BY TAMRA BOOTH, KEEEPS
Do you want to learn how to make pottery, but are unsure of where to start? One of the questions we often get asked is "Should I take a taster pottery class or private pottery lesson?" It’s a great question! At the end of the day, it comes down to preference and budget. So, let me tell you a little about both, and hopefully we can help you decide which would be best for you.
What is a Taster Pottery Class?
Both are designed for beginners and to give beginners and refreshers a taste and reminder of pottery techniques.
What is a Clay Taster Pottery Class?
The majority of this 3 hour session will concentrate on learning hand building skills. You will be with up to 7 other students and 1 tutor.
Professional potters use this technique, which includes the coiling, slabbing and pinching methods, to make sculptures, cups, plant pots and vases among other things.
This is where you'll get used to the feel of clay, and use the various tools in the studio to achieve the texture and shape you desire. You will choose your 2 best hand building pieces to underglaze later on in the session.
You'll then spend around a third of the lesson on the potter’s wheel. You'll get used to how the clay behaves on the wheel, and get a feel for how the clay moves under hand.
As the clay of your pieces will still be wet, we offer a range of underglazes that you can apply at the end of the session. Underglazes are not as solid in effect as glazes that are applied after firing but they do the trick. If you succeed in throwing a piece on the wheel that is worth keeping, this is a little too wet for glazing so we will apply a clear shiny glaze for you once it is dry.
You can read more about our brilliant Clay Taster Classes and current pricing here.
What is a Wheel Taster Pottery Class?
As the same suggests, a wheel throwing taster class concentrates on making pottery on the wheel. You won't learn about hand building techniques in a wheel taster class, but instead will spend time getting to know the process and methods of throwing pots on the wheel.
If you've ever watched “The Great Pottery Throw Down”, you'll know that this method of making pottery is more technical, so it requires a little more time to understand.
In this 2.5 hour session, you will joined by up to 5 other students and 1 tutor, and each student will have their own wheel. The session starts by teaching you how to centre the clay on the wheel head. This is the process of getting the clay to stick properly to the wheel, so it doesn't fly off mid-throw! Then, you'll practice how to pull up the clay, and you'll try and make some basic pots.
You'll get to choose your two best pieces that you'd like to keep, and we'll clear glaze them for you so you have a lovely memento of the day.
You can read more about our Wheel Taster Classes and prices here.
What will you learn in a private lesson?
Our bespoke private pottery lessons are for those who want a more focussed pottery session with a tutor. If you're really serious about learning how to make pots, this may be for you, although it is a more expensive option.
It's a one-on-one session with a friendly and experienced potter, and you can either do it by yourself or with a couple of others. The maximum amount of people is 3 people.
A private pottery lesson is 2 hours in length, and you can choose whether you want to practice hand building or wheel throwing or both. It's totally up to you.
For current pricing for private lessons, please contact us on 01628 397000 or email us.
Advantages of Private Pottery Lessons
1. Tutor Time
For two hours, you'll have the undivided attention of an experienced potter. The tutor will be able to watch your technique and give some constructive feedback to help you progress.
2. Smaller Group Size
This links with the first point. A smaller group size means more time with the tutor. If you have a specific goal for your pottery lesson or journey, then you can ask the tutor questions easily, and work at your own pace.
For those that feel worried about keeping up with a group (although we encourage people to work at their own pace, whether in our classes or private lessons!), then a private lesson could be a great starting point for you.
3. Set your goals
In a private lesson, you can let us know in advance what exactly you'd like to focus on. If you really want to make something on the wheel, we can solely work on your throwing technique, for example.
If you want to make something in particular, a cat sculpture for example, we can work on hand building techniques to help you get there.
Advantages of Group Taster Pottery Classes
1. Meet New People
Learning something new can be daunting. In our classes, there is a real collaborative energy, with everyone learning at the same time and exploring the world of clay!
The studio is either full of laughter, or of blissful, quiet moments where people get lost in their creations. It's a great atmosphere.
2. Learn from your peers
Having the opportunity to watch others, or ask others questions, is a fantastic way to improve and learn.
3. It's Relaxing!
Learning something new can be intense. Our group taster classes are designed to be informative, fun and relaxing.
No stress if you don't get it first time, we want you to enjoy the process, which we guarantee you will in a taster pottery class.
So, should you join a Taster Pottery Class or Book a Private Pottery Lesson?
Our advice would be, to go with what you feel is right for you. Both are wonderful experiences and it all comes down to your budget and whether you want a group experience or a something a bit more individual.
Generally, our advice is that private lessons are perfect for people who:
- Want to commit to learning how to make pottery;
- Have a specific skill they want to master;
- Have little to no previous pottery experience or have some experience and are looking to refresh their skills;
- Have something in mind that they would like to make, or work towards making;
- Want to make pottery with a couple of friends or family members; or
- Think they would benefit from a 1:1 rather than group setting.
Our Taster Sessions are perfect for people who:
- Want to give pottery a go and see what they think;
- Have never tried pottery before or tried it some time ago;
- Do something fun on your own or with friends or family;
- Meet new people;
- Have a laugh;
- Do something mindful; or
- Learn something new in a relaxed environment.
And don’t forget that we also offer private pottery parties for groups of 4 to 16 people, with costs reducing the more people there are. To find out more about private parties, please call 01628 397000 or email us.
Now, it's time to make some pots!
We hope this blog post helps you decide how to begin your pottery journey! If you have any other questions, pop them in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.
We can't wait to see you in the studio soon!