OwlWith new classes starting last week I’ve been thinking about how I introduce people to clay.  While it can be a technical and highly skilled pursuit I do believe it can be introduced in such a way that even those touching clay for the first time can make something that surprises them. I believe the best way to learn is to work with the clay so in the first session, in addition to introducing the basics of what clay is, I get students straight into making, starting with a refined pinch pot technique. From this they make something like an owl, dog or decorative sphere.  Week two is a decorative box and weeks three and four are coiling a vase or bowl allowing students to quickly feel like they’ve made something beautiful and worthy of putting on display at home.Drying pieces All of this is helped by the right clay.  I use Potterycrafts Raku clay and I love it!  It’s a lightly grogged stoneware clay which makes it strong and, a nice forgiving clay for beginners. It has a wide firing range and fires to a buff colour making it great for exploring glazing and decorating techniques.  I use it for all my own work so it is also a clay I am very familiar with so I have a very good idea of how far it can be pushed.

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