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Learning Ceramics in Ubud, Bali

Creativity Jun 16, 2017

It’s the last post from our Creative Escape to Bali!  So sad to be getting to the end of all these write ups – it’s been like reliving it every time I’ve drafted one…. Clearly I’m going to have to book another trip soon.

Last but not least? Our ceramics workshop. I’ve been wanting to learn ceramics for so so long, but have never found the right place (or, any place). When I discovered Gaya Ceramics on Instagram I loved the look and feel of it, and so booked us in straight away for a class. It was such a lovely experience, even though as a beginner it’s easy to feel useless at such a technical craft, just getting our hands dirty was satisfying beyond belief.

Our Ceramics Class

Anyone who knows me knows all about my addiction to ceramics – cups and bowls in particular, but I’ll take what I can get! Nothing makes me happier than the perfectly imperfect element of hand thrown mugs, and so naturally I’ve needed to try  this for some time.

Where

We did our class at Gaya Ceramics Arts Centre, which  is located on the outskirts of Ubud, and it’s soooo pretty! The open air, light filled studio space  is the perfect setting for spontaneous overflows of creativity…. and for getting seriously dirty.

When

Gaya offers private classes all the time, and we booked one of those because we were in Ubud at the beginning of the week.  Another option if you can make it work is Throwing Thursdays, where you do a few hours of classes in a group and can then spend the rest of the day working on your own projects in the studio. I think this is the most affordable option too! The only complicating factor is that it takes a month or so for your piece to be fired, so if you’re travelling you will need to have it sent to you.

What We Learnt

As part of the private class we were given an option for what we wanted to do – hand modelling like coiling or throwing on the wheel. Because of the amazing set up I couldn’t go past the wheel lesson… and it was such an eye opener! I think you get so used to seeing videos of it and people just make it look so easy, but it turns out so much strength and technique goes into it. Plus there is lots of new terminology to learn (to the untrained ear there seemed to be a lot of sexual innuendo!).

First we learnt how to prepare the clay, then how to place it on the wheel. We were instructed about how to use the wheel, and then got started throwing, learning about the various shapes you have to create with the clay to get it into the right shape for creating a bowl or a cup. Turns out it takes a lot of arm work and my arms were hurting so much after!

I wish I could give you more detail about how to do it yourself, but it’s truly something you you learn through doing. Not to mention the complicated wheel! Book yourself a class to try it out. It was a truly lovely way to spend a day.

Speaking on spending a day, it felt like a lot of the people in the studio, all going about their own business, had taken longer stints of time to work on their skills, like hiring sections of the studio and working out of them for months. What an amazing thing to do!

Starting the day with ceramics!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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