Slow Clay Centre Beginners Wheel Pottery Classes

Slow Clay Centre specialises in ceramic art and pottery education and offers a developmental pathway from total beginners to advanced professionals. Our carefully structured curriculum provides an educational framework for creative enquiry and exploration and encourages an individual approach whist catering for requisite knowledge and technical skill development.

Pottery wheel techniques go back centuries and were passed down through generations as they developed to ensure the most economic use of physical movements and expressive competencies. Our Slow Clay ™ method of teaching is based on the production throwing techniques that owner/director, Jane Sawyer , studied as an apprentice potter in Japan in the 1980s. Jane has added her experience as a qualified teacher to this background and has enhanced and refined the techniques for beginners to ensure ergonomic best-practice and provide a solid foundation for personal expression and confidence with clay. This Slow Clay ™ method for teaching the wheel to beginners has been taught and refined by Jane over thirty years. All Slow Clay Centre teachers of the wheel are trained in the 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 also 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 Team

Jane Sawyer Slow Clay Centre Tutor

Jane Sawyer

Jane is the director of Slow Clay Centre and has practiced as a ceramic artist and teacher for nearly thirty years. Her initial training as an art teacher led to further specialist training as an apprentice to Andrew Halford in ...
Pilar Rojas

Pilar Rojas

Pilar Rojas comes to our team with a rich ceramics background having lived in several countries learning, teaching and practicing ceramics ...
Erinn McAlpine

Erinn McAlpine

Erinn's patient and encouraging approach ensures students learn and expand on their current capabilities in a supported and caring environment ...
Kim Martin

Kim Martin

Kim Martin holds a Master of Arts and is a practising artist, teacher, curator, competition judge, freelance writer and critic ...
Alana Casey

Alana Casey

Alana is a practising ceramic artist and a qualified teacher and takes Beginner's wheel classes and our Clay Club for kids ...
Sabrina Talarico

Sabrina Talarico

Sabrina is Slow Clay's all round art administrator, video producer and "Italian mama" ...
Prue Venables

Prue Venables

Prue is renowned the world over as an exhibiting ceramic artist and designer. She specialises in porcelain and rich glazes and her sophisticated, clean forms are meticulously finished, revealing strong modernist influences and a hint of the industrial. Prueʼs early experiences with ...

Joshua Rowell

Josh brings over 20 years of experience to Slow Clay Centre and is a passionate wood-firer and sculptor ...
Mary-Lou Pittard

Mary-Lou Pittard

Mary-lou Pittard has been involved with ceramics as a maker, teacher and exhibitor for over 30 years ...
Claire Ellis

Claire Ellis

Claire is passionate about sustainability and teaches our Beginner's Wheel classes ...

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!