Beck's beautiful plate and jug set with her planter in the background
It seems like an age ago that we did our porcelain workshop with Sophie Moorhouse Morris. We are having one of those years I'm afraid where we are jamming 10 years experience into one. This is punctuated (as is so often the case with us) with amazing workshops with talented makers. It's is literally the only time we get to see each other semi socially for a start. We literally have to book a class to have a cuppa! That's our excuse anyway.

My blue spoons 

This class has to be among our favourite of the past two years. We had a wonderful teacher in Sophie, who was not only instructive but encouraging. Clay and I are not sympatico so I really struggled to get nice shapes to work with. Beck on the other hand took to it like a duck to water. Sophie somehow managed to steer us all to good results in the end. The other classmates were also fantastic people to spend time with (we even spotted some familiar faces from other workshops - seems like we aren't the only addicts!)

I broke so many pieces beck let me glaze a couple of hers! isn't that spoon cool?
Porcelain is notoriously tricky and you need to be patient and gentle with it. You need to learn what the limitations are and when things break or crack you have to move on. We were working to a fairly small scale with old school pinch pots and slab construction so it wasn't too tricky for beginners. We loved how everyone's work was distinctively theirs and for the most part (if you don't count my pile of rubble from over zealous cleaning) things stayed in tact.

Beck used her graphic skills to bring a little edge to her organic forms
We actually can't wait to make more porcelain pieces. Sophie gave us the confidence to just go for it. This is the real benefit of taking workshops. They don't make you an expert, not by any means, but they open a door. Demystifying a process is really the best way to start. It's just clay and a kiln is a really hot oven, if we start from there then we can just keep learning, keep refining. We now admire the beautiful ceramic pieces we've collected over the years even more.

My slab planter
I'm more comfortable with a paint brush or a pen in my hand so it was great to just make a simple slab pot as it gave me four 'canvases' to paint on. It got us talking about the mark making aspects of ceramics. The level of technical skill has always been our focus but the different surface treatment made the role of artist as ceramicist much clearer. If you'd like to see our wonderful classmates work you can go here. We encourage you all to take a class or two over the winter - it will keep your spirit warm at least! RAMONA

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