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  • Tutor: Bettina Seitz
  • Duration: 4 days (Fri 21,22,23 July & 8 Sept)
  • Participants: 6
  • Cost: €320

In this four day masterclass artists will learn various techniques and processes to create ceramic sculptures from clay using different hand building techniques, slip casting, surface textures, colouring and glazing techniques. It will be delivered in two blocks to allow for the drying and biscuit firing of participants work between stages.

On the three days of the first block participants will learn how to make plaster moulds for slip casting from original work or found objects. After the plaster has dried out the artists will slip cast using these moulds later in the masterclass.

Artists will then explore different hand-building techniques in clay - how to model solid clay forms over temporary armatures, how to hollow these out and reassemble in preparation for ceramic firing and how to create hollow sculptures using slab-building and coiling techniques.

They will learn various texturing and colouring techniques on wet and leatherhard clay, including high and low relief modelling, imprinting, carving and incising, cut-outs, coloured clays, clay slips for painting, stencils and sgraffito.

After the drying and biscuit firing of their work the second block and fourth day of the masterclass will be spent learning about various colouring, glazing and firing techniques after the biscuit firing. These will include using wax resist, underglaze and overglaze stains and pencils, oxides and applying glazes by painting or dipping. Participants will get a basic understanding of ceramic glazes and firings.

Practical demonstrations and hands on technical support will guide artists through the whole process of creating their own ceramic sculptures. Materials and tools will be provided and no prior experience in ceramic sculpture is needed. Work will be glaze fired after the masterclass for collection at a later date or participants can take home biscuit fired or unfired work directly at the end of the masterclass, if they wish.

Day 1 - Fri 21st
Introduction to ceramic sculpture
Plaster moulds for slip casting (to be used for slip casting on day 3)
Preparation of clay slabs (for slab building on day 2)
Handbuilding techniques I - Modelling solid forms - hollowing out
Modelling a clay sculpture using temporary armatures. Solid clay forms to be hollowed out on day 3.

Day 2 - Sat 22nd
Handbuilding techniques I - Modelling solid forms over temporary armatures - continue
Hand building techniques II - Pinching and Coiling
Handbuilding techniques III - Slab building

Day 3 - Sun 23rd
Slip casting - using moulds made on day 1
Hollowing out and reassembling solid clay forms in preparation for firing
Various surface textures and colouring techniques for wet and leather-hard clay, including high and low relief modelling, imprinting, carving and incising, cut-outs, imprinting, coloured clay slips and clays, stencils, sgraffito

Gap to allow for drying and biscuit firing of participants' clay pieces

Day 4 - Friday 8th September
Various colouring and finishing techniques for biscuit-fired sculptures, including wax resist, oxides, underglaze and overglaze stains and pencils, glazing
Basic understanding of ceramic glazes and biscuit & glaze firings

Glaze firing at end of masterclass; fired work to be collected at a later date.

If required, students will have the option to have an extra day with the tutor on the Saturday 9th Sept and this will be discussed in July.

Bettina Seitz was born in Germany, lives and works in Ireland. Seitz develops site-responsive sculpture installations in resin, concrete, bronze, aluminium, fabric and wax and explores how we relate as human beings to each other and our interconnection with everything. In recent projects she engages with landscape, history and mythology in projects such as the collaborative ‘Walking Birds Mountain I and II’ and ‘Underwave’ – an underwater exhibitions of sculptures in Sligo Bay, which was filmed and streamed online in 2020.

Bettina Seitz graduated in sculpture from the Accademia Albertina delle Belle Arti, Turin, Italy and has exhibited her work widely nationally and internationally. Recent projects include: ‘A Trembling Veil’ at Belgravia Gallery, London with Patrick Hall & Nick Miller; ‘Ghosts’, site-responsive exhibition at The Model & historical buildings in Sligo for 1916-2016 programme of events; Group shows in New York, Berlin, London, Dublin and Boyle Arts Festival; Public Art for European Capital of Volunteering, Doorly Park Sligo; ‘Walking Birds Mountain I and II’- collaborative projects of visual artists, writers and archeologists exploring the landscape and mythology of the Ballygawley mountains in County Sligo and ‘Underwave’- an underwater exhibition in Sligo Bay of 11 sculptures, representing successive arrivals to our shores from Sligo’s earliest settlers to people contributing to our modern multi-cultural society, filmed & streamed online to an international audience for Tread Softly festival 2020. 'Ancestors', a site-responsive sculpture installation on Oyster Island, filmed and streamed for Tread Softly festival in 2021.