Hand building in clay – organic vessels with Sue Mundy

Ref: SLW33062

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Places available

About this course

Taking inspiration from the natural world, learn how to create organic sculptures and vessels, using a variety of hand-building techniques. Learn to join different shapes and enhance with coloured slips and underglazes, inlaying, brushing and sgraffito.

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the wide variety of hand-building techniques. With an emphasis on form and texture, you will create a series of organic sculptures and vessels, incorporating the different methods together.

An experimental beginning will give you a chance to play - exploring and manipulating the clay, making shapes and finding new ways to add texture and pattern. These three-dimensional sketches will help to develop your ideas for your final pieces. Other artists’ work will be looked at and discussed throughout the course to offer inspiration and an insight to alternative ideas.

There will be group discussions and tutor demonstrations on pinching, coiling (three different ways), slabbing and press-moulding. You will learn to successfully join different shapes together to create one form. With a greater knowledge of the different hand-building skills, you will be able to develop and construct your own designs.

Within the course, you will also learn how to use colouring slips, underglaze colours and oxides to enhance the surface textures. Decorating finishes will include: inlaying, brushing, layering and sgraffito.

By the end of the course, you will have several finished pieces of work, ready for firing.

Course Materials


  • Clay
  • Decorating/glazing materials
  • Firing costs of work made (large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.)
  • The tutor will supply some of the materials, including: textures and materials to experiment with and images and reference books of artists whose work relates to the course.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbooks
  • Photographic inspiration e.g. ideas and images of natural forms and structures that inspire you
  • (This can include books, cut outs, images, drawings etc.)
  • A collection of items with texture e.g. fabric, wallpaper, kitchen tools, found natural objects
  • A camera and sketchbook to record the journey through the weekend
  • Apron
  • Pottery tools, if you have your own
  • If you plan to take your unfired work away with you, please bring plenty of packaging material, boxes and bubble wrap to ensure its safe journey home.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, wooden and loop tools
  • Natural sponges
  • Brushes
  • Sketchbooks

Additional information

Firing and glazing options: 1. Leave a selection of 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 sculpture for firing and glazing 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.


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


Sue Mundy

Sue Mundy trained at North Staffordshire University and has over 30 years of teaching experience. Her work is exhibited through galleries and specialist craft and ceramic events across the UK. Currently she is Artist In Residence at The University of Reading.


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.