It’s not as though there isn’t plenty to do in Glesga...
Sports – whether you play golf, tennis or rugby, or simply enjoy the Old Firm rivalry without yourself kicking a ball around; riding bikes or taking in the urban landscape and the historic parts of town, there is enough to keep yourself busy every day of the year in Glasgow.
Music – whether you play in a band or build your weekend plans around seeing the latest club offerings, Glasgow’s music scene has more than enough to entertain.
Ballet and theatre, festivals and exhibitions, galleries, museums and more: if you lack for anything to do in Glasgow, you must be assiduously avoiding everything our Dear Green Place has to offer.
But would you turn your back on heritage? On tradition?
Scotland in general and Glasgow, in particular, has a long history in the ceramic arts; indeed, pottery-making helped put Glasgow on the economic map during the Industrial Revolution.
Verreville Glass and Pottery Works is the perfect example of such a concern.
Archaeologists uncovered the site in 2005. The expanse of the workspaces and the size of the kilns have effectively proven that, until just after the turn of the 20th Century, pottery was, for them, a booming business.
That site has been opened to the public; yet another exciting exhibition to tour!
Now, with the air turning colder and the skies misting up... could there be a better time to find a ceramic studio and learn how to throw a pot?
Warmed by the fire of electric kilns and cheered by having informational conversations with resident artists...
Superprof has combed the streets of Glasgow to find the best adult classes as well as classes for children – why not make pottery a family affair?
We now share our finds with you. At the end of this article, we will list the addresses and contact information for all of the facilities we investigated.
Fire Works Studio
Just down the road from the illustrious Glasgow School of Art, not too far from the Port Dundas Business Park, set on the unassuming Dalhousie Lane, you will find a recessed doorway flanked by two concrete pillars.
You may have to cross to the other side of the street to recognise that you’ve arrived at FireWorks; in spite of its explosive-sounding name, you’ll hear nary a bang from within.
Really, it’s quite a shame; that punny name is very apropos to what you will find inside of their studio. Oh, the things you’ll find within!
From the tiki mugs that consistently garner rave reviews to the sounds and smells of art being created before your eyes, FireWorks is a treat for the senses.
This is an active pottery studio, meaning you will find pottery artists at work. You will also find ceramic works in various stages of completion and you will find studio space for rent. You'll also find tiki mugs for sale.
Right now all of the spaces are taken but you can register for a studio rental on their waiting list. That just goes to show how renown FireWorks is.
Throwing a pot – the phrase used to describe the process of centring clay on a potter’s wheel and working it until it becomes a bowl, a cup, a vase... whatever you intended to make.
If you have never thrown a pot, starting out at FireWorks would be ideal because they offer a 6-week course on how to work with/on a pottery wheel.
Naturally, your ceramics work will progress through all of the stages – from raw materials, through firing and glazing, ending up with a finished product that you will get to keep.
The collection of lessons run £140 (£120 if you’re a student) and each class has a maximum of five participants, meaning you’ll get plenty of personal instruction time.
You may have to wait for the next cycle of lessons but it will be worth the wait: those ceramic artists really know their stuff!
Unlike looking for pottery lessons in Birmingham, Glasgow is lousy with clay artists! Let’s look at the next studio on our list...
The Glasgow Ceramic Studio
They call themselves a ceramic studio for a reason: it is home base for about 20 artists.
Out of all of that creative fervour arises a schedule of classes and workshops targeted to the (somewhat) experienced potter as well as to those who have never thrown a pot. What we found particularly intriguing are their handbuilding courses.
Handbuilding is a general term used to describe making pottery without using a pottery wheel.
It harkens back to the time when there were no such things as pottery wheels; back then potters used various techniques such as coiling, pinching and slab building – working a smooth slab of clay either around a mould or shaped by hand.
You could sign up for the 4-week beginners’ course that takes place on Monday evening (£95 per person) or, if you have a bit of experience working with clay, opt for the 6-week course that takes place on Thursdays.
The advantage to the Thursday Evening with Alison class is that your imagination gets to run free!
You can work on your own projects if you so desire or take inspiration from others attending the session or Alison Gray herself. This course costs £160 per person, all materials and firings included.
