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Ceramics Studio

Ceramics Studio

Chelsea College of Arts
Taught by
Amy Hughes, Lauren Ilsley


Ceramics Studio is a workshop-based course which will help you discover the wealth of making possibilities in clay; from hand building, coiling, slab building and press moulding, to surface decoration, using slips and oxides and application of glazes.

Demonstrations on ceramics techniques will provide you with guidance and inspiration. This course is a great opportunity to experiment in the ceramics workshop, creating a number of ceramic pieces, whilst also learning about clay tools, materials and equipment and where to source them.

Topics Covered

  • Properties and possibilities of clay 
  • Hand making processes: pinch pots and coiling.
  • Sgraffito decoration of ready-made unfired samples
  • Slab rolling, press moulding of plates and other ready-made moulds
  • Colour and surface mark making: slips, underglazes, glazes and oxides
  • Glazing processes
  • Tile and relief panel making methods
  • Slab construction 
  • Indirect printing with coloured slips
  • Extrusion 
  • Information on suppliers of ceramic materials and equipment
Course Outcomes
By the end of this ceramic course, you'll have created a number of finished ceramic pieces*. You will understand the basic principles of clay and ceramic making techniques and also have gained knowledge of slips and glazes.

Who Should Attend
Beginners looking for a step-by-step guide to studio based ceramic techniques, along with more experienced students keen to use Chelsea's impressive ceramic workshop facilities.

Course Level 

Courses are typically taught by one or more of the tutors listed below.

Please Note - This course focuses on hand built ceramics and students will not be using the throwing facilities. Students’ ceramic works will need to be fired after the course has ended. We will advise students when the work is ready for collection from the college, which should be no more than 1 - 2 weeks following the completion of the course. Work will then be kept for no longer than one month. If it is not possible to return to the college to collect the work, please speak to the tutor to make alternative arrangements. Please note that we are unable to arrange for the delivery of your work, but would be very happy to prepare this ready for collection should you wish to arrange for a courier.

Tutor Description

Amy Hughes is currently Ceramics Specialist Technician at Chelsea and practicing Ceramic Artist, shares a studio with 10 of her former classmates from the Royal College of Art, who collectively transformed a railway arch in East London into a multi-disciplinary art & design studio, known as Manifold.

Specialising in hand building and illustration, Hughes has worked and exhibited internationally, working with galleries and private clients. She was nominated to represent the UK in ‘New Talent’ at the European Ceramic Context 2014 as well as being selected for the inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2014 for artists who show an exceptional command of ceramics, alongside an awareness of the heritage of ceramic craft. In 2015, Amy was chosen as the first Ceramics and Industry Artist in Residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum working in collaboration with 1882Ltd, as well as being selected as one of eleven artists for AWARD at the British Ceramics Biennial ‘presenting new works exemplifying the energy and vitality of the best of British contemporary ceramics practice.’

Hughes is a Visiting Ceramics lecturer at City Literary Institute, teaching experience includes Farnham University, V & A, the Royal Academy, Brighton University and with the Crafts Council.

Lauren Ilsley is an artist who predominantly makes sculpture with clay. She works from her studio in East London, which she set up after graduating from the Royal College of Art with a Master’s degree in Ceramics.
Specialising in experimental handbuilding, Lauren often starts by designing her own tools to use with processes such as extrusion; creating identical units which she modifies to handbuild unique forms.
Lauren is a founding member of the artist collective [ALLOY]; a group of artists with overlapping concerns, particularly in the field of Art and Science. Alongside her practice she is a ceramics technician at the Royal College of Art, and a ceramics tutor at the City Literary Institute and London Sculpture Workshop.


The following materials will be provided for your use in the class, however we do encourage students to continue with their ceramic skills after completing the course and so purchasing these materials is recommended as a beneficial investment for further creative development:

  • Cutting wire

  • Clay knife

  • Metal kidney

  • Rubber kidney

  • Turning tool

  • Modelling tools

Most materials needed for the short courses are available at the Chelsea College of Arts' Art Shop. Please contact the Art Shop directly for opening hours and availability.

Please make sure that you wear sensible shoes and old clothes or bring overalls.

Available dates