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Learning to Throw a Pot in Leeds

By Sophia, published on 30/09/2019 Blog > Arts and Hobbies > School Art > Pottery Classes Leeds

Loiners feel rightly proud of being our country’s second financial centre after London; it was no mean feat to claw our way up from the small market town we were to being the country’s fourth-largest economy.

And we just keep getting better!

The green spaces and the retail spaces, the leisure activities and the business activities; the high-speed trains that will get you here quicker and the varied activities that will keep you here longer…

Leeds has quite the reputation – more students apply to the University of Leeds than any other university in the country; upholding it comes not through dedicated effort but as a matter of course.

That’s a small summary of the good things in Leeds. There is a downside…

All of the stress and competition in the many law firms – we’re also the country’s second legal centre, and the pressure of global and national finance in our many banks can make it feel like the good life to be had in Leeds can be a bit of a stretch.

Naturally, Leeds is not only about banking and law; we’ve a generous service sector, too… and a corresponding number of those workers feel stress as well.

When you start feeling that way, it is time to back off and relax; to find something to take your mind off things.

Have you considered dabbling in the ceramic arts?

Any ceramic artist will tell you that there is something so elemental, so soothing about working with clay. Even if you dreaded getting all messy sitting at a potter’s wheel, you could roll clay and coil your way to stress reduction.

You’re quite right to believe that throwing a pot (shaping clay on a pottery wheel) is not a tidy undertaking, especially if you don’t know how to do it.

That is why you need lessons, preferably hands-on and with a patient instructor as opposed to, say, watching a bunch of online videos and getting discouraged before you even start.

Who has time to hunt for classes? Your Superprof, of course!

We’ve prowled the streets of Leeds looking for the very best adult classes, kids classes, workshops and weekenders – any opportunity to get your hands on clay. Now comes the reveal…

Uniquely Local Experiences

Did you play with modelling clay when you were a child? You may remember playing with modelling clay when you were a child Image by LMoonlight from Pixabay

We cannot think of a better place to start our search for pottery lessons than this remarkable venture.

It is not a typical pottery studio where several ceramic artists rent space and where clay artists from outside the studio can book kiln time – a fairly common occurrence in this particular branch of the visual arts.

Electric kilns draw a lot of power; it is more economical for many to share the cost.

Uniquely proposes to present people with the chance at one-of-a-kind experiences they might not otherwise enjoy.

For instance, let’s say friends you met while on holiday are due to visit in a fortnight. Are you going to give them the standard Leeds tour: the Corn Exchange, Kirkstall Abbey, maybe Roundhay Park…

Sure, your friends should see those sights and more but if you wanted to treat them to an unforgettable experience, something with flair, Uniquely Local should be your agents.

Of course, any out-of-towners you host would not necessarily find joy in a pottery class; there’s a good chance they may have ceramics classes available to them in their hometown and, as long as we’re supposing, they may even be pottery artists!

Besides, there’s nothing particularly ‘Leeds’ about pottery. Glasgow, on the other hand, has a strong pottery heritage

On the other hand, if you had a hen or stag party coming up, this two-hour taster would fit the bill perfectly.

You may choose a wheel throwing session, meaning you would use a pottery wheel to work the clay or handbuilding: working the clay without using a wheel.

Handbuilding is closer to traditional pottery; coiling strings of clay and pinching them together to form a vessel is the old-fashioned way to do it. You may actually remember this form of clay art from when you were a child playing with colourful modelling clay.

The lessons are held at our next featured studio, Sunken.

In this table, we list that location contact information, along with the other studios in and around Leeds where you could take pottery lessons.

Contact Information for Pottery Studios

NameStreet AddressPhone NumberWeb Address
Sunken StudioCarlisle Road, Leeds LS10 1LB0773 907 9438www.sunkenstudio.co.uk
Jackrabbits Pottery633a Roundhay Road
Oakwood
Leeds
LS8 4BA
0113 318 9315www.jackrabbitspottery.com
Firefly Pottery116 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 4AH0113 345 0405https://fireflypottery.co.uk
Bentham Pottery
Oysterber Farm,
Low Bentham,
North Yorkshire,
LA2 7ET
0777 608 4856www.benthampottery.com

Working with clay sure can be messy Admittedly, working with clay can be a messy endeavour… Image by ENRIC SAGARRA from Pixabay

Sunken Studio

If a taster is good, a full course must be better, right?

