more - a lot more - and to get beyond the anxiety of learning (and failing) to enjoy everything the medium has to offer. The last day we feasted on Maryke's delicious pizzas – which were expertly cooked by Chris – and salads.  Oh, and I nearly forgot, the exceptional morning tea that day of scones, home-made jam and cream - again, all provided by Maryke, even though she spent much time apologising for the quality of the scones! The verdict was that they were just delicious.


Lunch break

Bev Hogg’s group hard at work

Anne with Tree

Leah with her work

Red Fox

Camilla with Boy and Cat



Fusion 1, 2 & 3 78hx45x55cm  2010 Bev Hogg Photo: Joseph Lafferty

Medium: Clay, slips & glaze

Shelter 2010 Bev Hogg wall display clay, slips & downpipes 24h x86w x 10 d cm Photo. Bev Hogg


A Thousand Surfaces Condensed: A decoration workshop with Hillary Kane

Wednesday 4th May & Thursday 5th May 2011 

The canvas of clay poses an enormity of possibility. In the course of two days of demonstration and experimentation, this workshop explored techniques harvested from many cultures and manipulated in many and surprising ways to suit contemporary expression in clay. Techniques included a taster’s choice of: sgrafitto, engobes, hakeme, rope-texturizing, stamping, paddling, wax-resist, slip brushwork, and underglazing. Porcelain and stoneware were thrown and hand-built as the basis for exploration of surface elements. 

For every technique, there was opportunity for participants to experience hands-on—more for the chance to experiment, less in order to complete a full piece in the time frame of the workshop.

For artist and nomad, Hillary Kane, the world continues to draw her out like the tide. Travel and work has led her to claim residence in several continents and innumerable countries. Inevitably, the artistic culture of each has imparted indelible influence upon her own work and continues to be an endless source of inspiration. Educated in the United States and France, she now resides in Bali, Indonesia. She focuses her creativity in both clay and paint, enjoying the dynamic of two very different mediums and their possible confluence. She has recently attended an international wood fire conference in La Borne, France, and a completed a wood-fire residency in Aomori, Japan. After a year as artist-in-residence at Gaya Ceramic and Design, she is now directing the launching of Gaya Ceramic Arts Center in Bali, Indonesia. 

About her work, Hillary writes, ‘I see my artwork as a journey in which the process, the very visceral act of creating, is as significant as the final outcome. It is labyrinthine in its development and I am often surprised by the intuitive level of its revelation. I am entranced by the visual traces of this journey and the slow development of a patina of color and texture, the subtle variation of simple forms, and the impact of timing, of time. To me, these layerings offer clues to the suggestion of visual references, to the stories embedded, to the many possibilities of interpretation. And, perhaps, therein begins the dialogue. ’


For images and more about Hillary visit



March 2011

In conjunction with his exhibition, Form, Fire & Fruition that opened in the gallery on Friday 18th March, Geoff Crispin conducted a two-day workshop. Topics included;

-  Working with porcelain; throwing considerations, slip casting, slab building

- Combinations of techniques

- Demonstration of throwing porcelain pieces, small, large and multi-pieced

-Considerations with design of carving

- Demonstration of carving techniques

Geoff has travelled widely, often working with underdeveloped communities including remote indigenous communities of Ernabella, Tiwi Islands and Hermansberg. He has curated many exhibitions and written extensively for ceramic publications.

For more information about Geoff visit his website


top: Geoff Crispin

middle: Barrel Form slip cast with slab additions, ash & celadon glazes, 1320o

bottom: Pot, carved, ash & celadon glazes, Whiteman creek porcelain body, 

Workshop report - Reflections on the Teapot and Casserole Workshop

workshop report by Marg Cotton

10-14 January 2011

In a strangely wet week in January a group of 13 students attended a Teapot and Casserole Workshop.  With his recent award winning entry in the Fusions Teapot Competition in Brisbane who better than Chris Harford to lead the group through the dark mysteries of teapot making? 

The first three days of the workshop were devoted to teapots. A table full of teapots of various shapes and sizes greeted us on our first morning. The features of the pots were noted and different approaches to discourage lids from falling off were discussed. After instruction on the need to visualise and plan our teapots, and an inspiring demonstration on throwing the pot and lid, we were let loose on the wheels. With the goal of trying to throw 5 or 6 pots ringing in our ears, not many of us paused to draw our visualisations before slapping down some clay to make a start.

The concept of throwing half a dozen teapots seemed ambitious for those in the group who had never attempted one before. But the benefit of having multiple pots on the go soon became evident.  In something akin to the free flowing approach that is sometimes evident in a family with 5 or 6 children, there seemed to be less agonising over the peculiarities of a single pot when there were so many others in need of attention.  Throwing a number of items in succession also allowed a rhythm to develop and throwing skills improved with repetition.

The second day saw us trimming pots and being instructed in spout throwing and pulling handles.  Rain and humidity meant that that the pots and lids had barely dried overnight. The buzzing of heat guns filled the air as we sought to dry our pots to a workable leather hard stage. Throwing a spout with an even and not too heavy wall proved to be much harder than it looked.  Chris had demonstrated the technique with a Ninja-like dexterity that eluded many of the students.

