Running a pottery workshop

Out for dinner one night with a friend she mentioned she’d come across people locally offering art classes and asked if I’d thought about offering pottery workshops in my little cabin. My friend thought my cabin space would be the ideal place for people to make something beautiful with their hands, get away from it all and escape busy lives filled with technology and set schedules.

I’d never considered doing a workshop I’m usually so busy making or sharing my journey with clay via tutorials on my Youtube channel, I’d never stopped to think why I was not sharing my journey with others in person.

To workshop or not to workshop, that is the question.  

There’s a big difference between doing a class on YouTube- I can edit the bits I mess up and doing a class in person.  I did mull this over for a bit then decided to challenge myself.

I wanted to start with something small and so designed a Porcelain Christmas Decorations workshop.  I’d recommend getting a pad and sketching out ideas of what you’d like customers to make, fortunately, I already had many Christmas ornament shapes, snowflakes, stars, trees, baubles cutters that attendees could use however I decided to invest in other shapes including a jumper shape.

With more people in my cabin I also needed some more ware boards and rolling pins.  Boards are easy to make, nip down to your local hardware store and grab some MDF and ask them to cut it to the board dimensions you require.

I did run through the class from start to finish to make sure I could deliver clear and concise instruction.  I wanted the workshop to feel personal, cosy and unique, my cabin is a small space and each class would have only 2 people per class.

Running the workshop

On the day of the workshop it was time to take a deep breath.  Everything was set up with a few mince pies, cakes and a glass of prosecco.

I absolutely loved the demonstration, my clients picked up making the decorations very quickly and all enjoyed a break from their busy lives.  Helping others to enjoy the therapeutic feeling of touching soft and wet clay in their hand is so rewarding to watch.  At times there was lots of chatter followed by the silence of concentration.

Post Workshop

My clients thoroughly enjoyed the 2.5 hours they spent making in the cabin.  Of course, it didn’t end there for me.  After the pieces had dried for a week they went into the kiln for a bisque firing, then were individually decoration with transparent glaze before being glaze fired.

If you plan on running a pottery workshop be sure to factor this time into your pricing.  I must admit I was a little nervous at each stage of the firing process, but all turned out well.

Everyone made beautiful Christmas decorations, especially impressive as they had never worked with clay before.  I was super impressed!

Many made the decorations for friends and family some of the decorations were personalised making them extra special.

To workshop or not…again

The experience taught me to challenge myself and I’m so glad I did. My customers experienced the same excitement and enthusiasm I gain from making something with my hands as well as the peace and tranquillity from having to focus the mind.

I loved holding the workshop and plan to offer a selection of different classes throughout 2020.