At first blush, this task seems unequal to mighty search engines: what can't you find in London would be a better challenge for them.
Thinking in those terms overlooks the salient point of the question: true, you can find anything with the right GPS coordinates and proper directions.
The question is: would what you find be exactly what you’re looking for?
Our capital city has it all: history and cosmopolitanism, tradition and modernism, bureaucracy and art...
Generally, one thinks of science as the ‘opposite’ of art – think of the phrase ‘arts and science’ that is generally used to represent a balance of extremes, especially in academia.
However, giving the matter deeper thought, one must conclude that science and art both require a great deal of imagination and creativity, whereas bureaucracy... doesn’t.
Regardless, London has plenty of extremes and lots of art (and bureaucracy) to enjoy.
One art form in particular that does involve a bit of science is ceramics. Or pottery, if you wish to hold us to this article’s title.
Essentially, there is little difference between ceramics and pottery; they are both produced with the same materials, clays, and undergo the same processes:
- Shaping the clay body: forming it into whichever shape you desire; vases, cups... even stoneware dishes.
- Firing: placing the clay body into a kiln once the clay has dried
- Glazing: coating the clay body in a shiny, protective coating
- Re-firing: exposure to the intense heat of a gas kiln or electric kiln ensures the glaze is bonded to the clay body at the molecular level.
Taking the clinical approach, as we have here, there appears to be little mystery to being a clay artist but the art of clay does not rest only in the processes.
Experimenting with clay mixtures, forming the bodies, expressing your artistic vision through your finishes – sgraffito and underglazes, applying Terra Sigillata...
In short, there is nothing clinical about ceramic arts. It is all about skill and passion, vision and creation and, yes, processes.
Whether you want to take up pottery for its therapeutic benefits – yes, there are many, or to express your artistic side, London certainly has a pottery class for you.
Come with your Superprof now to discover the best ones.
Parade Mews Pottery
Let’s start on the right foot: clay art can be a messy business and not everyone is wildly enthused about getting dirty. That is perfectly understandable.
Would you really sacrifice pottery-making simply because you have no inclination to get a bit grubby? Well, maybe if you knew a bit more about clay pottery...
It is in that spirit of understanding that Parade Mews offers their taster sessions.
You are invited to try handbuilding – working off a slab of clay and then coiling and pinching it into shape, much as you would with modelling clay or throwing a pot, the messy version that incorporates a potter’s wheel.
Either way, you would be treated to refreshments and, even better: you get to keep two of the pieces you made.
After such a two-hour session, if you decide you would like to learn more about ceramics, you are welcome to sign up for any of their adult classes; they also have kids’ classes after school for children as young as seven.
For hen/stag parties, special events; even for students taking art classes at university, Parade Mews has something for everyone.
Unlike Birmingham, London does not have a long history of ceramics works but Parade Mews comes very close to establishing this city as an important contributor to ceramic art.
Shirley Stewart Pottery Courses
London is dotted with many architectural gems, one of them being the Lewisham Arthouse. Wouldn’t it be great to take pottery lessons there?
Thanks to Shirley Stewart, a ceramic artist who has been exhibiting her work since 1989, you can!
She now lends her considerable experience to a series of classes targeted to anyone interested in ceramic sculpting, wheel throwing or finishing – glazing pottery.
Courses are held over the weekends, or on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 7-9 in the evening.
Shirley also hosts workshops for children as young as five every Monday through Thursday, from 4:30 to 6. If you have a teenager who might want to try their hand at the potter’s wheel, Shirley has a course especially for them, too.
Prices and offerings for the many courses in this art curriculum vary; it would be best to contact her directly for the most up-to-date information.
Did you know that Scotland, especially Glasgow has a tradition of pottery and ceramics?
Ceramics Studio Cooperative
The cost of operating a ceramic studio can be prohibitive; the kilns alone take a huge bite out of any profits a studio might generate. That is why many ceramics artists band together; they rent studio space large enough to accommodate several workshops and split the cost.
