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Plymouth College of Art - 10 Week Ceramic Surface Decoration for Beginners

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Plymouth College of Art

Tavistock Place



United Kingdom

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10 week Ceramic Surface Decoration for Beginners

This course is aimed at people interested in learning and developing skills in the surface decoration of ceramics. Throughout the course you will learn and experience some of the many ways surfaces can be decorated. You will get the chance to create decorated ceramic objects and test pieces. Sessions are a mixture of tutor-led talks, demonstrations, experimentation with ceramic materials, design work, one-to-one support and sharing/communicating with peers.

Although you will build ceramic objects to decorate, this is not primarily a course to learn the finer details of creating 3D objects. Learners are encouraged to develop at their own rate through practicing tutor-led tasks, but some interim deadlines will be required to get objects dried and fired in time. The schedule is subject to change if the firing schedule needs to be altered. This course is suitable for those looking to expand their decorative repertoire, as well at those who have little or no ceramics experience. Most weeks you’ll start the lesson with a surface decoration technique and end by preparing objects to use the following week.

Location: Plymouth College of Art, Tavistock Place

Start Time: 18:00

End Time: 21:00

Start Date: 19/09/17

End Date: 28/11/17

Day: Tuesday

Fee: £220

Course Content

Week 1

Things are not always what they seem...

A crash course in ceramic tech basics – building, drying & firing; materials, colours, their preparation and uses. We’ll look at some finished objects too and decode how their surfaces were decorated.

Shapes and nets:

This week will also focus on drawing patterns and decorations to apply to ceramic objects in the next few weeks.

Week 2

Raw Decoration: Loosening up with Slips

Decorating unfired ceramic dishes using coloured liquid clays by painting, pouring and trailing.

Week 3

Raw decoration: More fun with slips

Finish your pieces from last week, leave them to dry, and learn more ways to use this decorative medium including stamping, printing and scraffito.

Week 4:

It’s all about touch!

This week is about texture rather than colour. You’ll cut, carve, poke, pinch and press to create a different type of surface decoration. We’ll add a bit of colour later in the course.

Week 5:

Raw decoration: Print, photolithography and collage
This week you’ll learn how to transfer images onto clay. Bring in images as specified in the previous class.

Week 6:

‘Cooked’ decoration: Underglaze:

With some pieces out of the first ‘bisque’ firing, you’ll start planning and executing the next layer of decoration – applying painted designs ready for glazing.

Week 7:

This week we’ll cover our creations in a powdery glaze… Bring your camera to record some serious before and after shots!

Week 8:

This week we’ll add another layer of decoration on top of a powdery base, think classic blue and white.

Week 9:


After a second firing some objects will be ready for yet another layer of decoration! This time OVER the top of the shiny glazed surface… Lustre and enamels for a bit of bling…

Week 10:

Loose ends & more overglaze:
A chance to finish anything you’re not quite done with, in particular painting some more with overglaze enamels and lustres.

Evaluation of course, a chance to see everyone’s finished objects, reflect on learner achievement and progression, most importantly… Celebration!

You will be able to collect any outstanding fired works approximately 3 weeks after the courses finishes.

Entry Requirements

None. This course is suitable for both beginners and improvers.

Materials and Equipment

You will need to bring a sketchbook, pencils, pens, and watercolour brushes. Bring any other drawing equipment you might like to use in your design work. Bring old newspapers to share and magazines or printed out pictures for inspiration. On the first week bring along any decorated ceramic object from home. Don’t worry, we won’t be destroying them.

You may also benefit from having a google account so that handouts can be sent through the google drive, can also email them if required. Ultimately if you have neither an email address or a google account then hard copy handouts can be provided, think of the trees though!

Please note that all courses are subject to student numbers and will only run if sufficient numbers are achieved. Plymouth College of Art reserves the right to cancel a course if insufficient student numbers are recruited.

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Plymouth College of Art

Tavistock Place



United Kingdom

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