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Todd Pletcher Demonstration Saturday 29th October 9am to 1pm at Northern Beaches Ceramics Brookvale


Todd Pletcher is an American Wood fire potter previously based in Goshen Indiana. Todd is currently living in Sydney. During the 4 hr workshop he will be sharing his experiences, talking about his work and the work of potters who inspire him ( Todd plans to bring samples from his collection). Todd will also be demonstrating his throwing and handle making techniques.

Todd has a lovely fluid approach to his work. His flowing rims, feet and juicy
handles add a unique signature to his pieces. With 1000s of hours of production and so much passion for all things clay related it’s not surprising that he was selected as one of the 2015 Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artists.

Join us to share in his wealth of experience and gain insights into Todds approach to study, making and marketing work.


When-Join us from 9am to 1pm Saturday 29th October

Where– C Block- Northern Beaches Ceramics- Northern Beaches TAFE 154 Old Pittwater Rd Brookvale

What does it cost– $25 per person payable on the day. All welcome.

Where can I park- Parking is available on the TAFE grounds $8 with a credit card at the gate.


Facebook Pletcher on facebook

Take a look at todds website

Find Todd on Instagram Todd on INSTAGRAM


Register for the day via the contact form below. If the contact form is not showing in your email click the blue title link at the top of your email to be taken to the wordpress post.



Pamela Pudan Features at “Artisans In The Gardens”

Fantastic to see Pamela’s work featuring on the poster for “Artisans In The Gardens” Royal Botanic gardens Sydney. Pamela has completed much of her clay exploration at Northern Beaches Ceramics over the last few years. This year Pamela has utilized the 29339 Open Studio Format to develop work for exhibition with great success.

Take a stroll in the gardens from the 15th to 23rd October and view some fantastic artworks from multiple artists.


Link to the exhibition website

Southern Highlands Arts Festival 2016 “Art Studio Trail”Nov 5th and 6th and also 12th and 13th

Fancy a trip to to the Southern Highlands of NSW this November. The Art Studio Trail is a great way to access lots of artists studios, Talk to the makers and see new work.Artists studios will be open at Mittagong, Moss vale, Bowral, Bundanoon, Berrima, Balmoral Village and Robertson.



Follow this link to the “what’s on where” PDF map shafmap_webprintv2

Don’t forget to pay Sturt Gallery a visit for some more exceptional work and a coffee. Sturt gallery

Tim Andrews- Raku lecture Friday 14th October 9am to 1pm at NBC

We are really excited to announce that Tim Andrews UK Raku specialist is currently visiting Australia and he will be joining us at Northern Beaches Ceramics to share his 35 years of expertise.


“Tim is known internationally for his individual raku/smoke-fired and porcelain work. He has regular large exhibitions both in the UK and around the world – most recently in America, Australia and later this month in Japan. He has written two best selling books on Raku ceramics and his pieces have been acquired for many museums and other public and private collections including Arizona University and most recently The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.


“The transformation of raw materials – mud to art – is a fascinating journey of evolutionary transition, peppered with risk-taking step changes. My own work represents an ongoing dialogue between the technical sophistication of processes, serendipity, and timeless human qualities. After 35 years of making my pieces have become more minimal in style; yet the simplicity and apparent effortlessness aimed for stems from a labour-intensive, unforgiving and demanding technique, together with a dramatic and intense firing process. Ultimately, for me, each piece has to justify its existence with a quiet, yet powerful, presence.”


Training originally with David Leach and then at Dartington, Tim has worked from his present studio and gallery in Woodbury, East Devon for the last twenty years. He is a writer and exhibition curator and also teaches and lectures widely in the UK and abroad. He is a Fellow of the Crafts Potters Association of Great Britain and Honourary President of the Westcountry Potters Association.”



Visit Tim’s Website to learn more.

Tims Book is available online

Join Tim at Northern Beaches Ceramics Brookvale for this 4 hr lecture on his work and Raku techniques.

When– Friday 14th October

What Time– 9am to 1pm

Where– Northern Beaches Ceramics Northern Beaches TAFE 154 Old Pittwater Rd Brookvale 2100. We are located in C block

Cost-$25 – Payment is made on the day

Parking– Available on the TAFE grounds $8.00 with credit card at the entry gate.

Please Register– Via the contact form below.






Libby Gilkes ‘Rock ‘N Roll opens at Mu Gallery Saturday 15th Oct 2016


Little Things Art Prize opens 31st August at Saint Cloche Gallery Paddington

Saint Cloche

Several Northern Beaches Ceramics students have been accepted into this exhibition and art prize.

Find out more Saint Cloche


Kousyu Maki -Japanese Ceramics -Opens September 10 at Mu Gallery Mosman NSW.

mu_Invitation_Kousyu Maki Final


Glaze formulation and technology course with Paul Davis Commences 7th of October 2016


Glaze testing is something most potters place second to actually making the work. It’s such an essential part of the finished piece. Here is a chance to spend 6 weeks placing the glazes first.

Join Master potter Paul Davis for this intensive glaze research course each Friday for 6 weeks.

