Wild clay: Engineering a sustainable and local clay body
Monday to Friday, 24th - 28th August, 9:00 - 12:00 with Anja Slapničar
"Clay. It's rain, dead leaves, dust, all my dead ancestors. Stones that have been ground into sand. Mud. The whole cycle of life and death." - Martine Vermeulen
What is clay, really? It is a combination of the smallest rock particles and leafy sheets, connected by inner forces and water. It is a plastic material. We can take pure clay minerals and add other materials of different sizes and chemical compositions. We can mix together an infinite range of inorganic matter prepared to suit our needs: plasticity, colour, texture, transparency and so on. And the interesting part of it all is that we can source it all around us, locally and under our feet. We try to be sustainable, unique and local.
In this course, you will learn how to develop your own clay body, fire test samples and make and fire small, test pieces. Materials and firing costs are included in this course.
Course will be held in English
Glaze brewery: Sourcing local materials to produce unique glazes
Monday to Friday, 24th to 28th August, 14:00 - 17:00 with Anja Slapničar
At high temperatures glaze can be made out of simple one ingredient: low temperature clay. If we start playing around and start exploring, rocks abundant in Austrian lands like dolomite, limestone or calcium can be added to clay and we get a simple two ingredient glaze. This is just a start. Imagine adding other geology and making glazes can become a never ending story.
In this course, you will learn how to develop your own natural glazes, fire test samples and apply your handmade glaze to a bisque-fired ceramic piece that you have brought to the course or a piece made by Anja. Materials and firing costs are included in this course.
Please bring 3-5 bisque-fired pieces with you. If you have no pieces to bring, please let us know and we make sure Anja has one with her for you.
Time for tea: Teapot making workshop
Saturday and Sunday, 29th and 30th August, 10:00 - 17:00 with Anja Slapničar
We will learn how to build a teapot using a coil building technique. The first part of the workshop will be used to explain different kinds of teapots, teapot parts and their functions. The introduction will also include a discussion about clay, its physics and laws, which we will combine with the physics of water/tea in the teapot. After commenting on these limitations and movement, each will sketch their own teapot. We will then start with building the base and body of the teapot. Depending on each teapot's shape we will adjust our building. In the mean time, whilst the body has been left to partially dry and harden, we will prepare other parts of teapot. On the second day, the body and parts will be ready to be assembled. The second part of the second day will be used for finishing touches, which include fine tuning, details and decoration.
Result: gained knowledge about clay, the coil building technique and teapot making, finished unglazed raw teapot.
Price: €245, including materials and bisque burning cost
Glazing is not included in this course. If you've never glazed before then please book a glazing appointment, otherwise please pick your pieces up once they have been bisque fired!
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I have very clear memories from my childhood, like the picture of me making animals out of mud, playing with plasticine and making figurines from bread dough. I have to thank my grandmother for always trying to do something creative in the time she spent babysitting me. She was a primary school teacher, but she was also very skilled at knitting, drawing and painting. My grandfather was very skilled too. I sometimes helped him to make wind rattlers and helped to paint them.
Both of my parents have a technical degree and my mother is always trying to fix things herself. I was raised in an environment where everyone was making or fixing things. My first pottery class was at age 6 with Niko Golob. I wanted to make a giraffe, but because of the long neck he suggested to make something else: I did a triceratops instead. My art teacher saw my interest in clay in primary school, so she gave me extra time to play with it. My mother suspected I liked clay and eventually enrolled me in another class, this time more serious, at age 17, with Nataša Kokol. At 23 I joined another two classes with Mojca Rabič and decided to buy a pottery wheel. From then on I wanted to spend more and more on a pottery wheel.
Mostly I want to make useful things. Things people use in everyday life. I want people to experience small little moments and make these moments just a bit more special. Therefore I love making tea and coffee cups. These are the cups we use on a daily basis. Cups are very intimate as well; besides touching them with our hands, we also touch them with our lips.
I still haven’t found my way with clay. By that I mean I am still trying many different techniques and materials. I make stoneware and find many inspirations in Japanese ceramics and the Japanese way of living. These ways have lead me to one special type of ceramics: wood-fired.
In 2013 I attended my first workshop for wood-firing under ceramic master Lou Smedts. I would like to specialise in wood-fired ceramics and someday try to build my own wood-fired kiln.