Raku – throwing, decorating and firing with Tim Andrews

Ref: S6D29863

About this course

An exciting week divided between improving making skills with an emphasis on wheel throwing and the dynamic process of raku firing. Develop your technical abilities and artistic sensibilities when making and finishing pieces for raku ceramics.

Course Description

The first evening will be an informal session and introduction. The first full day will be spent making some small pieces of work (roughly 25cm x 20cm maximum) – either thrown on a wheel or hand built, to suit your needs. The tutor will punctuate the day with demonstrations of some of his own throwing and making techniques. The second day will be spent finishing the making and various burnishing techniques will be used on the pieces made on the course, with making to be finished by 6pm.

From the range of pieces you make, a maximum of five suitable pieces will be selected to be dried and bisque-fired in readiness for raku firing during the course. The tutor will provide an additional three pieces, already bisque-fired, with which you can experiment – and you are encouraged, if possible, to bring a further three bisque-fired pieces (which makes a maximum of 11 pieces in all for firing). You will be tutored in several glazing techniques but the emphasis will be on Tim's resist slip firing method.

The final three days will be spent preparing the raku kiln, glazing, decorating and firing. The aim will be to gain an understanding of the various processes and how to use them creatively and safely. Firing techniques will be carefully explained and you will participate in several exciting and dynamic firings in two or three different raku kilns. Raku is by nature unpredictable – it's what makes it exciting, but you should go home with a small number of finished pieces along with a greater understanding of the process, the pitfalls, and the triumphs.

Each part of the course will begin with a demonstration of the tutor’s methods followed by hands-on activity under guidance. Each stage of the process will be clearly described and some notes provided, along with glaze recipes etc. You are also encouraged to keep your own notes.

Everyone should leave the course with a basic understanding of the methods, having hopefully been enthused to pursue and develop their own work in a personal way. During the week there will be presentations aimed at broadening your experience of making and offering an insight into other makers' approaches.

PLEASE NOTE: Raku firing is a very physical activity, and all students are expected to help with this part of the process. Also the course takes place on two sites: the ceramics studio in the main building and the firing in the sculpture courtyard, a 5-10 minute walk across the gardens. It will involve walking back and forth to the raku site and standing around at the raku site. Alternatively you may drive your car around to the raku site, if you prefer, or walking a distance is an issue for you.


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


  • The course fee includes: all clay, glazing and firing costs – large work in size and quantity may be charged extra. It also includes the additional three small pieces of bisque-fired work which will be provided by the tutor.

What students need to bring

  • You are encouraged to bring a few pieces of bisque-fired work – a maximum of three and no bigger than 20cm high and 15cm wide, fired to a temperature of around 950°C. If possible, at least two pieces should be burnished to provide a smooth surface for testing the resist slip technique. We cannot guarantee to be able to fire all work brought.
  • Suitable clothing of cotton materials for Raku firing (not manmade fabrics) is ESSENTIAL. i.e. long trousers/jeans/long sleeved tops/sturdy covered shoes to cover you and waterproofs.
  • Any of your own special tools you particularly like to use (pottery tools, pottery knife) – basic tool kits are provided in the pottery for use on the course.
  • An apron
  • Masking tape
  • Raku tongs are provided but extra raku tongs are always useful if you have any you like to use
  • Cardboard boxes and wrapping/packaging for moving your pots and taking pots home
  • Clean plastic shopping bags

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, pottery knife (basic tool kits are provided in the pottery for use on the course)
  • Rough paper, notebook, or sketch pad and pencil
  • Wood or plastic ruler

Additional information

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


Tim Andrews Short Course Tutor West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Tim Andrews

Tim has taught around the world for over thirty years - workshops, lecturing, FE & HE. He trained originally with David Leach and at Dartington. Tim exhibits internationally - most recently in Japan, China and Australia. He is the author of two books on Raku ceramics, is fellow of the CPA and honorary President of the West Country Potters Association.


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

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