Porcelain paper clay – botanical casts and impressions with Lucy Cobb

Ref: S2D13503

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2 places available

About this course

You will work with the plants from the sublime walled garden at West Dean to create casts and printed impressions in porcelain paper clay.

Course Description

On this course, you will learn how to use porcelain paper clay as a casting slip and the clay body. This clay is a porcelain body, combined with flax, which creates a unique structure. The principle of this clay is an ancient one, used in clay bricks (raw clay mixed with straw), documented as far back as the Bible. It is equally a very contemporary and innovative clay.

You will work with the plants from the walled garden that was established in at West Dean in 1804, taking casts of the plants, seed pods and leaves by dipping and painting the porcelain paper clay on the outside, which will then burn away in the firing, leaving a positive of the plant in porcelain.

You will also roll leaves and plants into the porcelain paper clay to take an impression and textures that can be constructed into tiles or panels. These can be made paper thin, so that, once fired, they appear translucent through the light. Alternatively, they can be rolled out thicker, so that they may be used as tiles or fragments that can be joined and layered together.

The work will be fired to stoneware temperatures and the flax in the paper clay will burn away during the firing, so that the pieces will be lighter and thinner.

After the pieces have been fired, the work will be available to collect from the College at a later date.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the College will supply some of the materials, including: the clay, the plants from the garden and tools.The cost of clay/glazing materials and firing costs of work made are also included – large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.

What students need to bring

  • Sketch book
  • Pencils/pens
  • Apron
  • Any personal pottery tools that you like to use
  • Organic dried plants and seeds, if you have access to some
  • Camera to document work

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Paper and sketchbooks
  • Pottery tools
  • Paint brushes
  • Drawing equipment

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified. Firing and glazing options: 1. Leave your most successful raw, finished pieces for biscuit firing at the College for collection within six months. 2. Take away your unfired pieces for firing and glazing elsewhere.


Lucy Cobb

Lucy studied Sculpture and Ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art. She then established 'Radio', gallery and project space in Berlin. Apprenticed at North Street Pottery, where she now works.
Making for Michelin star restaurants and for their shop. Teaches at Clapham Pottery, Heatherley's School of Fine Art and Chestnut Grove Academy.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

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.