Pottery at DVSA
About our programs
Home to a thriving community of potters, including The Hamilton’s Potter’s Guild, the town of Dundas has historically been a hotbed for ceramic art. Our Pottery Studio at Dundas Valley School of Art remains a cornerstone of this community. We offer some of the most complete facilities in the Hamilton/Burlington region and courses taught by the region’s finest potters and ceramic artists.
The DVSA Pottery Studio is equipped with over 15 throwing wheels, including standing wheels and a wheelchair accessible wheel. There are large bench spaces for hand-building projects, a glazing room with a wide selection of glazes/finishes, and electric and gas kilns for firing both Cone 6 and Cone 10 pieces. A raku kiln is also located outside the studio.
Pottery classes are designed to accommodate both beginner and advanced potters. Significant group and individual instruction is provided throughout and a collective exchange of ideas and knowledge is encouraged, shaping a creative and collaborative studio experience. Studio time is essential to a potter’s development and Open Studio sessions are made available throughout the week. For those looking to further their skills, a number of shorter workshops are provided throughout the year offering specialized instruction in hand-building, throwing and glazing techniques.
Beginner potters can expect to begin with hand-building exercises, making pinch pots, coil pots, slab pots and more. Hand-building projects provide a sensory experience with the clay, revealing its plasticity and molding ability. Throwing on the wheel is often much easier once you have experience working with the clay and have a sense of what it will do.
On the pottery throwing wheel, beginner potters learn the basics of centering, opening and bringing up the side walls to create simple to more complex functional pieces. Anticipate a learning curve. Being able to throw pots, bowls and more on the wheel can be very gratifying – however, it takes some practice and patience to become competent at it. Students will learn to trim their dried clay creations, come to understand the various kiln processes and receive instruction on how to apply glazes to create finished ceramic pieces.
Intermediate to advanced students can expect to be taught new techniques and concepts, and tackle projects that introduce an increasing level of complexity and challenge. Different clays, such as white and specked clay, Cone 10 stoneware, porcelain, raku and sculptural clay are presented as optional materials to work with. Our instructors, all of whom are also working artists, offer continual mentorship and creative guidance.
A demanding yet rewarding medium, pottery offers the opportunity to improve hand-eye coordination and work three-dimensionally to create shape and form – an essential foundation for developing artists. Many people find working with clay to be relaxing, almost meditative, and enjoy the collaborative social setting of the pottery studio as they work to bring their ideas to life.