Student information

What will I learn?

Clay College Stoke will offer a skills-based, full-time ceramics course for 14 students, taught by professional potters over two years. The course will be intensive, condensing a 3 year curriculum into 2 years, with each year consisting of 45 weeks over three terms.

Students will be taught all aspects of design, throwing, glazing, kiln building and firing, alongside traditional hand building and decoration techniques. This will be augmented by modules focusing on business and marketing which will offer students the opportunity to become self-sufficient, developing their own business model to suit their work. On completion of the course, students will have had the opportunity to learn the technical skills, creativity and practical wisdom necessary to establish a successful ceramic studio or to join a production pottery.

The structure of the course will follow a sequence of projects, which will combine practical skills with theory, creating an integrated approach to learning. There will be assessments at the end of the projects and at the end of the year. The final year assessment will be combined with preparation for and presentation of work for an exhibition in the gallery space at the college.

Clay College will provide a creative environment to nurture an individual’s development and growth, teaching the combination of knowledge and proficiency in process and technical skills, and the creativity and awareness needed to make great ceramics.

The course

How is this different from other courses on offer?

The focus will be on core skills and use of materials. Students will also be taught business and marketing skills. The core curriculum and specialist masterclasses will be taught by potters who make their living from their craft and will offer a holistic approach, teaching all the skills, knowledge and techniques necessary for students to set up as practicing potters.

We have close ties with potteries across the UK through our apprentice scheme as well as start-up studios, and overseas potteries who are interested in exchange placements, so we can also help you with your next steps after completion of the course.

During the programme there will be opportunities to learn more about how to run your own business, including marketing, pricing, finance, working with clients, ecommerce and social media. You will also receive hands-on experience of designing and making new work to commission.

Middleport Pottery receives 40,000 visitors a year and the gallery space at Clay College Stoke will house exhibitions of students work, giving you the opportunity to display, present and sell your work to a wide range of visitors and collectors.

We have close ties with the CPA and the organisers of the annual ceramic fairs in the UK and will work with them to create opportunities for you to sell your work at craft fairs and galleries further afield.

We know how important it is for makers to present their work to the highest possible standard on social media as well as in galleries and at fairs, so you will learn how to light and photograph your work and to use social media to build a coherent brand and professional identity. You will also have the opportunity to gain valuable experience of teaching at the evening classes that the college will run for people from the local community.


Who will teach me?

We are very pleased to announce that Kevin Millward has been appointed as Course Director. Kevin has been potting for over forty five years. Following training at art college in the late 60s and early 70s, he spent the next four years working in studios perfecting his production throwing skills before moving on to industry on the technical side. Three years later he set up his first studio and also taught at the local college, which led to thirty five years of teaching at Universities throughout the UK.

Kevin has acquired an unrivalled reputation for his workshops, seminars and demonstrations on all aspects of making for potters groups and suppliers of ceramic materials throughout the UK and Europe. Over the last ten years his great understanding of industrial processes has allowed him to be involved with the design and development of some of the best-selling, industrially produced tableware in Europe and the United States. This has always run parallel to producing his own work that can be found in leading galleries and museum collections as diverse as the Wedgwood Museum and the Japanese Embassy in London.

Almost from the start of his potting career he has been involved in a variety of TV work such as game shows, Time Team, Coronation Street and children’s programs and most recently as the Programme Consultant to ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’. Kevin also regularly contributes to books and articles for ceramics magazines. In 2017, A&C Black will publish his book on Surface Decoration.

Kevin’s expert and supportive one-to-one tuition will be augmented by masterclasses in specialist areas, taught by visiting master potters, alongside the best of contemporary and international makers. We have an amazing list of potters who have offered to pass on their skills and knowledge at the college, including Svend Bayer, Clive Bowan, Magdalene Odundo, Walter Keeler and Takeshi Yasuda.


Costs, funding and bursaries

Course fees for students from EU countries will be £9000 per year, due in full prior to the start of each academic year.

It is our belief that the cost of a course at Clay College Stoke should not prevent a talented potter from receiving the best education and we are fund-raising with the aim to provide bursaries to help eligible students with course fees.

What if I am applying from a country outside the EU?

Applications from overseas are very welcome but will need to provide proof of eligibility to study in the UK as part of the application process.

Fees for non-EU students are £13,000 per year, due in full prior to the start of each academic year.