Day three was assembly day. Trimming and lid fitting continued, and spouts and handles were attached.  Chris provided endless patient assistance - reminding us of the necessary steps, saving the occasional runaway pot and advising on spout size and orientation. Amazingly, as the day progressed the teapots began to come together.

On the fourth day we turned our attention to casseroles. Again we looked at a range of approaches to these vessels and Chris generously shared his experience on what works and why. The perils of asymmetric shrinkage, for example, encourage Chris to carve galleries at the leather hard stage after some shrinkage has occurred rather than throwing the gallery. Again Chris adeptly demonstrated throwing the casseroles and fitted lids.  He also showed how to make an oval shaped casserole with a slab base.

On our final day there was a flurry of activity as we all sought to finish off pots in various states of completion and dryness. Again the hum of the heat gun was pervasive.  Handles, knobs and bases were being applied throughout the workshop and casseroles took shape. While we broke for a very enjoyable shared lunch in the courtyard most of us were back in the workroom determined to finish off the teapots and casseroles that were under construction. 

Reflecting on the workshop it was a luxurious opportunity to devote a whole week to developing and improving our potting skills. We all left inspired and encouraged to seek to create beautiful and functional pottery. Another fantastic workshop - thanks Chris!    




Workshop report - Making Handles with Sandy Lockwood


workshop report by Maryke Henderson


23rd & 24th October 2010

On the 23rd and 24th October 8 members attended a workshop with a focus on handles with wood-firer and salt-glazer, Sandy Lockwood.  Sandy started by demonstrating her technique for her loosely thrown forms and made components for teapots and cylinders for mugs.  We viewed slides of her work, her workshop and pots that she had seen in France during her recent travels for a wood-firing conference.  She also brought along a wonderful collection of pots with handles for us to drool over.

We were then challenged with her techniques, as we attempted to make our own loosely thrown forms.  On Sunday Sandy demonstrated the assembly of her teapots and then we struggled with our own pots, making handles that complemented the forms by using different methods.

It was an inspiring and challenging weekend with a talented and giving tutor such as Sandy.


Sandy Lockwood with a handled teapot

Sandy Lockwood has been working with clay for over 30 years. She has taught extensively at TAFE, NAS and university. She has exhibited widely in Australia and overseas including Japan, USA, UK, The Netherlands, Korea, and France. Her work is woodfired and salt glazed.

She has presented workshops and symposia in Australia, Japan, Taiwan, USA, and France and her work is represented in a number of public and private collections.

For more information see her website

Two of Sandy's demonstration teapots in the making


Workshop report - Weekend Raku with Chris Harford


workshop report by David Leake

9th-10th October 2010

Over the weekend of 9 & 10 October twelve potters took part in a raku workshop with our resident "Raku Guru" Chris Harford. On Saturday Chris demonstrated throwing and altering forms suitable for the raku firing process. Chris shared his wealth of knowledge as well as a few tips and techniques for finishing leather hard ware. Chris said, "The attention to detail, finishing and decorating is the key".

Discussion on glaze recipes and demonstration of glaze application was also carried out before we were "let loose" decorating our own ware.

Sunday was off to an early start. After a few firings we all had a better understanding of the glazes and how they worked singly or in combination. Further glaze decoration and firing continued throughout the day - with the results from each firing getting better and better. The colour variations from the three glazes were amazing. The range of fired ware was varied from small wrens, pigeons, penguins, roosters, pinecones, balls, short and tall cylinders, lidded and open forms, vases, bottles, bowls and flowers. All the results were very pleasing. At the end of the day we were all still very keen and nobody wanted to leave, we all just wanted to keep on firing!

Many thanks to Chris for a great workshop.


CPS resident potter, Workshop Manager and teacher, Chris Harford, conducted this workshop. Chris has been a potter for 28 years, 23 of these as a professional potter and teacher. His works are in collections in the U.K, NZ, Ireland, Japan and Australia.

He is predominantly wheel-based, spending the formative years of his craft learning the technical skills needed to make high-grade functional ware under the guidance of Paul Fisher in New Zealand and later, as a trainee, production throwing the domestic range for the Jam Factory in South Australia. Then for a number of years he turned to making non-functional Raku-fired work; this is the style of work Chris will be demonstrating at the workshop. Chris has since returned to his first love, the permanence of high-fired stoneware and porcelain, but dabbles periodically with low-fired ware.

Commissioned works include a presentation platter to Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, and a 12-person dinner setting for the Swiss Ambassador. Overseas commissions include four tile murals in Duffcarrig, Ireland and a large breakfast buffet setting for the Hyatt Kingsgate Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand. In 1996 Chris established Spinning Gum Pottery.


