In this digital age of anxiety inducing holiday snaps, swipes, likes, matches and ghosting, more and more people are turning to the 10,000-year-old craft to reconnect to something more tangible.
So to help you, we’ve been busy rolling around in more mud than a wet Glastonbury in order to bring you the best that the city has to offer. We’ve broken them down into the different areas you might want to try and have included the price of a taster class…
…so that you don’t get mugged off.
The best for… throwing
Based out of a studio on Stepney City Farm Jess Jos specialises in throwing tableware. She runs throwing classes for novices, right up to fellow professionals. Her bespoke tableware courses are aimed at making a specific end-product and include cups and bowls; plates; mugs; tea & coffee pots; and jugs/moon jars.
If once a week isn’t enough and you prefer to get stuck in – she also runs intensive courses over 4 days that cover the basics of throwing, making different shapes on the wheel; and using different clays.
Taster session (£50): A two-hour class. Your best three pots will be fired and glazed in the studio’s signature speckled white.
Stepney City Farm, E1 3DG | Courses start at £195
Crown works was opened by Giulietta Hextall who trained under master potter Steve Sheridan. The studio has nine permanent potters who work their full-time and also teach throwing classes for beginners and intermediate potters. The courses are all run over five weeks and go through the basics of throwing, from centering the clay, through practising certain shapes, to glazing in the final week.
They also run intensive one and two day courses over the weekend as well as a 4 evenings in one-week course, if you’re too impatient for your next class to come around.
Taster session (£55): Going through the basics of throwing from learning about the wheel, to using tools. Up to three pieces can be fired and glazed for you to take home.
11 Temple Street, E2 6QQ | Courses start at £150
Clover Lee was a finalist on the second series of The Great British Throw Down (Pottery’s answer to Bake Off). She runs classes out of her studio in South Wimbledon and likes to use alternative firing methods like raku (taking the ceramic out of the kiln while it’s still red hot) and pit-firing (over an open fire). Her courses include a one day throwing course, a 12 week throwing course and a Japanese pottery course that involves the intricacies of Japanese pot painting.
Taster session (£65): A two-hour session that goes through clay preparation and throwing on the wheel. Your best three pieces can be taken home.
21C Lombard Road, SW19 3TZ | Courses start at £365
The best for …hand building
Kana is run by Ana Kerin who trained as a sculptor. She deals exclusively in hand-building and uses experimental mixtures of different clays and slips to arrive at her end product. In other words, tradition is null and void here. Her classes are small and centred around making various bits of homeware, from mugs to full tableware sets. Aaaaand some of her classes are BYOB which makes this the date choice of the bunch.
And if you really love it, she also runs a week long clay retreat out of a picturesque barn in France, once a year.
Taster session (£55): A two-hour long introduction to three different hand building techniques: pinching, coiling and press moulding. Your two best bits then get the treatment and will be ready within 3 weeks.
5a Gransden Avenue, E8 3QA | Courses start at £85
The best for …open access studios
Turning Earth was the first ceramics studio in London to follow the U.S. model of open access spaces – a membership scheme that offers flexible access to their facilities and equipment which has proved so popular in E2 that they’ve recently opened another site in Leyton.
Open access studios are for if you have a little bit of experience and want to try your hand at your own creations. They do still run courses, though: a 6, 8 and 12-week option are available which walk you through the entirety of making your first piece – from preparing the clay to glazing it, covering the various pottery techniques along the way.
Taster session: N/A
361-362 Whiston Road, E2 8BW | Unit 14, 8 Argall Avenue, E10 7QE | Courses start at £300
This a purpose-built, community workshop owned and run by the residents. They have studio spaces to rent and open access spaces for professionals and amateurs. The classes are run per term and vary in price depending on the length. They cover all the basics of ceramic making, including pinching, coiling, slab building and throwing.
Taster session (£57): A two-and-a-half-hour session on throwing. Any pots made will be fired and ready to collect in 3-4 weeks. Add a glazing workshop for £38 to complete your piece.
Unit 17c Juno Way, SE14 5RW | Courses start at £175
The best for …the lot
Led by director Stuart Carey, Kiln Rooms has three spaces in Peckham – one for its classes, a studio space for members with communal equipment and technical support; and a professional studio available to rent (once you’ve become a pro). All of the staff have trained under artist/potter and former chair of the Craft Potters Association, Richard Phethean. The studio runs a 12-week course covering all of the basic techniques, and a 10 week throwing course for intermediate potters.
Taster session (£85): A five-hour session that includes throwing on a wheel and hand building. 3-4 piece are fired and glazed.
9c 133 Rye Lane, SE15 3SN | Courses start at £280
Skandihus was created by Danish ceramicist Stine Dulong. Formerly a lawyer, Stine has seen her Scandinavian designs used by Nigella Lawson and Yotam Ottolenghi, and has recently opened a second studio in Hackney. They run a 6-week, and a 12-week course covering both throwing and hand building techniques. Their so-nice-to-look-at-famous-chefs-use-them-for-photographs house mixed glazes are available for you mere mortals to dress your products in, upon completion.
Taster session £45: An introductory session dedicated to hand building techniques. At the end of the morning, you can choose one piece to get fired and glazed.
90 De Beauvoir Road, N1 4EN | Courses start at £180
Are you on a quest to become a creative genius? Check out our top 28 creative workshops in London…