Ceramic artist / studio potter Jane Sawyer gives a rare demo

Touch : Respond

wheel throwing demo and talk by Jane Sawyer

Live via Zoom
Over 50 people have attended this class


This online workshop is presented by Slow Clay Centre and Craft Victoria's Craft Contemporary 2021 Festival and will be delivered via Zoom. It will include a demonstration, a visual presentation and Q & A.

"Jane Sawyer's teasing vessels are finely balanced between awkwardness and elegance, indolence and vitality, playfulness and solemnity. They are forever in a state of becoming" *

Jane Sawyer will demonstrate some of the many techniques that have evolved over the past two decades from her unique free-style wheel throwing to her signature altering, manipulating and slip coating.  A visual presentation showing the underlying threads of the development of Jane's style will punctuate the demonstrations. Jane is looking forward to a lively exchange about making ceramics and living a life around clay and pots.

Jane's work is based on the premise that the maker, the material and the method dwell within a an equal and symbiotic dynamic relationship. Opening our awareness through touch and response can provide a meaningful pathway to evolving through clay . Jane draws on a blend of contemporary design, craft practice and conceptual curiosity. Versatile ceramic objects that sit somewhere between sculpture and function engage both the tactile and the visual senses, breaking down distinctions between art, craft and design, and provoking innovative use.

“Fluid, gestural and tactile, my ceramic art reflects an interest in, or perhaps an obsession with materiality, movement and engagement through the sense of touch. The physicality of the relationship between clay and our bodies interests me. Clay, like flesh, responds to and reflects touch. Using very soft clay and wet slip (a creamy clay coating) the fluidity of the material encourages movements to be simplified, refined and “choreographed” – an essence of the expression of gesture. Through this language of touch I seek to provoke intimacy and connection, from the wet clay to the "fired-frozen" object and it's life beyond my studio. Objects that will inhabit other environments whether domestic, gallery or landscape, can provide multiple dimensions for reading and provoke unique responses."

More:  www.janesawyer.com.au

All welcome, although some understanding of ceramic terminolgy will be helpful. 


Jane Sawyer is the founding director of Slow Clay Centre and lives her life centred around clay.  She completed a degree in art education majoring in ceramics which led directly to specialist full-time ceramics training with Andrew Halford, Sydney(1982-85) and Shussai-gama, Japan(1985-87). Jane’s first studio was in Edinburgh, Scotland(1987-1990) from where she exhibited throughout the UK. She returned to Autralia in 1990 and established a studio in inner city Melbourne. She is a passionate educator and founded Slow Clay Centre in 2012 to provide a comprehensive ceramics educational facility. Jane holds an MFA by research (RMIT, 2002) titled The Evocative Object, which investigated the power of the functional object to communicate through the sense of touch. Her ceramic practice has taken her to residencies and exhibitions in UK, Denmark and Japan and her work has received many awards and is held in institutional and private collections. Jane has served on the board of Craft Victoria,The World Crafts Council - Australia and is an exhibiting member of the International Academy Ceramics. 


info@slowclay.com or call 03 99437844.

*Peter Timms, The Age Newspaper, arts review, 2007

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What you will learn

  • See Jane's unique fresh throwing of large manipulated pieces
  • Hear about her journey with clay including her training in Japan and how her work has evolved since
  • Q & A discussion

What you will get

  • new knowledge and inspiration!

What to wear

stilettos are fine seeing as we are on Zoom! (Normally we would say leave them at home!)

Appropriate for

This workshop will interest advanced wheel throwers to expand their practice and beginners to be inspired

Slow Clay Centre

(590 Reviews)

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

Slow Clay Centre specialises in ceramics and pottery education. 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. We also offer a popular single session "taster class" once per week.  Look out for our Professional Development Program for serious practitioners! And some kid's classes so everyone can learn the art of working with clay!  

Our enrolled weekly students receive 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 thirty years. Based on the Japanese techniques Jane studied training as a production thrower 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 guest professional artists for workshops and forums, we are a vibrant community and wish to share our passion for clay with everyone who is keen, no matter what level.

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4.7 (19 reviews)
Jillrated it
10 Oct 2021
I have always admired Jane's terracotta works and it was very interesting to listen to her talk about her work and to see her approach to throwing and altering forms to produce her beautiful relaxed works. Thank you Jane and all involved for an inspiring workshop.
Slow Clay Centre 05 Apr 2022

Thanks Jill, so great to have you there. 

Caterated it
07 Oct 2021
Touch : Respond was a wonderfully informative and illuminating virtual workshop from Slow Clay Centre. Jane shared her influences, inspiration, and techniques generously and although slightly plagued by technical sound issues managed to impart this knowledge clearly to all watching. The two hours flew by, my creativity is invigorated, and has me wanting to get back into the studio asap.
Slow Clay Centre 18 Dec 2021

Thanks so much Cate - so please you got so much out of it! 

Moyrarated it
05 Oct 2021
The time just flew! It was well prepared and well presented.... some history, some personal bits and lots to wonder at and emulate. What a great couple of hours so it's not surprising I was looking for more as it was drawing to a close. Excellent all round investment of time..
Slow Clay Centre 06 Oct 2021

so pleased you enjoyed it!

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Cancellations & Refunds

If the organiser cancels the class:

You are entitled to a full refund.

If you can't attend the class:

  • A transfer can be requested 14 days before the class starts. An admin fee of AU$15.00 applies.
  • A credit note can be requested 14 days before the class starts. An admin fee of AU$15.00 applies.

No changes will be allowed after these times.

We recommend the refund upgrade option upon checkout in case you’re not able to attend the class. Learn more about refund upgrade option.

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 transfer you to another class or hold your payment in credit for up to 12 months for any future course (there's a $15 fee for transfer or credit note and you must pay the difference if the new course 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 before you enrol AND inform your teacher in person during the first class. 
  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.($5/kg charge for biqsue firing only).
  6. Please note: you must pay the firing fee for everything that you put in the kiln. If it cracks, glaze drips, or you just don't like it, you are still required to pay the firing fee!
  7. 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 two weeks 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, allergies 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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