The latest Workshop organised by the Friends of PSAD was held on the 24 March 2024.

For student’s reviews scroll down!

Photo album – click on first photo. Photos by Nicole Hollingworth, Fleur Tookey and Ros Holmes

Review by Ros Holmes, PSAD student, on Ian Ellis – Art

Ian Ellis’s art workshop on Sunday 24th March was a great success. Ian explained Rothko and Constable’s colour techniques, encouraging novices and experienced PSAD students to look closely and try to identify their methods. Ian demonstrated his knowledge of how their work was created and lead us through similar processes to use in our own individual ways. The key is the mixing and layering of paint starting with initial glazing and building layers. We observed, shared ideas, waited for our acrylics to dry, and then repeated. How did Rothko and Constable do it? We will never know for sure but we went home with some great interpretations, and a better understanding and appreciation of their work.

Review by Nicole Hollingworth, PSAD pottery student and Friends Trustee, on Allan Manham – Ceramics

Allan Manham’s hand building workshop in October last year was inspirational as he taught us the methods by which we could try to emulate the wonderfully elegant and delicate pots for which he is renowned. Indeed he was so popular that we were asked to invite him back for a second session, this time focusing on his decorating techniques which concentrate on slip decoration, burnishing or polishing the vessels at various stages.

Having been a potter for 15 years Allan has always specialised in hand building. His vessels are a perfect illustration of the fact that hand built pots don’t have to be ‘clunky’. In fact they are so finely finessed that many might mistake them for thrown works. This sense of gracefulness is further reflected in his various decorating methods.

Traditionally we have been led to think that slips should not be applied after a pot has been bisque fired as the liquid on a dry pot could easily cause cracking. However, Allan showed us that this can be done, after all, by applying very thin layers of coloured slip that can be gently rubbed off with a damp sponge or scraped off with various tools to leave a subtle residue of colour. This can be done several times until the desired colour depth is achieved. This method also highlights the texture inherent in the clay. Furthermore it works very well with underglazes that can be applied with a sponge or a brush and, similarly, scraped off to get the desired effect.

Allan also showed students how to burnish leather hard clay. Again slips can be used to imbue colour between several stages of burnishing, essentially rubbing the clay with a metal spoon, for example, to create a high glossy finish. Another way of achieving this is to polish a bisque fired pot with a general, neutral furniture wax which, after rubbing all over with a soft cloth, is left for around thirty minutes to soak in after each application and can be done several times until the ‘right’ finish is arrived at. Importantly all these methods are enhanced by a lower firing so Allan recommends that an Earthenware firing is essential to get the best results.

As before, what we really took away from this workshop was that there is no absolute ‘right’ way to do things. Every potter develops their own ‘language’ when creating. Experimenting is essential and failures do happen but that is how our methods evolve.

It was delightful to have Allan back again. His passion for pottery is contagious and we were left not only feeling inspired but with a new understanding of the many ways work can be decorated. While glazing is often the method used by a multitude of potters, beautiful finishes can just as easily be accomplished in different ways. Allan doesn’t glaze his work. However it is necessary to glaze the inside of a pot if it needs to be waterproof.

A big thank you must also go to Leigh Jenkinson, our wonderful technician, whose help is always much appreciated.

For any query you can contact us on email: . To Join the Friends click Here.