Coiling for pots or sculpture with Jo Taylor

Ref: S3D31307

About this course

Explore coiling as a handbuilding method to create pots or sculpture and decorate your works using sprigs (small decorative clay additions) and a range of slip decorating techniques.

Course Description

Coiling has been used as a method for building pots small and large for thousands of years, and is used by some of the best known contemporary makers in the UK such as Grayson Perry, Kate Malone and Dame Magdalene Odundo. It is a method which can be adapted to make sculpture, both abstract or representational. This course is ideal for mixed abilities; for complete beginners, or for improvers wishing to enhance their skills or find an opportunity to increase scale using the clay working facilities available at West Dean.

Jo is an experienced tutor who will demonstrate techniques and discuss your individual aims so that you can choose an approach that suits you best and work to your own personal goals. The making process will cover design decisions and construction with focus on form, functionality, scale and decoration. You will complete several pieces as works are made in tandem, which allows one to dry a little whilst another is being worked on.

You will be able to experiment with a number of decorative techniques using sprigs and coloured slips and your work will be fired and clear glazed for you by the technician (if required).

The learning aim is to progress your skills and complete a small group of functional or decorative works with expert guidance. The other aim is to enjoy the process, atmosphere and learning.

During the first evening the group will meet and the tutor will introduce the course and inspire you with a presentation; the first day will focus on design and construction; the second on further construction and decorative techniques; the third on completing decoration before finishing at 3pm.

Course Materials


  • The cost of clay/glazing materials and firing costs of work made – large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.

What students need to bring

  • Overalls/apron (preferably cotton or laminated fabric)
  • Old towel
  • Books of interest/images sketches and inspiration for your work
  • Sketchbook and pencil

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, pottery knife
  • Rough paper or sketchbook and pencil
  • Natural sponge

Additional information

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


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)

General Information


Jo Taylor portrait

Jo Taylor

Jo studied at Bath Spa University gaining Ceramics BA, MA & teacher training qualifications. An experienced tutor, Jo regularly teaches from beginners to MA students. A member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, her work is exhibited internationally in shows such as COLLECT at the Saatchi gallery.


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

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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.