Raku guru Chris Harford

workshop members observing the raku firing process

some of the finished works


Workshop report - Figurative Handbuilt Sculpture with Bev Hogg

workshop report by Jenny Hadzi-Popovic

Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th June

By 9.30am on Saturday, a cheerful motley crew had assembled around two large tables in the members’ work area, ready for Bev Hogg’s much anticipated Figurative Sculpture weekend workshop. We each came with our own diverse potting history, experiences and ambitions; but were united with an eagerness to dabble where we had previous dared not dabble before, be inspired to embark on a new chapter of sculpting creativity – and, of course, have some fun!

On Day One, Bev got us to experiment with a variety of surface treatments on fresh tiles of clay to demonstrate the multitude of effects that can form part of a potter’s textural palette. Using any number of mundane to more exotic objects, we each made six tiles of varying surfaces which we then decorated using the smorgasbord of colourful slips, oxides and carbonates laid out before us. Bev encouraged us to experiment with layering, dribbling, sponging, scraping - and anything else that took our fancy - to achieve various results, ranging from subtle to startling effects.

In the afternoon, Bev presented a slideshow that gave insight into some of the influences that have shaped her work throughout her extensive and illustrious career as a visual artist. It was wonderful to see the variety of concepts, forms and social commentary that one can achieve through sculptural expressiveness, and ways to connect with your audience, on even quite depressing topics, with a touch of humour. We were then set our next task; to develop our own ideas and model a maquette, or miniature figurine, of clay that we would then try to expand upon as a larger work.

Some of us had already brought a myriad of ideas to the table and began busily building…others (such as myself) were contending with a newly-filled head of ideas, but left struggling to pluck out a single work on which to focus! Then all of a sudden, it was time to head home – and I was left to reflect on yet another example of how time really does have (jet propelled) wings when you’re having fun!

On Day Two, we were all heads down tails up, immersed in concentration to construct, carefully coax, texturise (and complete!) our sculptural pieces, incorporating one - or several – newly-introduced ideas and techniques to which we had been exposed the day before. 

For some, it was mission accomplished, for others (again, your’s truly) it was work in progress - but for all, it was a fabulous fun weekend of learning and experimentation that stocked our creative cupboards chock-a-block full of wonderful new ideas to  incorporate into our work for years to come. Many thanks, Bev! 


and a follow-up report...

by Jenny Hadzi-Popovic

FINISHED!   Back in June, a dozen members had the good fortune to participate in Bev Hogg’s figurative sculpture hand building workshop. A few months later, many of the sculptures started at the workshop have now been completed and found a home; yet participants are still enjoying the benefits of the techniques and ideas offered over the weekend.

“The workshop really helped a lot with building techniques. I now have the confidence to go quite thin in the building and it makes a bag a clay go a lot further, not to mention the lifting, and loading the kiln. The workshop weekend was really enjoyable and valuable.”  Monika Leone

As you can see by some of the examples here, participants had the freedom to sculpt any form of their choice. This diversity allowed for everyone to learn from others’ works as they went, - as well as catalogue a few learnings for future use!  For the beginner sculptor like myself, even the basics such as, ‘don’t forget to measure your kiln before building’ was an invaluable tip! Another equally useful lesson; that large works don’t have to equate to heavy inch-thick walls(!) I think several of us were amazed to see just how strong a medium clay can be when the correct foundations and joining techniques are used.  Bev also encouraged us to experiment with surface textures and treatments throughout the workshop, and reminded us to apply these to our works once left to our own devices to finish our sculptures.

A perfect example of this, is Monika’s ‘Lizzy’, pictured below. Lizzy was treated with a couple of dry glazes, underglazes under a clear glaze and a touch of lustre (extra low firing) to create this wonderfully colourful character.  She was raw glazed and fired slowly in one firing up to about 1280 degrees. Biscuit’s fur was textured using the back of a finger nail to provide his think coat, and for contrast, white raku clay was used for his beloved bone. Velda’s beautifully posed Boy with a Bird Series, although not fired at the time of this photo, shows wonderfully textured clothing, contrasted by smooth youthful skin, and cleverly  well-defined hair. And doesn’t Celia’s rabbit ‘just relaxing in the sun’ make you want to go outside beside it in the garden, to lap up that sunshine?! Another work by Celia made after the June workshop, pictured right, is ‘Yoga Bear’. (I am almost inspired to take it up!) Thanks to Monika, Celia and Velda for sharing your finished works with us, and thanks again to Bev for a wonderful workshop - you have certainly inspired us to continue sculpting and having fun - in more ways - with clay!  

L-R:   Lizzy by Monica Leonie       Biscuit by Jenny Hadzi-Popovic      Just relaxing in the sun by Celia Lawrie

Boy with a Bird series

by Velda Hunter

Yoga Bear

by Celia Lawrie



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Workshop cancellation policy: workshop fees in full are required to secure a place on a workshop. Fees will be refunded, less 10%, if cancellation is notified more than 2 working days before a workshop. If less than 2 working days notice is given then a refund, less 10%, will only be given if the place can be taken by another participant otherwise the full fee is forfeited.

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This information last updated 11/04/17