Plaster of Paris, cellulose technique wall plaque with Miranda Forrest

Ref: S1D31985

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About this course

Make a relief wall plaque depicting foliage gathered from West Dean Gardens, using a technique which mixes cellulose with Plaster of Paris to enable easier handling and versatility to the material.

Course Description

This creative course gives you the opportunity to make your own relief wall plaque depicting foliage gathered from West Dean Gardens. You will learn the skill of how to mix and work plaster as well as the benefits of incorporating cellulose.

Plaster of Paris is a versatile material; historically it has been used for decorative ceilings and picture frames and used to cast replicas of sculptures. Plaster is the base for fresco paintings. In the ceramics industry it is used to make moulds for slip casting, at art school this was an integral part of the curriculum.

As a ceramic artist, working with her environment, clay is the primary material used in Miranda’s practice, however, plaster has long been a tool in the making of her ceramics; She uses it for drop moulds and formers as part of her process of hand building with clay. Canadian ceramic artist Trudy Golly introduced her to the benefits of adding cellulose to plaster and it transformed her use of plaster; it became a material she liked working with rather than a necessary means to an end. The wet plaster is easier to work. The strength is increased so less plaster is used and the finished piece is much lighter and finer, so easier to handle.

This course will provide practical knowledge to enable further development in your own work practice, or just provide you with a new skill. No previous experience in plasterwork is needed.

Also explained, and if time allows demonstrated, is how to;

Make a direct plaster impression

Make a simple positive and negative mould

Make a simple drop mould


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all of the materials.
  • Plaster of Paris, mould makers size (soft soap), vegetable oil, string, cellulose (toilet roll), reclaimed clay, foliage from West Dean Garden.

What students need to bring

  • An apron and a notebook/pen.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Hand tools (these are also available for use in the pottery)

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Miranda Forrest

Miranda Forrest has been a potter all her working life. When she moved to South Uist, Outer Hebrides in 1999 she started to explore incorporating locally found materials in her work. This became the subject of her book Natural Glazes: Collecting and Making, published by Bloomsbury in 2013.

Courses of interest

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Tutor: Jo Taylor |

Paper sculpture – cut, fold, construct

9 to 15 Aug 2024 | West Dean
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Tutor: Richard Sweeney |
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Porcelain – throwing and turning

22 to 25 Jul 2024 | West Dean
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Tutor: Jo Davies |

Modelling ceramic animals

4 to 7 Jul 2024 | West Dean
1 place available
Tutor: Alison Pink |
Suitable for all

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.