Frequently Asked Questions


1.  I am a complete beginner, does that matter ?

No. Not a problem. I am happy to take on absolute beginners.

2.  Can I take away a finished piece at the end of one class ?
Sorry but no.  But you can after two or more classes.

The pieces you make by the end of the first class will be wet and fragile. They need to be properly processed before they can be taken away. This involves:
Partially drying the piece (24-48 hours)
Turning and trimming
Fully drying out (a few days)
Bisque firing (48 hours)
Glazing and decorating
Glaze firing (48 hours)

As you can see, the above is a lengthy process.

3.  How many lessons does it take to have finished pieces ?
A minimum of two.

One lesson for throwing the pieces on the wheel, and a second for glazing and decorating them.
I can do the intermediary trimmimg stage free of charge.
A one week gap is needed between the throwing and glazing lessons.

4. How soon can we pick up the pieces after they have been glazed ?
About a week.

Pieces will be fired on the weekend and will be ready for collection by Tuesday.

5. Why do I need to book two lessons ?
So that you can have finished pieces, and I don’t have my shelves full up with wasted items !

I have had several customers who promised me that they would love to come back and glaze their bowls - but never did.
As a result I have shelves and boxes of bisque fired pieces which I expect will not be claimed and will have to be destroyed.
Whereas unfired dry clay can be soaked in water and re-used, fired clay cannot be recycled and will end up in land fill !

So, if you really want one lesson only,  please be aware that I will recycle the clay and you will not be able to come back and glaze them.

I will keep unfired work (damp untrimmed pieces) for up to one month. Bisque fired pieces will be kept for a maximum of six months - after that they will probably be destroyed !

6.  Is there a charge for finished work ?
Yes. 

I charge £5 per kilo. This is to cover the cost of electricity and glaze. This equates to a cost of between £2 and £3 for each finished piece.

7.  What is the difference between painting and glazing ?
Glaze is a hard wearing permanent finish, food safe and suitable for dishwashers, ovens and microwaves. Paint is not hard wearing, not suitable for use as crockery,  and will not look as good.

Glaze is, as he name suggests, is essentially a coating of glass. It is applied as a water based emulsion (whether coloured, white or transparent) and when the piece is fired (to 1200 degrees +) it melts, crystalises, and bonds to the surface of the bowl.  The high temperature is required to turn the silica from powder into glass.

8.  Do I run classes on weekends ?
Generally no, but sometimes on Sunday mornings.

I need time to fire pieces in the kiln. I need to two two firings each weekend. A glaze firing and a bisque firing. Each of these takes approximately 48 hours. So, if the first firing goes in on Friday afternoon it will be finished by Sunday morning. Then the second firing can start on Sunday lunchtime and be finished by Tuesday morning.  I do not teach when the kiln is on as it is not safe to do so.

9.  Can I make other shapes apart from bowls ?
Yes. 

You can make mugs and cups with handles, wide dishes and any other forms which are ‘wheel-based’.

10. Do I need to bring anything with me to classes ?
No. 

But please be aware that you will get clay splatters on your trousers and shoes.  These do wash out quite easily, but it is best to wear machine-washable ‘grubby’ clothes.

11.  How long does it take to learn pottery ?
That depends on how much you want to learn.

I can show you the basic principles and techniques in a two hour class but like any other art or craft. the more you do the better you get.