What is an 'open-access' pottery studio?
The open-access model of ceramics studio is one common in the US but still relatively new here in the UK. It's effectively a gym... for potters! Memberships, courses, taster sessions, one-off experiences...at Swanspool Ceramics, we aim to offer something for everyone, be they novice potters, experienced ceramic artists or those looking for an original experience to celebrate a special occasion.
COURSES: For those new to pottery or looking to take their skills to the next stage, our programme of weekly courses covers a range of levels, from beginner right through to advanced, and all 6-week throwing courses INCLUDE open-access studio time for you to come in to practice outside of class time: this is what is so unique about our studio!
MEMBERSHIPS: For experienced potters simply wanting studio facilities or a chance to practice what they've learned, we offer 4- or 6-week, quarterly or annual memberships. Setting up your own pottery studio at home can be space-intensive and costly - we provide the facilities you need, without the outlay or hassle! All firing and glazes are included in your membership: you simply pay for whatever clay you use (clay is available to purchase at the studio as required).
What facilities do we offer?
Our 3 studios offer state-of-the-art equipment and resources for potters of all levels: Studio 1, our main throwing studio, is used for our weekly classes and offers 9 Shimpo Whisper-T wheels (8 student wheels, 1 teaching wheel). Studio 2 is our upstairs handbuilding studio with a large working area, slab roller, wall-mounted extruder, glaze area and a Brent-B wheel for dry work. Studio 3 is our second throwing studio offering 7 Shimpo Whisper-T wheels. At all times during open-access hours, at least one throwing studio is kept available for members and students to come and practice, even if there is a class running in the other.
All students and members are assigned their own personal shelf for storage of their work for the duration of their course/membership.
In terms of firing and processing, we have a large front-loading Gold kiln by Potclays, and a smaller Nabertherm toploader. We also have a raku kiln and run regular raku workshops. We recycle all unfired waste clay using our Peter Pugger VPM30 vacuum pugger.
We glaze-fire to 1200 degrees centigrade, and offer a comprehensive range of brush-on and dipping high-earthenware/low-stoneware glazes.