Most ceramics artists – certainly the ones at Sunken know that you have to understand the creative process before you can apply yourself wholly to ceramic art:

  • clays: knowing what type of clay for any project
  • shaping: using clay create a form
  • firing: after the clay dries, exposing it to high heat in a kiln (turning into a bisque, or biscuit)
  • decorating: you might use clay tools to scratch or carve the unfired clay body or use different glazing techniques
    • you can also paint pottery before glazing it if you have a certain design in mind; this is called underglaze painting
  • refiring: putting back into the electric kiln (or gas kiln) to harden the glaze

That is why they endeavour, through their classes and workshops, to impart as much knowledge as they can about their craft. To them, everyone is a future clay artist.

They offer a wide range of classes, from beginners to master classes suitable for experienced artists. The course we found most intriguing was their jewellery taster, which involves working with silver clay.

We found no such pottery classes in Birmingham!

Especially with the chilly weather creeping up on us, wouldn’t it be great to learn something new in a friendly, warm environment? What a great reason to drop in on Sunken Studios!

Firefly Pottery

For more of a diversion – something to do on a rainy afternoon, the whole family can head to Firefly to choose from an assortment of courses.

Operating under the idea that not everyone wants to get serious about pottery, their focus is on taster sessions in both wheel throwing and handbuilding.

If you have a bit of knowledge about clay and how to work it, a mere £12.50 will buy you one kilo of clay and two hours of table time. Naturally, you will receive support from the instructor as needed.

Conversely, if you and/or the kids wanted to try your skills on the pottery wheel, a 30-minute session runs £18.

You are welcome to take your creation home and paint it once it dries; as most of the pieces created in these sessions are decorative, they don’t necessarily need to be fired. However, if you wanted to, you could pick it up (or have it posted to you) once it has been fired.

Really, the major attraction at Firefly is the ‘paint your own pottery’ events.

Rather than working the clay yourself, you would choose a biscuit – a clay form that has been fired once, decorate it as you wish and leave it at the studio to be fired by the resident artist.

Such events are suitable for kids as well as adults; you may consider Firefly for your next hen night!

Find out if pottery classes in Manchester are as much fun as they are in Leeds…

You can paint biscuits in Leeds pottery studios Many pottery studios in Leeds have biscuits for you to paint Image by Margarita Morales Esparza from Pixabay

Jackrabbits Pottery

In the same vein as Firefly, Jackrabbits has a wide selection of bisque pottery for you to choose a piece for painting and drawing.

They host a range of events from children’s birthday parties to the beguiling ‘Tots and Pots’ meant for toddlers. Would you be brave enough to invite a bunch of babies into your china shop?

These are not so much classes for children as they are a form of entertainment, albeit educational. The children are treated to a story and a singalong, a snack and finally, pottery painting. If you’re interested in such a session, you should act quickly; at £10 per session, places go fast.

Another of Jackrabbit’s specialities is corporate team-building.

If you lead a team whose morale needs a boost, a Jackrabbit event is sure to brighten the mood! You may plan the activities or rely on the staff’s experience; either way, it is bound to be a unique experience for everyone including you.

If you are the staff, maybe you could suggest Jackrabbit to your boss…

If you must know, not even London pottery classes are quite this much fun!

Bentham Pottery

Painting pottery is all well and good but what if you want to get hands-on with clay; make your vessel from start to finish?

If you don’t mind heading out to the countryside, Bentham has a fantastic, all-inclusive pottery programme designed with you in mind.

Their speciality is wheel throwing and they have more than 35 years of experience teaching novice clay artists that skill.

You could drive out for their half-day lesson but, as charming as the area is and as much as these talented artists have to offer, why not book their five-day, intensive beginner’s course?

Whether you choose pottery making on the wheel or sculpting from a slab, this self-catered sojourn into a working ceramic studio would be well worth your while!

Are you tired of searching for pottery classes near me? No worries, Superprof has done the searching for you!

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