Printing techniques for ceramic surfaces with Claire Ireland

Ref: SLW32035

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About this course

Discover the delights of printing on clay. An opportunity to experiment with a variety of decorative methods that use colour to print and transfer images, creating a diversity of dynamic surfaces.

Course Description

This course provides an experimental approach to surface decoration, with an emphasis on printing and embossing techniques. What is so versatile about printing methods that are traditionally used on paper, is that they can be adapted to print colour, slip or glaze onto a clay surface.

You will be introduced to an inventive approach to silkscreening, printing with a homemade screen and simple paper stencils, using porcelain paperclay slip to transfer the images. Learn how to prepare transfer sheets by printing with sponge stamps, painting gestural marks or silk-screening liquid underglaze colours onto newsprint. The transfer sheets can be stored away for future use but can be cut and torn into sections, creating a collaged image. This technique can be used in combination with Tyvek paper stencils to create an embossed surface.

Printing with dust is an alternative method of printmaking, and for this technique, you will use clay, pigment or glaze in a powdered form. This can be scattered or sieved creating a decorative layer which can be applied directly to the clay and embedded into the surface. You will also learn a more flexible and gestural approach where the soft clay is applied to a dust print created on a wooden surface. A selection of stamps made in a variety of ways will be on display to guide you to build your own collection, using different materials.

By the end of the course, you will have started to build a repertoire of techniques, producing a selection of samples, fragments and test tiles. This also can take the form of small shallow vessels which can be made in different clays. Advice will be given on display, presenting their experiments and glazing options.

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply hand-outs - notes of all techniques covered in the workshop. She will also have available some completed test samples of all the decorative techniques explored, and a selection of found objects, mixed media and fragments of texture.
  • The College will supply all of the materials including all the equipment required, clay, colours, and slip, with tools and paintbrushes available for use on the course.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbook
  • An apron and covered footwear
  • Pottery tools if you have them (mark with your name) and small fragments of mixed media, found objects to make stamps
  • Preparation: Research ideas and collect or draw a selection of patterns and designs – looking at graphics, illustration, prints, textiles, jewellery – artists or makers, that inspire you. This can be from Instagram, Pinterest, websites, books, postcards or exhibitions

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbooks, brushes and a selection of tools, if required in addition to those supplied.

Additional information

Firing and glazing options: 1. Leave any raw, finished pieces, which you wish to keep, 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. Wear appropriate clothing - aprons in the studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


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


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.