How can we help you?
Here are some of the common questions we get asked on a regular basis, we hope these FAQs will be useful. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, then drop us a quick email and we’ll get back to you as quick as we can.
Can I book a place on the adult casual sessions?
The adult casual sessions are bookable via the link on our home page. We aim to give everyone whatever support they need as the class goes along. We have a friendly bunch of regular makers, as well as hobbyists and complete beginners and it’s a lovely creative, productive atmosphere in the studio. Sometimes if it’s busy you might have to wait a little while for one of our tutors to get you going, but once everyone is settled you should get plenty of help and support.
Are the casual sessions suitable for beginners?
Yes, the casual sessions are suitable for all abilities.
Can I bring a child to the casual sessions?
Sorry, adults only in the casual sessions. If you want to book us for a private session then age is not an issue, but please do let us know in advance who will be coming and any particular needs you may have so that we can prepare.
How busy are the casual sessions?
It’s hard to tell how busy the sessions will be, however at the moment we limit the numbers to 12 people in these sessions, and there are two tutors. Sometimes if it’s busy you might have to wait a little while for a tutor to get you started, but once everyone is settled there’s plenty of help and support.
How much are your firing fees?
The first (biscuit) firing costs typically £2 to £4 for a pot about the size of your fist. The second (glaze) firing would typically be £5 to £7. These costs cover the cost of the clay, electricity, wear and tear on the kiln, the colours and glazes and the time it takes to pack and unpack the kiln.
What can I make in the sessions?
Clayspace is a professional ceramics studio with potter’s wheels, handbuilding and sculpture equipment and tools and a very wide range of glazes and colours. In the past, people have made everything from tableware and sculpture to wall tiles and jewellery. You can come to us with ideas we can help you realise, or just with a desire to get your hands dirty and see what happens. We’ve got lots of fun stuff you can use to make textures and shapes and our helpful tutors are very knowledgeable and passionate about all things ceramic.
How long does it take to make a pot?
You could easily make at least a couple of small/medium pots in a casual session, depending of course on the size, style and complexity of what you want to make. Typically you’ll need to come to at least a couple of sessions to complete all the different processes though.
What are the different stages in making and firing a pot?
- Whilst the clay is soft, you can throw (on the potter’s wheel), pinch, roll out, coil, sculpt or model the clay.
- When the clay is partially dry (cheese or leather hard) you can continue to work on your pots. At this stage you can trim excess clay from the foot of a thrown pot (turning) or continue to build a coil pot taller, or refine surfaces and add handles etc.
- Your finished work is thoroughly dried before the first (biscuit) firing. The drying process can take anywhere between 2 days and 2 weeks, and the firing and cooling takes up to 2 days.
- Glaze can now be added to the pot, either by painting or dipping and then the pot is dried again, then the kiln is fired for another 48 hours. The finished work will be food/dishwasher safe and robust and functional.
How long do you keep my pots?
At the end of each session you’ll put any unfinished pots in our “work in progress” room, and when they’ve dried to the next working stage (cheese or leather hard) we’ll wrap them up for you with your name label stuck to the bag.
Then the next time you come in they should be perfect to finish, and then you can get them biscuit fired. Any unfinished pots will stay in the “work in progress” room for the whole of that 6 week term.
If you haven’t managed to get back to us by the end of that 6 week block, we’ll move your pots onto a special shelf so that they don’t get mixed up with more recent work. They’ll spend the following 6 weeks on this shelf, getting dryer and more unworkable as time goes on.
At the end of the second six week block, they’ll be unworkable and we’ll recycle the clay.
So in total we keep your unfired pots for a minimum of 7 weeks, and up to 12 weeks.
Biscuit and glaze fired pots
We keep fired pots for approximately 4 months. If we don’t sort the shelves out regularly we just run lout of space.
When pots come out of the biscuit firing we put them into crates with the month written on the side, ready for you to find and glaze when you come for your session.
It’s a good idea to take photos of your pots as you make them so that we can help you find them.
After glaze firing we put finished pots on the display shelves for you to collect. You can pop in to collect finished pots during any of the casual sessions, you don’t need to book, but we appreciate it if you can leave it until any time after the first half hour of sessions, so that everyone has settled into their projects.
We hate to throw your beautiful pots away so we’ll pick out some of the most saleable “unloved” ones to sell to help raise funds for our studio. We’ll glaze some of the unloved biscuit fired pots in our recycled glaze, and sell them at affordable prices whenever we’re having a studio sale.
What if I want something more structured than a drop-in session?
You could either sign up for one of our 6-week Introduction to Ceramics courses, or book a private class.
How does the private class work?
These sessions are suitable for all abilities, from complete beginners up to competent potters who need a little specialist information and advice. The class would be completely tailored to your needs, so you could have some tuition on the potter’s wheel, try some hand building or sculpture or even a combination of techniques. It’s all good.
We have a zero waste policy in the studio, and any pots you don’t want to keep can be completely recycled and the clay will be used again, so you can make as a many pieces as you like in the session and then just choose your best masterpieces.
Your pots then need a day or two before they’re ready to be trimmed and tidied up, and at least a week before they’re dry enough to be “biscuit fired”. The firing takes 24 hours to gently heat your pots to 1000 degrees and for the kiln to cool.
Then they’re ready to be decorated, so you could come back and glaze them yourselves, or we could trim, biscuit fire, glaze and glaze fire them with your choice of colours and either arrange to post them to you or box them up ready for collection.
We don’t live very close, can you finish our pots off for us?
We can finish, trim, biscuit fire and glaze fire your work for you, box it up and post it to you. We can give you an idea of costs when you make your booking.
Can I buy a gift voucher?
Yes we’d be happy to provide you with some vouchers, they can be for any amount you like, and can be spent flexibly across any of our classes and courses.
To give you an idea of our prices, an adult casual two hour session costs £15, a one hour one-to-one private class costs £35 and a 6 week introduction to ceramics course costs £150, plus there’s a small materials and firing fee for any treasures that you’d want to keep (typically about £5-9 for a small/medium pot).
The person who receives the voucher can get in touch with us when they’re ready and book a class or session at a mutually convenient time.
We can take payment by bank transfer and send you a printable voucher. Or you can organise a time to collect a printed voucher from us in the studio and pay by card or cash.
I’ve made some ceramics at home - can you fire them for me?
Yes, we’ll need to know the name of the clay, and preferably a photo of the label so that we know what temperature it fires to. If you don’t have this information then we’ll need a coin sized piece of clay to test fire first.
We’ll also need to know the name of the glaze, and a photograph of the label, or a test piece to test fire first.
We won’t fire any work until we know exactly what the clay and the glazes are, as we’ve had some disastrous meltdowns in the past!
Our students’ work takes priority in the firing schedule, and generally it’ll take two weeks to fire work for you if you are happy with our standard temperatures, and a little longer if you need a special temperature, or if you’ve brought a lot of work.
We generally bisque fire to 1000 degrees, earthenware fire to 1050 and stoneware fire to 1250, but we do have potters who need other temperatures here and there too, so sometimes it’s possible to share a kiln.
A whole kiln will cost £35 in the 60 litre kiln, or £45 in the 130 litre kilns, or a portion of that if you’re sharing a kiln. It’s fine just to bring one pot.
You can just turn up during any of these times whilst our casual sessions are running:
Thursday 10.30-11.30, 1.30-2.30, 6.30-7.30pm
But it’s best to check our website or social media before you set off as we work on 6 week terms and close in school holidays.