Short courses in 2019

Our shorter courses are great for those without the luxury of five days to indulge themselves – but you’ll still benefit from a solid creative hit! Browse below for details on our 2019 courses.

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311: ceramics

Tutor: ELENA RENKER | Fee: $280 (Incl materials $30)

*Please note:

1) This workshop has changed since our original ceramics tutor, Jack Tilson, is now no longer available. Instead we have the highly experienced Elena Renker, who specialises in beautiful Shino-glazed Japanese pottery.

2) This workshop is two days long and is being run twice. Monday 6 and Tuesday 7, (full) then Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 May - 9.30 to 3.30pm both days. There will also be a two-hour session to glaze your work on Friday May 17.

311A: Mon 6 / Tue 7 may, 9.30am-3.30pm
morris & James Pottery, matakana *one left!

311B: weds 8 / thurs 9 may, 9.30am-3.30pm
morris & James Pottery, matakana *one left!

then for glazing:

friday 17 may at elena’s studio at long bay
311A: 10am-12pm
311B: 2pm-4pm

Elena Renker workshop

Elena creates functional ware whose beauty is matched by its usefulness. She both hand-builds her work and uses a pottery wheel and mostly uses Shino, an ancient Japanese glazing technique which dates back to the mid 1500s.

Shino combines ground feldspar (a common type of silicate mineral) with clay to produce glazes which when fired slowly in wood or gas kilns (electric kilns will not produce the same effect) produce white, rich orange and red tones with fascinating organic textures.

Shino’s most desirable features – crazing, crawling and pin holing – are considered to be faults in other glazes. But they produce ceramics which are the essence of the Japanese philosophy of ‘wabi sabi’. Directly translated this means ‘sad beauty’, but is better described with the words imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

In this workshop you’ll be introduced to Shino-glazed functional ware. You’ll learn how to hand-form or hand-carve tea or sake bowls (there will be no pottery wheels) over two days at Morris & James Pottery in Matakana.

Your work will be dried there and the following week you’ll apply your Shino glazes at Elena’s ceramics studio in Long Bay. Elena will then finish them in her own wood-fired kiln and the final results will be transported back to Morris & James for pickup (note - this may take at least ten days as the cooling process has to be long and slow with this work). 

Elena’s bio

Elena was born in Cologne, Germany, but her first introduction to pottery was in 1977 as a young girl of 18, in Pondicherry, India. A few years later she began more structured learning from a Canadian potter back in Germany.

She then studied graphic design in Germany, graduating in 1982, but after starting a family and moving to New Zealand Elena’s creative career was put on hold. In 1999 she rediscovered pottery and began lessons at Auckland Studio Potters, then completed a diploma in ceramic art at Otago Polytechnic, finishing in 2007.

Over recent years, Elena’s passion for wood-fired ceramics has taken her to China, Korea, Denmark, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and back to Germany. It induced her to build her own wood-fired kiln at her home near Long Bay; she repeated this experience in China.

She has exhibited her work around the world and received a number of accolades and awards.


312: knife-making

Tutor: adam fromholtz | Fee: $350 per day

PLEASE NOTE: Adam will teach three workshops: all day on Sunday 5 [this one is now full, sorry!], then either both mornings on Monday and Tuesday, or both afternoons on Monday and Tuesday [also full!].

312A: knife-making – sunday May 5, 8am-5pm *FULL*

312B: knife-making – mornings mon/tues 8am-12pm

312c: knife-making – afternoons mon/tues 1pm-5pm *FULL*

This workshop will be an introduction to making knives. Designing, grinding, heat treating, blade finishes, scale-making and sharpening are all covered. You’ll learn about the techniques and tools to get started making your own knives with minimal equipment, and you'll develop all the skills you need by making your own full-tang knife in one day.

(Note: Scales are the two pieces of material which are put together and used to make the handle of a knife. A tang, or shank, is the back portion of the blade component of a knife where it extends into the handle. Thus a full-tang knife has the blade extending the full length of the handle.) 

adam’s bio

Adam Fromholtz is one of the talented bladesmiths at Tharwa Valley Forge, a blacksmithing facility near Canberra. The forge is the largest of its type in the world and has been running since 2003. Adam began making knives at a young age but went on to work professionally in a range of technical and trade roles, including as a mechanic and metal fabricator. However, he rediscovered his passion and was able to utilise a formidable blend of technical skill and creativity to make a unique and diverse range of knives including Damascus steel art knives, Steampunk-inspired barrel knives and his signature cheese axes. Adam also works in wood, leather and plastic.