Anyone who has participated in one of Paul’s classes or workshops is immediately inspired by his passion for every aspect of the process employed to create objects in clay. A master thrower, hand builder, decorator, glaze  technician and story teller. Paul is a generous teacher with something to offer everyone and he is joining us at Northern Beaches Ceramics for 6 Fridays of intensive glaze testing in October/November 2016.

Glazed pottery

Plate- Ash glaze- Brushwork- Stoneware oxidation

Paul brings a unique approach to his studio practice with extensive workshop experience in both Australia and Japan. He has amalgamated skills from East and West and adapted Japanese traditional tools and glazes to Western styles of working with clay.

Paul is an elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics, past Director of Sturt Pottery and former lecturer at Monash University and College of Arts, University of NSW.  In 1997 he was awarded a Japan Foundation Scholarship to study with 12th generation Hagi potter, Saka Korazaemon where he deepened his understanding of Japanese forming techniques, glazes and approaches to firing.



More recently, he has established a studio- workshop in a large industrial building located in Newcastle, NSW.  Paul exhibits and lectures regularly in Australia and overseas, and has undertaken a number of major tableware commissions including  Bennelong Restaurant, Opera House, Sydney in 2015.

Paul d

We are fortunate to have Paul taking time away from a busy production schedule to share his wealth of experience in the area of glaze development and glaze techniques.

Paul davis maple leaf bowl

The Ceramics TAFE Plus Statement in Glaze Formulation is a new course that is suitable for students with some prior ceramic experience. In this 6 week course students will learn the foundations of ceramic glaze technology in a supportive and professional environment. Learn how glazes work, how to modify and test, how to skillfully use different types of glazes. Participants will refine glaze development skills through a process of experimentation and practice.

When-07 October to 14th November 2016 – Classes held on Friday between 9:00 AM and 2:30 PM

Duration-6 weeks, 5.5 hours per week

Fee– $495.00

Enrol now- Enrol Here

Students should have some prior Ceramics experience before starting this course.

For more information contact Christopher James T: 99415290 -Mon to Thurs


What will I need to bring for the workshop.

Apron, Folder and writing paper, Pen, Permanent marker, 7 transparent party cups, little lidded containers (chinese take away ), Dust mask, Disposable rubber gloves. Ceramic pencils

Ceramic pencils and 60 ml syringes are available from purchase from the ceramics dept.

lunch, Mug, tea coffee

Bisque test tiles, approx 150

Frequently asked questions

What temperature will we fire our tests to?

  • Make the tiles from stoneware clay capable of firing to Cone 10 or 1285c
  • Paul will fire in both oxidation and reduction atmospheres at cone 6 and cone 10

Do we make pots during this course?

  • No this course is focused solely on understanding glazes and testing.

What sort of tiles do I need and how many?

  • Paul likes to use little 5cm tall tiles shaped like Christmas trees. Some potters call these mice.  150 should be plenty. It should take 30 minutes of your time. Tiles must be Bisque.
  • Make the tiles from stoneware clay capable of firing to Cone 10 or 1285c
  • If you don’t have access to a kiln to bisque your tiles or need a demonstration of how to make them please contact me via the contact form below or my email.


What clay should I use for my tests?

  • Our two main clays at Northern Beaches Ceramics are Keane no 7 and Ironstone. These are both stoneware clays and provide information on how glazes behave over both a low and a high iron clay. However participants in the workshop may prefer to use another clay. If so that clay must be stoneware and capable of firing to Cone 10 or 1285c. We don’t fire white earthenware ‘hobby ceramic’ bodies within our kilns.


Are there any additional charges.

  • Firing and most materials used in glazes are included in your enrolment fee. We do charge for some of the more expensive materials such as Tin, frits, lithium, cobalt, stains etc.

Storm in a “Tea bowl”processing a found clay.

Many of us have a little story associated with the storms that battered the east coast of NSW early in June 2016. Some have a huge story with their homes and possibly livelihoods being threatened by the waves or torrential rain. We got off lightly with a leak in the bedroom downstairs, it happens once a year when the winds come from the east. These ‘easterlies’ drive the rain in a horizontal fashion against the bedroom window and the leak appears as the water is driven between the frames. A bad installation job!

I am up on the central coast of NSW around Terrigal once a week and generally make the most of my Fridays and try to get out into the surf. This visit was 2 weeks after the storm and the effect on the homes along the beach between Terrigal  and Wamberal lagoons was obvious. Mother nature has surely shown who’s in charge and decided to re-model the coastline as the weather front moved through.

View to Terrigal Skillion from the rocks near Foresters headland. light winds and friendly seas today.


A house on the beachfront. Three weeks ago these stairs sat on a bank of earth with grass all around now transported “somewhere else” by the waves. There are multiple homes with similar erosion. 


Mother nature also exposed lots of hidden slabs of cement. I imagine these have been buried by the builders over the last 30 to 50 years as a cheap way of recycling the slabs from previous homes as the new homes were being constructed. These slabs were picked up by the waves and scattered around like a croupier delivering the cards.

The waves also exposed a bank of clay. Bonus!

