Ceramic Sculpture Studio
BEST FOR: Starting with the basics.
Beginners looking for a short-term, but thorough introduction to the art of pottery should book a place on Ceramic Sculpture Studio’s five-week course. At £280, it’s one of the more reasonably priced options out there, although places get booked up well in advance, so move quickly if you’re interested. Expect to learn a variety of hand-building techniques, including throwing on the pottery wheel, as well as how to decorate and glaze your artwork. Clay, glazes and firings are all included.
114-116 Kingsgate Road, West Hampstead, NW6 2JG
BEST FOR: Students of all abilities.
With two studios – one near Dalston and the other in Clapton – Skandihus students can enjoy learning about pottery and ceramics in completely Covid-secure environments, both of which are currently exempt from higher-tier restrictions. A 90-minute taster class covering all the basics will cost you in the region of £45, with dates bookable up until the end of the year. Alternatively, opt for a six-week run of evening classes, with sessions also available on a Saturday and Sunday. All classes and courses are designed for mixed abilities, so there’s no prerequisite for prior experience.
4 Tilia Road, Clapton, E5 8JB and 90 de Beauvoir Road, Dalston, N1 4EN
BEST FOR: Those looking for exclusivity and smaller class sizes.
It’s possible to book individual courses at either the Hoxton or Leyton branch of Turning Earth, but opting for one of its exclusive membership packages will entitle you to anytime access during opening hours, up to 15 hours a week, as well as your own personal storage, advice and mentoring from staff, use of the equipment and up to 30 litres a month of set temperature firings. The only additional thing you need to buy is clay, which is sold at trade prices. Otherwise courses vary in length and cost, from 6-12 weeks and start from £375.
Railway Arches 361-362, Whiston Road, Hoxton, E2 8BW and 11 Argall Avenue, Leyton, E10 7QE
The Kiln Rooms
BEST FOR: Plenty of options and the chance to progress.
With locations across London, classes designed as one-off taster sessions, and courses for both beginners and intermediates, Kiln Studios also offers the chance to enrol in dedicated throwing classes and advanced professional-standard masterclasses. For those with zero experience, opt for the four-week introductory course which, at £140pp, will introduce you to a range of different techniques such as hand building, throwing and decorating through demonstrations and plenty of hands-on exercises. There’s no need to bring anything with you, as all materials, tools, aprons and equipment is provided.
Various locations across London
BEST FOR: Those keen to get little ones involved.
A non-profit organisation, those interested in getting their kids involved should check out the courses on offer at Clay Time. Whether it’s just to paint and experiment with colour or learn how to work with clay and a potter’s wheel, the two-hour sessions take place at various times, seven days a week and cost just £32pp – although advanced booking is essential in light of the current situation. Meanwhile, adults can take their pick from a range of different beginners’ courses before moving up to the improvers’ level.
168 Blackstock Road, Highbury, N5 1HA
BEST FOR: Those looking to throw travel into the mix.
At Kana London, students can learn in a variety of ways, whether via video workshops (perfect for those subject to high-tier restrictions), on-site classes and courses or even international retreats. The studio was forced to postpone its autumn retreat in Alentejo, Portugal until autumn 2021, but you can still expect plenty of clay, communal eating with organic and biodynamic ingredients, organic wines, wild walking, still life drawing, fireside yoga, salt-water swimming and more. Deposits cost £450, with payment plans available.
5a Gransden Avenue, Hackney, E8 3QA
BEST FOR: Developing hand-building techniques.
Whether it’s making your own tumblers or a vase to add individual character to your interiors, the hand-building workshops on offer via Melisa Dora might be for you. In just two-and-a-half hours, you’ll learn how to make a set of mugs and a spoon or small pinch pot for sugar – perfect for your morning tea or coffee. Having been taught the press moulding and pinching technique, your pieces will then be glazed and fired in Melisa’s kiln, which takes two-to-three weeks to complete. All materials, firings and tuition are included in the price. Just be aware new students will have to wait for spaces to become available once Melisa catches up with prior customers whose sessions were delayed as a result of the recent lockdown.
60 Honor Oak Park, Honor Oak Park, SE23 1DY
Ceramics Studio Co-op
BEST FOR: Working alongside professional artists.
A co-working studio space, home to ceramics artists and designer makers on different stages of professional practice, this co-op aims to bring together a community of pottery lovers to foster creative exchange and co-operation between amateurs and professionals alike. For a monthly fee, professional makers can rent a desk or co-working space to develop their pieces, while those looking for further instruction can sign-up to pottery classes.
Juno Way, New Cross, SE14 5RW
Crown Works Pottery
BEST FOR: At-home learning.
While there are still a host of in-studio sessions and workshops available, the home-learning option available via Crown Works is one of the best around – especially as it includes all glazing and firing in the price. The studio will provide you with a booklet covering the basics of all the main hand-building techniques: coil, slab and pinch, as well as some inspiration for shapes and professional potters’ tips. How-to videos are available online, with tutorials available for complete beginners. High-firing stoneware clay is available for delivery or pick up, with pieces then dropped-off in person to the studio for firing.
11 Temple Street, Cambridge Heath, E2 6QQ
BEST FOR: One-on-one tuition.
If you’re keen to fast-track your learning via a private workshop, Clover Lee offers students the chance to learn the basic knowledge of the pottery-making cycle, clay preparation and throwing on the potter’s wheel. Even for more experienced leaners, the workshop can be tailored to focus on any techniques or shapes you’re looking to improve on. The package includes two hours of personalised tuition, all tools and materials, and firing and glazing of the best three pots per participant.
Wimbledon Art Studios, 10 Riverside Yard, Wimbledon, SW17 0BB
BEST FOR: Those looking to fit it around full-time work.
While Jess Jos has suspended her pottery classes as a result of lockdown, those looking to fit a new hobby around a busy work schedule should bookmark it for later. From private classes to immersive weekend courses, in normal times, there’s something to suit everyone, with a host of evening options for those looking to make the most of work-free nights. There’s also a beginners’ ‘intensive’ session for those keen to kick-start their pottery journey.
Stepney City Farm, Stepney Green, E1 3DG
Social Pottery Painting
BEST FOR: Making new friends and expressing your artistic side.
Up on the Kentish Town Road, you’ll have the chance to join a late-night social pottery painting session, from as little as £25pp, where participants can express their artistic side with one of the ready-made pieces available to select in the studio. Throwing wheels aren’t the focus here, so if you’re looking for something more hands-on which includes working with the clay from start to finish, this might not be the place for you. Conversely, if you’re keen to work with colour without the hassle of making your own shapes, there are a range of 90-minute sessions on offer.
120 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, NW1 9PY