Personalities in clay – developing your own way of throwing with Kyra Cane

Ref: SSS29715

About this course

Whether you want to make pots to use or abstract pieces, the wheel can express a personality or the maker's creative voice. Develop your understanding of the potential of clay to express ideas through form, surface, technique, skill and knowledge.

Course Description

You will develop your understanding of the potential of clay to express ideas through form, surface, technique, skill and knowledge. This course is suitable for anyone who has developed throwing skills and wants to be able to make work that is individual and expressive.

Making work that is more individual and expressive sounds so easy but as many of you will know, actually developing thrown forms that have their own personality is more difficult than it seems. There are so many options, so many materials and techniques that you like, how do you decide what to do?

The key is in developing a visual language through which you learn to identify your own criteria. This can take the form of a sketchbook where you make notes and diagrams, collect images and draw, or it can be in an electronic format such as Pinterest or Instagram.

You will begin to ask yourself what is it that makes your ceramic work belong to you? What does the touch of a hand or the imprint of a tool say about the person who created the object?

This course will help you develop a range of wheel thrown ceramic pieces that are individual, by increasing your understanding of the potential of clay to express ideas through form, surface, technique, skill and knowledge, and by learning to appreciate the many properties that clay can have, the many personalities it can embody, from refined forms to bold aggressive vessels, from beautiful bowls to constructed abstract pieces, the choice is yours.

• You will be able to use a range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional processes and techniques to help you identify the personal characteristics you want to articulate in your ceramic work.

• You will develop confidence in making a wide range of decisions when throwing and turning clay on a wheel which will enable you to create forms that have meaning to you.

• You will gain an understanding of surface in relation to form by experimenting and developing your throwing techniques and by exploring a range of appropriate ceramic finishes.

• You will develop a critical approach to the analysis of ceramic form, surface and style by examining examples of work made by a range of potters.

By the end of the week you will have a selection of fired samples, a group of ceramic pieces which can be taken home or fired at the College and a visual resource from which you can develop future work.

Summer School highlights:

The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio.

• A celebration dinner on the last evening themed on Impressionism, celebrating the150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition held in Paris in1874. Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully.


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • The cost of clays, glaze materials and firing of small pieces is included in the course fee. Large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring with you a small collection of imagery (photographs, cuttings or drawings) and three-dinensional objects or fragments which inspire you. Think about ways of recording textures, surfaces, colours and forms that you like and bring them with you.
  • Bring a piece of your work that you are pleased with.
  • Bring throwing tools and brushes that you already have, a sketchbook, pencil, and some type of camera if you like to record things using this.
  • Look at books including Kyra Cane’s book, Making and Drawing, if you would like some ideas about ways that artists develop ideas.
  • An overall; old towel; medium-sized lidded plastic box to keep pieces damp.
  • Cardboard boxes are useful if taking raw pots away at the end of the course.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pottery tools, pottery knife (basic pottery tools are provided for use)
  • Brushes including hake and mops.
  • A good selection of all art materials
  • Wood or plastic ruler
  • Natural sponge

Additional information

Firing and glazing options: 1. Leave any raw, finished pieces that you wish to keep, for biscuit firing, basic glazing and re-firing by the College, for collection within six months. 2. Leave raw, finished pieces for biscuit firing at the College. You can then book a place on a Glazing Day and glaze your own work (allowing four weeks for your work to be biscuit fired). This work will be re-fired after glazing and available for collection within six months. 3. Take away your unfired pots for firing and glazing elsewhere. Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


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.