Wild Pottery – Level 2
July 19-21 (Fri-Sun incl)
10.30am – 5pm
Venue: 70 acre ancient coppiced woodland on a family-run working farm: peaceful and beautiful Dernwood Farm Nr Heathfield, East Sussex.
Over 3 days you’ll learn how to make wild pottery using clay you dig from the woods, decorate it with natural pigments and then fire it in a clamp kiln. Clamp kiln firing is a more complex technique than the open firing we do in Wild Pottery Level 1. And because it burns for a significantly longer time, it results in stronger ceramic pots.
This course provides a thorough understanding of all the processes involved in making wild pottery, and gives you a hands-on appreciation of the origins of this craft. The tools, equipment and technology we’ll be using are, as far as is known, the same as those used since Neolithic times, when pottery began, and well into the Bronze age.
The making: the whole of the first day will be for making your pots. You’ll dig your own clay from the woods as you did on Level 1, but will prep it slightly differently. You’ll learn more complex construction techniques for your pots than you did on Level 1 and will also be able to consolidate your existing skills. A range of natural earth pigments will be available for you to decorate your pots if you wish, using various natural brushes.
The firing: on the second day we’ll set up the clamp kiln together. This is a wonderful team activity: prepping and bringing together the various elements, including wood, fire and earth. Once the clamp kiln’s up and running, it will burn through the night to the following day. At times we’ll need to keep a close eye on the kiln and monitor its progress. At other times there’ll be a chance to enjoy some down time in the beautiful woods. Because of the nature of the firing process and the variables involved, daily timings will vary a bit as we respond to the kiln.
Timings: this is essentially a 2.5 day course spread over 3 days. Day 1 will be slightly longer, and day 3 will be a half day in the afternoon.
Groups are kept small to allow for individual attention.
A simple but hearty vegetarian lunch is provided (on days 1 & 2), we’ll have have a kettle on the camp fire, plus a huge tarp on hand for cover in case we need it. I aim to offer you a satisfying learning experience as well as an enjoyable time away from it all. To support you in getting the most from the days, we’ll connect to the woodland surroundings through a short and simple, guided mindfulness-based practice.
It was great to work together communally and use our physical bodies to dig, knead, mould, sweep, build, blow, and wait. I really loved it and felt my body just relax and feel more solid… an effect I wasn’t expecting!
Thank you so much for providing such a beautiful space, and for sharing these valuable crafts and techniques with us. VT, Sussex
Accommodation: camping is available at the farm venue, full details about this will be sent to you when you book on the course. The farm also has glamping options- cosy bell tents and cabins with wood-burners. The cost of staying at the farm isn’t included in the cost of the course. Read more about onsite and offsite accommodation options.
You can read FAQs here.
See you in the woods!
*This course is designed for people who’ve already attended Level 1 Wild Pottery with me, as it builds directly on that knowledge. Very ocasionally I can waiver the prerequisite of Level 1, if you have previous experience of successfully firing wild clay pots in an open fire. Please get in touch if this is the case for you, with details of your experience.
*You don’t need to have done Level 1.5 before joining Level 2. Only Level 1 is required.
The clay: Native Hands has a special agreement with the farm venue to dig small amounts of clay with participants on Wild Pottery courses. This permission does not extend to people who are not part of the group on the day of the course.
Featured in the Guardian lifestyle section. National Geographic & Toyota put Native Hands in their top 125 UK adventures.