Over the last thirty something years as a potter I have enjoyed the process of ‘winning’ and creating work from my own found clays. Toward the end of my two years of full time ceramic study at East Sydney TAFE College “ESTC” I focused on processing my own clay and firing with wood. I dug everything from a disused clay mine near my home in Wahroonga NSW. Stoneware clay, earthenware clay, Iron oxide for the glazes it was all there waiting to be utilized in some ‘potters own adventure’.

Post TAFE wood fired work utilizing found clays and slips early 1990s

Using found materials is a process that I continue to find immensely satisfying. I don’t do it often however when I think about just why I enjoy it so much  I generally arrive at the following. Somehow It brings me closer to nature, provides a more holistic sense of ownership of the work and results in a piece that has location specific qualities. Location specific work is something that Steve Harrison past teacher of mine, mentor and friend has focused on for many years. Steve taught me a great deal and it’s a great support to have someone to share the joy and explore ideas and experiences with.

He also makes some “stonking” woodfired pots………… thank you Kevin Mcloud

Look at the forms and surfaces on these two pieces, Yum!

Bowl 1

“Stoneware Cup with felspathic glaze that has turned completely black due to carbon inclusion during the wood firing. I get good reduction in my wood kiln.” 2016 -Steve Harrison.

Steve Harrison

Steve Harrison Wood Fired Bowl “Found clay”

At present Steve is on a 10 year long project to go to each place in the world where they make single stone porcelain and make some work there in each of those places. He plans to have a show of this collected work next year 2017 at Watters Gallery  in Sydney.  This 2017 exhibition promises to be something really special. Find out more about Steve’s work and lifestyle here on his blog  Steve Harrison

Follow the Watters link to visit Steves page at the gallery.there is a pictorial history of each of his shows with the gallery over the years. It’s a visual treat.

I digress…….Back to the beach clay!

This little stash of clay peeking through the surface of the sand got me thinking about turning a storm into an opportunity for exploration. Normally storms create the waves that I ride on a Friday and this day ‘with no board to ride’ the storm offered something different. As I thought about this little deposit of clay I pondered simpler times and that period of study at East Sydney. I felt really excited about the prospect of testing this local clay knowing  that the ocean would soon conceal it in the sand again. I then pondered how I might share the experience and ‘here we are’ documenting the process

The soft ball size chunk of loose clay from the sand, and a nice little pebble that I thought might make a great template for a plate. Both captured in the early morning light hence the long shadows.


Broken up and dried in the sun.


Slaking in water left, the same clay after 30 mins on the right.


Mixed in a blender to unthickened cream consistency “yes a blender” they don’t last long around these parts. Then Sieved through  (right to left) kitchen mesh for larger pebbles, 30 mesh smaller pebbles, 80 mesh the beach sand, 100 mesh finer sand again.


Then onto the plaster to de-water the slurry and bring the clay to the plastic state so that the throwing can begin. I left half the slip around 30 mesh for a more textural brew and sieved the other half to 100#


Plasticity is exceptional, not in the slightest bit flabby for the push pull test and nice points with minimal tearing on the rabbits ears top left. 100# in the foreground and 30# to the rear. Looks a lot like Keane 5 and 5B. At this point I can’t wait to make something.



In any text that one reads about processing clay it’s recommended that clay be aged for as long as possible to help the plasticity. In my experience this time is really beneficial to the plasticity of clays that are a bit short. I can’t lay these two little tennis ball sized chunks of beach clay down in the cellar just in case my daughter catches the clay bug. It’s late, I’m tired…….the clay can age for 12 hrs.

I throw with it the following day and it’s fantastic, Nothing added and just the really coarse materials removed. The 30 # batch stands up well. The 100 # is lovely too and ever so smooth.

I like thrown feet so I try some options with the tiny portion of clay that I have set aside.

Some fired Christmas trees (some call them mice) to assess colour and glaze fit. Cone 10 oxidation and reduction. The ‘Mice’ are sitting on some of the oversize sand and iron captured by the sieves. I fired this up to get an idea of what might remain in the body. There was minimal CaO.

Results look promising, some iron spots and crazing of my standard test glaze however nothing that sets the alarm off.

The fired tests show a nice buff colour in oxidation and deep chocolate in reduction. The brown sand below is a sample of what was left in the sieves.


I have removed some of the iron bearing material from the original clay sample and plan to try this over the glaze. It breaks down easily in the mortar.

The two storm bowls with their thrown feet make it through the bisque just fine. I have coated them both in my ‘flowing white’ and dabbed some of the iron mix on the rims then pop them both in a cone 10 reduction. Both placed on Setters ‘just in case’ things go pear shaped.


I have to wait a whole weekend before I can get into the kiln. Happily both bowls of ‘storm clay’ emerge intact, not a pear to be seen. The clay looks great, the natural iron has bled nicely and both results show lots of potential.

100# clay below




30# clay below





The first coffee, possibly the title should read ‘Storm in a Coffee bowl’

So there we have it. left some foot prints and stole some clay nothing added however some sand was taken away ‘mother nature has plenty’ and I experienced real joy creating two special little pots.I highly recommend it!


The 2016 Sydney Teapot Show opens August 5th at The Inner City Clayworkers Gallery Glebe

teapot 2016

teapot invite 2016