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Slow Clay Centre Beginners Wheel Pottery Classes

Slow Clay Centre is highly regarded as one of Australia’s leading ceramic schools. Established in 2012 by respected ceramic artist and educator, Jane Sawyer, Slow Clay Centre has influenced many thousands of people who have joined our centre for pottery classes and workshops.

Our community: Our students range from beginners to aspiring ceramic artists, many whose career we have helped launch! Professional ceramic artists often return to attend our unique higher-level workshops and our teachers are committed, established ceramic artists, passionate educators and all round amazing people! Our founder is Jane Sawyer, a professional exhibiting ceramic artist and educator for over 40 years and member of the International Academy of Ceramics. We are specialists in ceramic art and pottery education and offer a nurturing, supportive and deeply developmental pathway from total beginners to advanced professionals. Together we make a vibrant and welcoming community and we aim to give you the best experience learning ceramics.

What we do: We do not offer step-by-step product-based workshops. Please go somewhere else (or YouTube!) if you want to make something that someone else has designed! Instead, our carefully structured curriculum provides a sound educational framework for creative enquiry, exploration, play and development and encourages an individual approach whist catering for requisite knowledge and technical skill acquisition.

Our classes range from Pottery Wheel, Hand Building (Form & Surface), Porcelain, Glaze Development, history and theory and many more. We cover much more than just the potter’s wheel but no matter which area you enter we encourage a broad approach to cover all areas before you start to specialise.

Slow Clay method (TM): Pottery techniques (whether hand building or wheel) go back centuries and were passed down through generation after generation as they developed to ensure the most economic use of physical movements and expressive competencies. Our Slow Clay ™ method of teaching the wheel is based on the Japanese production throwing techniques that owner/director, Jane Sawyer , studied as an apprentice potter (first in Australia with Andrew Halford and also in Japan with Shussai-Gama). Jane has added her experience as an experienced art teacher to this background and has enhanced and refined the techniques she learnt. The goal is to make them suitable for beginners to ensure ergonomic best-practice and provide a solid foundation for personal expression and confidence with clay. All Slow Clay Centre teachers of the wheel are trained in this method to ensure consistency and continuity and Jane also offers teacher training to others who wish to use the Slow Clay ™ method. (Please enquire if you wish to be trained and approved to teach our method!)

Weekly classes: We offer three different but fully complementary foundational courses where students attend weekly for an 8-week term. Terms are repeated 4 terms per year and students can dive deep into one area or move between the classes so they get a broad experience.

  1. Our unique Slow Clay(tm) method for teaching the pottery wheel (as described above)
  2. Our established Form & Surface course for teaching hand-building and sculptural work
  3. Our seductive Porcelain Small Objects course for experiencing the unique and delicate material of porcelain.

These three foundational courses are developmental in nature and continuing students are given priority to book for the following term. We love to see our students develop and know it takes time!

Workshops: We offer an extensive variety of workshops and events throughout the year including a summer and winter school for advanced students, private group classes, one-to-one mentoring, corporate, team building  and short workshops. We pride ourselves on offering a strong connection to professional artists through a rich variety of guest artist workshops, educational forums and panel discussions for the higher level student. We cater mostly for adults, but are also committed to our popular children’s after school and holiday classes so everyone can start young and learn the art of working with clay!

We are based in a purpose-designed, intimate and welcoming inner-city location in Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia. The Slow Clay team (see below) includes a range of professional ceramic artists and experienced graduate teachers, many recognised leaders in their field. Together they create a vibrant community of enthusiasts.

Welcome to Slow Clay Centre where you can set your own pace, explore widely and develop deeply!

We invite you join our monthly  to keep up to date with enrolment options and to share our passion for and addiction to clay!

“The thing I love most about Slow Clay is the wonderful opportunity to work alongside practicing Ceramic artists who are so willing to share their own knowledge and experience with students. Slow Clay operates with excellent studio practice in terms of cleanliness, quality clays and timely and efficient firings. Thank you all!” (name supplied) 

Our Studio

Our studio is a purpose-renovated warehouse located in the heart of Collingwood, close to the city centre and accessible by public transport. We have consciously designed the interior to be both a practical, comfortable work-space and a delight for the eyes, knowing that our visual world impacts on how we feel creatively. Our equipment includes a wheel throwing room with 12 x latest model Venco (Australian made!) electronic drive wheels, a hand building room with extruders and a slab-roller, a prep/clean-up room with wedging tables, glaze station and recycling station and a kiln room with electric kilns fired on 100% green energy. We also have a courtyard for outdoor activities and bike parking! Our beautiful space is small but perfect in every way and we are so happy to share it with you!

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