Throwing porcelain is often thought of as being more difficult than throwing other clays. This is a misconception. It is more constructive, and accurate, simply to think of porcelain as having different qualities to other clays. In essence, porcelain is the purest of clays. When high fired it is extremely hard and durable and, when thin, is translucent. It is resistant to thermal shock. From heat shields on space capsules, to cutting tools, to spark plugs and insulators, to jewellery, to dentistry and in other fields porcelain and derivatives of porcelain have found application in a wide and increasing range of contexts in society since Marco Polo returned from the Orient, with awe inspiring porcelain vessels, to a Europe in which earthenware was the norm. Porcelain endures today as a beautiful material with which to throw useful and decorative vessels.
The central focus of the course is throwing porcelain but a related focus is to cover a range of the ways porcelain may be finished. Wheel based demonstrations will cover the throwing and trimming of a range of different forms, from simple bowls to jugs and teapots. A related sequence of demonstrations will cover decorative and glazing processes relevant to porcelain, including the making of porcelain bodies.
Each morning and afternoon session will begin with a demonstration to the group. Participants may then work in relation to those demonstrations or pursue their particular interests – in both cases with the attention and support of the teacher. Most of the dry work will be bisqued and a selection of this will be glazed and fired in the gas reduction kilns at 1285C (2345F) (Cone 10). The practical work of the course will be complemented by two illustrated talks referring to the diversity of qualities in historical and contemporary work in porcelain, stoneware and earthenware, and by one illustrated technical talk on porcelain bodies.
The workshop is open for all levels. On every classday, a delicious meal will be served. At booking, you may select your preferred room type, choosing between standard lodging, single room and/or upgraded accommodation. Please note that depending on the availability, certain types at times may not be offered.
John Colbeck has taught full and part time at Ceramics degree courses in the UK throughout his working life and was for many years Head of Ceramics at Bath Academy of Art and, in addition, has taught many short courses and given lectures and seminars in the UK and abroad. He is author of “Pottery, the Technique of Throwing” (1969), “Pottery, Techniques of Decoration” (1983) (both of these still available as Classic reprints from Axner Supplies USA) and “Pottery Materials” (1988). He produces unglazed, polished thrown forms in stoneware and porcelain. johncolbeck.com
Franco Rampi started working as a potter in 1978. After an apprenticeship in England and a cycle of studies in Italy he opened his own studio in Tuscany where he produces both functional objects in small series and one off pieces. He works mainly in stoneware, whilst continuing his research on clays, slips and forms. He has taught workshops on throwing and glazing for many years, collaborating with La Meridiana since 2010. www.francorampi.it