Debra Sloan: 5 Day Workshop @ Leach Pottery in St. Ives

Make your own roof Finial in the tradition of the West Country – Clay sculpture course to create a guardian to sit on a roof tile

29 May to 2 June 2017 (5 days), 10am- 4pm


Maximum on the course: 8

All welcome anyone with, or without ceramic skills


For this workshop – in honour of the Leach Horseman on display at the “That Continuous Thing” exhibition at the Tate, St Ives – we will work with the idea of roof finials or guardians, a tradition of the West Country.  Please bring ideas and images of what kind of guardian you would like on your roof. If students are unsure of what to do, there will be images for them to choose from. Each student will have an earthenware ridge tile to work from.  There will be a short slide show about roof finials.

  • Three days building
  • Two days to finish

Hand building [sculpture] is an open and exploratory experience, and I try to conduct a class that makes the process accessible, and is deeply satisfying. Handwork is very a different experience from throwing pots, it is about imaginative structure.  I enjoy problem solving and working individually with each student to find ways and means.  Beginners and experienced alike are welcomed.  Though technical skills are helpful, beginners can make expressive and cogent work.

At the end of the workshop the student should have one or two figure/ finials that will be fired in the Leach Pottery kilns.  Pick up of the pieces would be about two weeks after the workshop. Once these pieces are fired they can be cemented onto a ridge tile and placed on your own roof – to honour the ridge tile tradition of the West Country. This hands-on experience will open up understanding of the ceramic experience and hopefully encourage the participants to continue exploring this wonderful material. The Leach Pottery will provide some hand tools – please bring any tools you may have.The work would be freestanding and within 8-14 inches, H/W.  The students would pick up their work around 4-6 weeks after the workshop.

Students to Bring:

·         A packed lunch, Leach Pottery will provide tea & coffee provided

·         Any tools you may have, knives, sticks etc., a towel, pencil and paper, dry-cleaner plastic, large sponges, and short fingernails.

·         An image you would like to work with – if you have one in mind – finials can be anything you can imagine – abstracted or representational.  We will discuss the images and how to make them .

For the class the Leach Pottery will provide:·

·         A generic earthenware ridge tile for each student to work from

·         Generic hand tools, and I can bring some, and some dry cleaner plastic.

·         ·      A bisque firing, and a final firing in the gas kiln, so that student pieces can be weather proof and put on the roof.    Most students would make 1 -2 pieces.

·         There will be no glazing, but a black and white clay slips for the surface will be available, for a bit of detail


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