If these artists agree, they may also tag-team as pottery instructors offering classes in basic skills, hand building techniques and glazing techniques. If they’re really brave (and have the right insurance), they teach kids classes, too.
The Co-op is just such a pottery studio. They have the perfect blend of visual artists who are all keen to impart their knowledge to anyone interested in any facet of pottery-making.
For instance, if you have a fair grasp of throwing, you may want to learn more about selecting and operating an electric kiln or learning how to use a raku kiln.
The Co-op offers such courses, along with pottery painting workshops, glazing workshops and, yes, even the elementary wheel throwing workshops.
By contrast, most ceramics classes in Leeds mostly revolve around painting and drawing on ceramics with little pottery-making involved...
The Clay Room
What started out as an independent artist’s studio has turned into a new, major space for sharing the love of art and the joy of creation with as many as possible.
The quartet of ceramists that staff the Clay Room did not come to the discipline in the traditional way; meaning that they did not know from an early age that ceramic sculpture was their life’s calling and go on to incur substantial debt to pay for their art education.
Well, except for maybe Krista.
The fact that most of the instructors at the Room came to clay in the same way you have, curious and willing to learn, makes them perhaps the best teachers for learning how to make pottery for those who are yet uncertain that clay sculpture is for them.
You might try their throwing taster just to see how things work out and, if all goes well, you may even settle on the family-friendly course that is due to start soon.
Other offerings include clay taster workshops, when you would get to sample both wheel throwing and clay sculpting, slip casting and mould-making courses (a fun and easy way to make holiday ornaments!) or an all-out, ‘teach me everything!’ pottery class.
Their new studio is only about 40 minutes outside of London city centre but so well worth the trip...
The Midlands, especially Manchester is a location rich in ceramic materials that continue to be worked today.
Crown Works Pottery
If you didn’t want to travel to Orpington or, for that matter, to the Midlands for pottery classes you may be quite happy to know that there are pottery lessons open to you just east of the heart of London.
This working studio of eight artists offers up their distinctive pottery skills in one-offs, workshops and extended session classes that are open to anyone whether beginner or intermediate.
If you are more advanced but would still like to learn from these masters, they encourage you to contact them so they can tailor their lessons specifically to your needs.
Naturally, they will tailor lessons to all of their students’ needs: understanding the different types of clays: slip, ball clay, fire clay, or kaolin; how to mix them and what each composition is best suited for.
In short, they’re not going to simply sit you in front of a pottery wheel (or hand you an extruder), tell you to get your clay and get on with it. If you’re there to learn about clay arts, you will inevitably learn about clay – not just what you can do with it.
Exploring all of the art studios in and around London, we find that ceramic artists all have one particular trait in common.
They have a passion to beautify the earth one piece of pottery at a time. The fact that they do so with the most elemental materials – earth, water and fire makes their art somehow seem so forthright and so pure.
Doesn’t that make you want to learn what pottery art is all about?
No need to search the web for ‘pottery classes near me’, Superprof makes your life easier with this handy list of London pottery classes.
Pottery Classes in London
|Studio Name||Physical Address||Phone Number||Web Address|
|Parade Mews Pottery||7 Parade Mews Norwood Road, London SE27 9AX||0208 678 1686||www.parademewspottery.co.uk|
|140 Lewisham Way London|
|0208 692 2513||www.shirleystewart.co.uk|
|Ceramics Studio Coop|
Units 14C, 16C, 17C
|Juno Way, London London SE14 5RW||0208 691 6421||www.ceramicsstudio.coop|
|The Clay Room||V22 Priory, Church Hill, Orpington, BR6 0HH||0793 810 2062||www.theclayroomuk.com|
|Crown Works Pottery||11 Crown Works|
|0777 415 5703||www.crownworkspottery.com|
|SkandiHus Pottery||90 De Beauvoir Road|
London N1 4EN
|0778 987 4147||www.skandihus.co.uk|
|Turning Earth E10||11 Argall Ave, Walthamstow, London E10 7QE||0203 325 1912||www.turningearth.org/e10|
|Clay Time||168 Blackstock Road|
|0203 441 8787||www.claytime.london|