It doesn’t have to be perfect. When you’re starting out this is the most important question you can ask: is it alive, and are you pleased to have made it.
We run a beginner’s class. We thought about calling it something other than ‘the beginner’s class’, but decided that being a beginner is such a positive, spacious place to be in, with all the possibilities and energy that starting out can bring, we kept the name.
The course consists of six two-and-a-half hour classes. They take place weekly. Each session you will get to make at least one pot, sometimes more. We teach techniques which you can then apply to your own creation. We offer as much or as little technical support as you want. We sit together in a small group and all work at our own pace talking or sharing or remaining silent. There’s a good atmosphere where people are encouraged to explore and develop their relationship with clay.
We usually divide each beginner’s course into three sections: handbuilding, wheelthrowing, and glazing.
With handbuilding we are practising techniques like pinching, coiling and slabbing. There’s an instant, grounding connection with the clay, where we can concentrate upon our relationship to the material, noticing how it responds, what its limits are, and sensing our own boundaries, thoughts and feelings as we make something new.
Wheelthrowing is immediate in a different kind of way. You’re learning new techniques, gestures, ideas, and learning to be present to the clay and to yourself in a whole new way. It’s possible to throw a pot in a short space of time – or to take your time. Again, with as much or as little help as you want.
These two aspects of working with clay, handbuilding and wheelthrowing, take up five of the six classes. The proportion of one to the other can be flexible depending on what participants prefer.
If you’re mainly interested in wheelthrowing there is a beginner’s course devoted entirely to this.
Once you’ve made your pots, they will be put on the drying racks and air-dried until they are ready to go into the kiln for their bisque (first) firing.
The last class is an opportunity to glaze the pots that you have made. You’ll learn basic glazing techniques, hear a bit about what glaze is and how it works, and have a choice of glazes which will be explained at the time and will depend on what we’ve got available.
Once your pots are glazed we will fire them again, at glaze temperature this time. For reference, rock melts between 700 and 900 degrees C. Our stoneware fires at over 1200 degrees C. So your pots will be briefly hotter than lava.
There is something magical about a pot you have made yourself, especially if a few short weeks ago you thought of yourself as someone who couldn’t make a pot. And now it is in your hands, surprising, as if you caught a meteorite.
We want you to be pleased with the pots that you have made. They are high fired stoneware and are food safe. You should usually be ok putting them in the dishwasher and the microwave too. Though it will depend on the design of the finished piece. If you look after them in the normal way they should last for many years.
Some T&C’s: please read.
The cost of this course per person is an all inclusive £180. This is payable on booking and we are not able to offer refunds. We are flexible on attendance. If you have to miss a class or two, we can usually reorganise the sessions so you get what you paid for. If you book a place on a course then decide to rebook for another course later in the year instead, we can accommodate this too. Courses are run three to four times a week on roughly an eight week cycle so there should be room for everyone though people do book in advance so please remember we are a small dedicated team. We will always try to answer contacts as quickly as possible. We apologise if there is a lag, or occasionally a tumbleweed silence. We will answer your query as soon as we can.
Sylwia’s classes have been described as ‘perfection verging on professional insanity’. Here you have an open-ended opportunity to grow as a potter, with greater flexibility and as much technical support and encouragement as you want or need. It’s not a membership scheme, the classes have fixed times, but you’re free to book whichever classes you want, subject to availability.
There are all sorts of opportunities for you to develop your practice as a potter with us, whatever level you feel you’re at. If you’ve got some prior experience of pottery, once you’ve shaken hands with the clay on a beginner’s course, for example, you’re welcome to enrol for our studio classes. You’ll be able to devise your own projects and pursue your own learning goals. We’ll create the space and provide all the materials, facilities and support that you will need to see your ideas through from start to finish. They are group sessions where each participant works on their own pots at their own pace. Sometimes one pot takes shape over several sessions or numerous get completed all in one go – it depends on what you’ve got in mind. There are size limitations on materials and kiln-space but within that there is plenty of leeway for your creativity.
Studio classes are available to buy in blocks of six. You can opt for wheelthrowing or handbuilding or half an half. Booking is flexible. Each week places are allocated in each session on a first come first served basis. You don’t have to commit to a particular night of the week regularly, you’re free to adapt to your changing diary requirements.
The cost of a block of six Studio Classes is £150 for handbuilding, £200 for wheelthrowing and £180 for half & half.
One Off Wheelthrowing Workshops
We can offer flexible one-off workshops to small groups, families or individuals. Maybe you want to simply try a bit of wheelthrowing, or give someone you love a go on the wheel as a gift. This workshop comprises a detailed, informative wheelthrowing tutorial followed by lots of individual practice with as much or as little help and support as you want. Most participants end up with two pots, the seed of a new skill, and some happy memories.
Once you’ve thrown your pots they will be dried, trimmed, glazed and fired, a process that you can expect to take a good couple of weeks, sometimes longer depending upon the firing schedule and how busy the studio is. Most of the time you’ll get your pots back within one month. They’ll be high-fired stoneware, dishwasher, food and microwave safe, and with a little care should remain fit for purpose for many years.
Prices start at £150 for three hours for up to three people. For a maximum of five participants it’s an extra £50 per participant.
We sell vouchers for classes and courses. They can be made out for the cost of a class or course in its entirety or in part. They make great gifts, from individuals or groups, for a birthday, Christmas, to celebrate an anniversary or a retirement, whatever the occasion. Buying one is easy. You pay for it by bank transfer or Paypal, and we email you a voucher as a pdf that you can print out and put in a card. To get started please get in touch.
For birthdays, hen or stag weekends, a pottery workshop is an opportunity to do something memorable, sociable and fun, time for you and your friends to have an enriching experience in a positive atmosphere, and of course make yourselves some pots. We can welcome larger groups of up to about 12, sometimes a couple more, for handbuilding parties. You can of course book for wheelthrowing as well but at a maximum of five participants at a time. Prices vary, available upon request.
We can host your teambuilding workshop. When you bring your colleagues together to work as a group on their own clay projects it creates a special atmosphere and promotes interpersonal growth. It’s also a great way to relax and experience working relationships in a different context. We can accommodate groups of up to 12 participants, more at a squeeze. Prices vary, available upon request.
Mud Station isn’t a ‘production pottery’. We make small batches of our own signature pots and as we are typically a busy teaching studio we spend a lot of our time facilitating other people’s engagement with clay. We do however take small commissions from time to time. If you’ve got an idea for a piece you’d like us to make for you please feel free to get in touch, though be aware that we reserve the right to decline requests and we don’t work to deadlines.
We offer a consultation service – for example if you want detailed professional advice on an aspect of ceramic art, like glaze chemistry, or throwing larger forms. Sessions are tailored to individual needs. Prices available upon request.