Slow Clay Centre Guest Artist Workshop: Andrew Halford

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Slow Clay Centre is incredibly excited to offer this one-day workshop with experienced potter and ceramist Andrew Halford. Halford’s background with ceramics began as a child in the 1970‘s when pottery was THE thing! As a teenager his interest in Japanese ceramics began when he was apprenticed first to Shiga Shigeo (Sydney) and then to Les Blakeborough (Sturt Workshops, Mittagong). He followed this with a five year stint in Japan first with Shimaoka Tatsuzo (who subsequently was given the accolade of Living National Treasure for his slip inlay techniques) and then with Shimada Haruo making traditional large coiled & thrown vessels. Andrew’s career since then has been marked by some particular highs such as his work being collected by the National Gallery, Canberra and most state based galleries including the Powerhouse Museum. He has had sell-out solo exhibitions and has maintained his connection to Japan visiting there two year s ago for a reunion exhibition of the artists who trained at the Shimaoka studio. In the 1990‘s Andrew chose to lead a semi-reclusive life in the idyllic climes of the Hawkesbury River region has recently moved to an even more isolated location in Tasmania where he is establishing his new studio. His approach to his ceramics is underpinned by this lifestyle and philosophy of living in harmony with nature.

Halford's work is marked by a compelling combination of strength and softness. The strength is evident in his accomplished throwing skills, transcendent and harmonious, they are the bones of his work. The softness is evident in the surfaces and finishes, subtle slips, glazes and delicate inlaid surfaces with rolled rope reminiscent of his teacher Shimaoka Tatsuzo. In this rare demonstration workshop you will be mesmerised by Halford’s transcendent and powerful wheel-throwing techniques where the form is the basis for all that follows.

Demonstrations will include: 

  • a large range of his forms using his unique and powerful throwing techniques including throwing off the hump, sphere’s and large vessels.
  • turning and slip decoration and decorative inlaying of patterns and designs.

This will be an inspirational workshop for not just students but for established potters.

Slow Clay Centre’s founder, Jane Sawyer, was apprenticed to Halford in her early career and is extremely proud to offer this rare workshop. “Everyone throws on the pottery wheel differently and, like playing a musical instrument, it can be a direct extension of their personality and sense of pure personal expression when they are in harmony with the clay. Some throw hard and fast, others are light and soft. In Andrew’s case, he summons a deep inner strength and understanding of form yet has a softness and subtlety in his finishes like no other. Even if he is throwing a huge piece it looks totally effortless. I have seen many, many throwers in my life but Andrew has no equal for subtlety, strength and control” (Jane Sawyer, 2015)

When: Sunday May 21, 10am - 4pm

Where: Slow Clay Centre, 13 Keele St, Collingwood

Cost: $235 ($195 Earlybird)

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What you will learn
  • A rare chance to meet and learn from experienced and respected Australian potter Andrew Halford
  • See Andrew demonstrate his transcendant wheel throwing techniques and intricate surface inlay techniques
  • Hear about Andrew's humanistic philosophy and approach to ceramics
What you will get
  • Inspiration from one of Australia's most accomplished and experienced potter
  • Knowledge about delicate inlay techniques and how to get the best results
  • Knowledge about wheel-throwing, measuring for repetition, Japanese techniques, throwing off the hump, large forms

What to bring
  • Your eager self!
  • Notebook, pen and camera if you wish.
  • Plenty of questions for discussion


Slow Clay Centre

Vendor since 2013

Escape to Slow Clay Centre and learn the art of expression in clay. www.slowclay.com

Slow Clay Centre specialises in ceramics education and offers an extensive variety of ceramics and pottery classes throughout the year. Classes are offered on a weekly basis by the term, intensive weekends and short courses, and a rich variety of one-day guest artist workshops and forums. Catering for mostly adults, from beginners to advanced, we also have a Professional Development Program for serious practitioners. And some kid's classes so everyone can learn the art of working with clay!  Our enrolled students have priority to re-enrol each term and take advantage of our generous loyalty program providing free studio access (conditions apply). In this way we can help you to develop your skills to a high level. 

