Ceramic glazes – exploring colour with Kyra Cane

Ref: S4D32533

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About this course

Explore how glaze can enhance your ceramic work, by developing an understanding of the use of colour in both low and high temperature glazes. Explore a wide range of different surface qualities and colours.

Course Description

Working with a range of matt and shiny surfaces, you will learn how to create and fire a series of tests to achieve a wide range of different colours, using simple methods that you will be able to repeat yourself. You will be able to choose particular colour ranges to explore either stains or oxides. You will also make, fire and glaze your own sets of handmade clay test pieces, exploring surface qualities relevant to you.

Temperature has an amazing effect on ceramic materials and colours, and experimenting is the best way to begin to develop a language which can enhance the pieces you make. You will be introduced to the complexities of using, programming and firing electric kilns. You will learn to record processes and results, so that you can analyse the results, which will enable you to repeat and use the most successful glazes on your work in the future.

This course is suitable for anyone who would like to develop their general understanding of glaze, colour, surface and its use in ceramic practice. It will enable you to create a personal portfolio of coloured glaze tests, with an understanding of how these can be independently used and applied to both thrown and handbuilt pieces of all kinds.

One of the keys to creating successful ceramic work is the relationship between the final fired surface and the forms you have made. So often, there is a mismatch between these two elements that is difficult to understand. To help you work in a more professional manner, we will unpick numerous possibilities and map out ways forward that will enable you to have more confidence in finding your own range of glaze options.

-You will gain an understanding of the particular qualities of, and differences between, low temperature and high temperature glazes.

-You will gain an understanding of the potential of a range of ceramic colouring agents.

-You will develop the capacity to explore and experiment with a range of ceramic materials to produce different coloured glazes and surfaces.

-You will increase your understanding of using, firing and programming electric kilns.

-You will develop a critical approach to the analysis of ceramic surface and finish.

By the end of the course, you will have a collection of test pieces made in series, which explore a range of fired surfaces that can be used by you in the future, and a technical notebook/file which provides knowlege and a resource from which you can develop your future ceramic work.


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


  • All glaze materials, and small test tiles made by the tutor are provided in the course fee.
  • Clay and raw dry materials will be provided by the college for shared use.

What students need to bring

  • Two to three pieces of work that you have previously made and glazed (actual pieces, please)
  • Please bring any glazing tools you already have, including: fine/dense/special sponges or scalpels (do not go and buy anything specifically), a fine paint brush, pencils, a sketchbook/notebook to record and keep notes in, a fine permanent marker, a small box e.g. a shoe box, and some type of camera or tablet, if you like to record activities and results using this.
  • Overalls and an old towel
  • Optional: please bring up to three items with glaze faults/problems

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, scalpel (basic pottery tools are provided for use)
  • A fine paint brush
  • A selection of all art materials
  • Natural sponge

Additional information

Glaze firing: Any work left at the college for a glaze firing must be collected within six months of the email notifying you that it is ready for collection. Alternatively, you are free to take away unfired pieces for firing elsewhere. 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.


Kyra Cane

Kyra Cane studied Ceramics at Camberwell College of Arts, she has taught and examined on numerous courses, notably Harrow Ceramics, University of Westminster. Her work is exhibited in national and international galleries. She has written a book about Making and Drawing and is currently Chair of the Craft Potters Charitable Trust.


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.