4 December + 18 December 2021

TUTOR Nicola Henderson  
DATES & TIMES: Saturday 4th December (10am-12.30pm) + Saturday 18th December (10am-2pm) 2021
PRICE £90 per person
LOCATION Art Studios, House for an Art Lover

Kurinuki is a traditional Japanese form of hand-building involving shaping a solid block of clay and carving/hollowing out a vessel. It is a more sculptural approach to making with clay compared with the usual methods of wheel throwing or methods of hand building.  

The course makes an ideal entry point for beginners who wish to try their hand at making with clay but is also suitable for those with experience who may wish to develop their own project ideas during the first workshop. This course involves two different workshops.  

Day One – Hand-Building Workshop 

The first workshop introduces kurinuki techniques of sculpting, involving adding texture and form through carving, cutting, scraping and hitting the clay. You will have time to make three or four kurinuki vessels (depending on size, detail and complexity), for example, sake cups, box with lid, bottle or vase forms. Focus will be on a more spontaneous work process, employing techniques that endow the finished pieces with a sense of ‘aliveness’. The characteristics of raku fired ceramics along with an explanation of the effects of flames and smoke on pieces during the reduction process will be discussed, as well as how we will be using glazes for the surface decoration of work.   

Day Two – Glazing & Raku Firing Workshop 

The second workshop introduces students to the basic glazing techniques of pouring and splashing, which work best for the decoration of textured kurinuki pieces. Once students have glazed all their pieces, they will assist in the setting up of the raku kiln and reduction bins in the courtyard. The raku firing process incorporates a fast kiln firing, a transfer of the pots from the kiln into the reduction bins, followed by plunging them into cold water and a final cleaning with steel wool to remove the excess carbon. The student work will be ready to take home immediately on completion of the firings.  

Learning Outcomes for Japanese ‘Kurinuki’ & Raku Firing Course 

  1. Techniques to control and shape clay, exploring the nature of clay – learning to carve clay, and use the pinch pot technique, use of specific tools for carving and shaping. 
  2. Tactile sensitivity and mindfulness – develop kinetic awareness of form through development of thickness/thinness of walls and floors. Slowing down and bringing attention back to the self, focusing on the feel of the clay and transformation of the clay into a vessel/organic form. 
  3. Free up and loosen your ideas of what is ‘perfect’, understand and appreciate more Eastern, asymmetrical forms and the ‘wabi sabi’ aesthetic.  
  4. Health and safety issues surrounding clay – things you should be aware of. 
  5. Basic introduction to glazing kurinuki vessels, understanding characteristics of raku glazes, and the effects of flame and smoke during the reduction process.   
  6. Introduction and background to raku/western raku firing – brief history and explanation of the difference between Japanese raku and newer western raku. 

Nicola Henderson graduated with an FdA in Contemporary Ceramic Practice from Newcastle College (distinction) in 2013, and with a first class BA (Hons) in Contemporary Art Practice from City of Glasgow College in 2016. Nicola has exhibited her work throughout Scotland and England, and her ceramic work ‘Echoes’ won the House for an Art Lover exhibition prize at the 2016 Scottish Society of Artist’s annual exhibition. She is based at the Glasgow Ceramic Studios in the East End of Glasgow. 


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