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Accommodation in McKenna's (if required) 25 euros per night

Everything you need to know start exploring clay as your canvas. Whether you’re completely new to ceramics, or have some experience and want to refresh your skills, this 3-day intensive masterclass is aimed at artists who want to begin exploring ceramics, surface decoration and 3D form. We’ll learn all about clay from the beginning, covering a range of hand-building methods, from simple coil and slab-building, to complex component forms. Materials and tools are provided and participants will be guided by practical demonstrations, technical advice and inspirational examples, learning a range of surface decoration methods, from slip-trailing and resist techniques, to carving and mono-printing. We’ll address the design challenges in working in ceramics, and differences in decorating 2D and 3D forms, and participants will then have the opportunity to bring these skills together to design & make their own pieces, with expert help on hand for technical guidance. This is a hands-on studio workshop, where discussion and ideas-sharing are encouraged. No previous ceramics experience is necessary, but artists are invited to bring images of their existing arts practice and sketches or images for what they would like to explore in ceramics.

The workshop will cover:

Introduction to Ceramics: Health & safety, Introduction to ceramics, tools & materials, Understanding clay, preparation & use, States of clay: wet, leatherhard, dry, bisque, fired.

Hand-building: Pinch pots, making & using slip, joining & hollow forms, coil, ribbon & patch building, solid, wire-cut & carved forms, tiles & flat surfaces, relief & texture, slump & hump moulds, slab-building, formers & component forms.

Colour in Ceramics: clay, slips, stains, underglaze & glaze, colouring clay, preparing & colouring slip, mixing underglazes

Surface Decoration: slip decoration: painting with slip, slip-trailing, dipping, feathering, layering and colour washes, carving & incising, colour inlay, sgraffito, resist & masking techniques, mono-printing.

Design Considerations: 2D to 3D surface decoration, Designing for 3D forms.

Outcomes: Participants will leave the course understanding the basics of working in clay, with experience of handbuilding methods and different surface decoration techniques, physical samples, and a completed piece of their own design. Works made during the masterclass can be fired and glazed after the workshop and made available for collection at a later date, or taken home at the end of the workshop unfired.

Skill Level: All experience levels are welcome, but the workshop is aimed at artists with an existing creative practice in another medium.

Health and Safety: All participants will need a FFP3 disposable particulate respirator or P3 particulate filters for half-face mask, an apron and safety glasses.

Elaine Harrington

Elaine Harrington is an artist, researcher and educator. Her practice investigates ecology of making in art & craft practices, using found & natural raw materials to explore ideas of embodied landscape and objects as materials & cultural documents.

She was the 2018-20 Parity Studios Artist-in-Residence at UCD College of Science (IRL), exploring geoscience and the transformation of earth materials in ceramics, and ecology of making in material practice. Other residencies include Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre (DK), and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (IRL), and art & ecology research residencies include the Cabin residency at Road Book’s Garravagh Eco-Project (IRL), Scottish Sculpture Workshop’s Nightshift residency (UK), and Cow House Studios (IRL, upcoming). Ongoing research explores the mining & mineral heritage of Ireland, investigating mine tailings, waste and byproducts from excavation & extraction industries for use in ceramics processes; and native pigments and biocolour for ceramics and printmaking, supported by Arts Council Ireland.

She has worked on numerous collaborative art, education & public engagement projects and STEAM learning initiatives, and is a member of the Arts Council's Visual Arts Peer Panel, and Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s Education and Peer Mentor Panels. Recent projects include an archaeological and contemporary ceramics skills-sharing and research initiative with UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology & Material Research (CEAMC) supported by Creative Ireland, and a collaborative geoscience engagement through art project developed with the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), supported by UCD Seed Funding Scheme. She is currently co-developing an interdisciplinary art, music & geology project exploring deep time, place-making & myths of landscape, with composer & electric guitarist Barry O’Halpin, the research phase of which was supported by a Visual Arts Bursary 2020 from the Arts Council and iCRAG, which will culminate in a series of collaborative, site-responsive works for public performance in 2022-24.

Elaine is a graduate of Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course, and holds an MA in Ceramics from Cardiff School of Art & Design and an MSc in Interactive Digital Media from Trinity College Dublin. Her work has been shortlisted for the International KOGEI Award in Toyama (JP) 2020 and RDS Craft Awards 2017 & 2020, was awarded a DCCI FutureMakers Award 2019 and An Táin Arts Centre’s Emerging Artist Solo Exhibition 2019, and is currently selected for DCCI’s PORTFOLIO 2021-2022. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently in Sculpture in Context 2019, Unfolding at DLR LexIcon Municipal Gallery 2020, the International KOGEI Award in Toyama Exhibition at the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art & Design (JP) 2021, and the Pigments Revealed Symposium Exhibition (USA, online) 2021. She has received support from the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Europe MEDIA, Creative Ireland, Per Cent for Art Scheme, Design & Crafts Council Ireland, and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Louth and Cork County Councils. She is currently commissioned for the Reimagining Enniscorthy public art & community engagement decarbonisation project 2022/23, supported by Wexford County Council & Creative Ireland.