Conversely, if you truly want to master the pottery wheel, you can take throwing courses at the Ceramic Studio as well.
You may select their 4-week class which meets every Tuesday ( £110 per person) or sign up for a weekend taster which runs £160 per person. In both cases, the cost of materials and firings is included.
Do you think Mancunians have such a great selection of classes to choose from?
Taking Lessons at Stef Baxter Pottery
Remember, in our intro we mentioned family pottery classes?
The two facilities written up so far are professional ceramics studios with working artists. Welcoming children would pose several challenges, one of them being: what if the other artists don’t want children in their studio space?
Stef Baxter runs a one-artist show and she likes the idea of kids creating art; for that reason, she welcomes children as young a five years old to her lessons.
You could take lessons on Tuesdays from 6-8:30 in the evening but those are perhaps a bit late for the little ones. However, you could take her weekend classes, which start at 10 AM.
What would you learn?
For children, the focus is handmade pottery but adults could choose between wheel-thrown pottery or hand-built.
If you opt for the Tuesday night course, those 6 weeks will cost you £180, materials included. If you prefer to go on a week-by-week basis, each lesson will cost £35.
Discover where Loiners find ceramics classes in Leeds...
Raku is a low-fire ceramic process with roots in traditional Japanese pottery techniques. It requires a special blend of clay and is fired at a lower temperature than stoneware or other earthenware.
At Stef’s studio, you could learn to work with this more delicate material to make dainty ceramic creations that are perfect for gift-giving.
Another great gift idea: vouchers for lessons at a ceramic studio! With the holidays right around the corner, you might be scrambling for a meaningful gift for everyone on your list.
Speaking realistically, if you're just starting your ceramic arts education, you probably will not have achieved mastery over the pottery wheel in time to make everyone a personalised coffee mug or unique piece of ceramic art.
However, you could invite them to join you at the potter’s wheel...
Instead of hunting for ‘pottery classes near me’, you can simply check out the list of studios at the bottom of this article...
The Scottish Potter’s Association
We would be remiss if we wrote about ceramics and pottery in Scotland without mentioning the Scottish Potter’s Association.
They are not a studio or an art school. They are a group of dedicated local artists determined to uphold the traditions of Scottish pottery and help beginners learn new skills.
If you are serious about pottery – even if you’re not very good at it yet, you are welcome to join them at any of their meetings and events or, better yet, sign up for classes through their website:
If you live or work in the Govenhill Baths area, you might enjoy afternoon or evening classes at the local ceramics studio. More fun classes at Govenhill Baths Ceramics include:
- Parent and child classes on Saturday mornings (£10 for adults and £6 per child)
- For those short on time, there’s a Coil a Vase class on Saturdays (£35)
- Make a hanging planter (£35)
- Make Christmas decorations (£35)
These are just some of the courses promoted through the clearinghouse of pottery learning through this wonderful Scottish Potter's Association, one of the most dedicated groups of ceramists we've had the pleasure to run across.
Not even those looking for pottery lessons in London can claim to be so fortunate as to have a historic pottery association to learn from...
Pottery Courses Contact Information
|Name||Physical Address||Phone Number||Web Address|
|FireWorks Studio||35a Dalhousie street Glasgow G3 6PW||751 281 9823||www.fireworkspots.com|
|Glasgow Ceramics Studio||Studio #11|
77 Hanson Street
Glasgow G31 2HF
|0141 550 8030||www.glasgowceramicstudio.com|
|Stef Baxter Pottery||Unit 8,|
6 Harmony Row,
Govan G51 3BA
|0778 855 2589||www.stefbaxterpottery.com|
|The Craft Pottery||48-54 Washington Street|
Ground Floor, Axiom Building
Glasgow, G3 8AZ
|0141 243 2823||www.thecraftpottery.com|
|Govan Hill Baths Ceramics||126 Calder Street|
|0141 433 2999||www.govanhillbaths.com/projects/ceramics/?s=|
|The Scottish Potter's Association||meetings at multiple venues||No central contact number||www.scottishpotters.org/index.asp|