Bowled over by workshop

I'VE built many bowls before - coil, pinch and slab - but I've never built one as good as the jellyfish motif bowl I produced while accompanying my son on the What's for Breakfast ceramic workshop with Renton Bishopric from Stamp Your Feet.

Joining a group of nine-year-olds, I quietly listened to Renton's clear instruction on how to build the bowl using a plaster mould, laying down a pattern with different shapes and patterned clay.

Renton demonstrated with a fish patterned with netting then surrounded by little spirals and seaweed, which was patterned with fern leaves.

Explaining that it was important not to press too hard on the clay in order not to lose the pattern, Renton then handed out moulds and clay and we all started building.

Having been stung by a jellyfish earlier in the week I thought I would mark the occasion by making my bowl with a jellyfish floating around the rim and their tentacles trailing to the base.

Aware that I only had three short hours to complete my bowl, I set to work roughly cutting out jellyfish shapes and squeezing soft clay through a garlic press to produce the tentacles.

I gently laid my shapes down inside the mould filling in the gaps with spirals and seaweed.

I smoothed out the inside of the bowl with a sponge and water before removing the completed bowl from its mould to reveal my design. I was more excited than most of the children in the class, who coolly showed off their masterpieces.

"Ceramics is a medium that a lot of people no longer have the opportunity to work with," Renton said.

"It's a full evolution of creativity, from idea, to drawing, to the three-dimensional form."

Children attending the workshops will explore various ceramic processes and can attend just one or multiple classes.

 So if you feel that its time to put the computer games away and get some clay on those hands, then this is the perfect way to fill in your school holidays.

Fast Facts

With a focus on having fun and a goal of teaching kids new skills, Stamp Your Feet's ceramic workshops for kids are the perfect holiday activity. A variety of programs are on offer, running Monday to Wednesday throughout January at the Bush Café in Byfield and are suited for ages five and up.

A three-hour workshop will cost $50 and discounts are available for package bookings. With small class sizes, everybody will get the most out of their time working with a professional artist and so places are limited and bookings are essential. For detailed program information or to make a booking contact Renton by phone on 0448269472 or by email Stamp Your Feet are currently putting together a 2012 adults workshops program.

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