Our unique "Slow Clay" method (TM) for teaching the pottery wheel, established by Slow Clay Centre director and ceramic artist Jane Sawyer, has been taught for more than twenty five years. Based on the Japanese techniques Jane studied as an apprentice in Japan, in combination with western techniques, the "Slow Clay" method offers a synthesis of East and West. It provides ergonomic best-practice and a solid foundation for personal expression and confidence with clay. All our courses offer skill-based learning within a rich framework of contemporary art and design enquiry.

Based in a beautiful inner-city studio in Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia, the Slow Clay team consists of leading professional ceramic artists and experienced teachers who offer high-level teaching in a broad variety of topics - see our web site for teacher profiles. Together with other invited professionals for guest artist workshops and forums, we are a vibrant community of enthusiasts.

No matter what level you are, we welcome you to Slow Clay Centre where you can follow your personal pathway with clay!

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Refund & Cancellation Policy

Please choose carefully. Due to our limited class sizes once you've booked and paid either the deposit or the full fee we will only refund what you have paid if the class is cancelled by us. If you are unable to attend you may share the love and transfer your booking to a friend for no charge or, provided we can fill your place, you can hold your payment for up to 12 months for a future course.

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Terms & Conditions

Welcome to Slow Clay Centre!

We have some Terms & Conditions you need to know about:


These apply to all Slow Clay Centre classes/workshops/events:

  1. Deposit or full payment (depending on the course/workshop/event) must be made at the time of booking.
  2. Please choose carefully. Due to our limited class sizes once you've booked and paid either the deposit or the full fee we will only refund what you have paid if the class is cancelled by us. If you are unable to attend you may transfer your booking to a friend for no charge or, provided we can fill your place, we can hold your payment in credit for up to 12 months for any future course (you must pay the difference if the price is higher). 
  3. Please note: All students will receive a reminder three weeks before the start date with a link to pay the remaining balance with your credit card. Students who paid the deposit online will have the balance automatically deducted. Others will need to click on the link provided or ring our office on 99437844.
  4. Due to our limited class sizes, if your balance is not received three weeks before the start date we reserve the right to find a replacement student and if this is not possible we will keep your deposit.

Weekly classes: These additional conditions apply to all Slow Clay Centre weekly classes.

  1. Please note that making ceramics, particularly on the pottery wheel,  can be a physically demanding activity. If you have any pre-existing illnesses and/or chronic injuries to your back, shoulders, hips, neck, wrists or elbows we strongly advise you to seek a medical opinion before enrolling as some activities might exacerbate past injuries and we take no responsibility if this occurs. 
  2. We ask that you fully disclose any prior and/or ongoing illnesses or injuries that could affect you IN WRITING BY EMAIL before you enrol. 
  3. Your enrolment is conditional on your acceptance that Slow Clay Centre and/or the company's employees, whether casual, contract, or permanently employed, are indemnified against any exacerbation of any past or any new injuries.
  4. All work made during classes is to be used for personal, non-commercial purposes. This is individually negotiable for advanced students or for studio exhibitions but we ask students to accept that the emphasis of our classes is strictly on education not studio production
  5. Teaching fees are fully inclusive of materials but students will incur a single firing fee based on the current cost of $10 per kg weight after gloss firing.(no charge for biqsue firing)
  6. Collection of fired pieces: Please understand that our storage capacity is extremely limited. Students will be notified via email when work is ready to be collected. Work will only be retained for one month following this notification. No exceptions.

Regarding Kids Clay Club: 

  1. It is your responsibility to clearly report in writing on the enrolment form, any illness, allergy or disability that may affect your child's involvement in the Clay Club activities.
  2. Please respect our teachers and be prompt to arrive and collect your children. Do not arrive more than 5 minutes early to class or leave your children more than 5 minutes later than the class end.
  3. Children are expected to be mature enough to work in a group together, to respect everyone's needs and differences and to be polite.

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31 May 2017 • Slow Clay Centre Guest Artist Workshop: Andrew Halford

Learned so much about traditional Japanese techniques and simplicity of form with Andrew thanks Slow Clay for another incredible masterclass!