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Smoke-Fired Ceramics

With Ranjit Dhaliwal

2 August 2022 - 4 August 2022

3 day course 10am - 4pm

If you would like to experiment with Smoke-Fired Ceramics and sophisticated, yet easy-to-use ceramics firing techniques, then join Designer-Maker Ranjit Dhaliwal in this three-day course where he will introduce you to the exciting and intricate process of smoke-firing.

Ranjit is a ceramics design-maker, and popular Yodomo teacher, working with a range of Smoke-Fired Ceramic techniques from his home studio, based in Hoxton, London. Ranjit’s homeware is created with a focus on form, function, decoration and durability. His practice is influenced by the forms of modern European studio pottery, married with a bright colour palette that is inspired by his Indian heritage.

The course will be a hands-on introduction to Smoke-Fired Ceramics; utilising natural materials and our unique outdoor environment at Clayhill. Ranjit will guide you through the meticulous process of building a kiln and explore the effects of organic matter on your pieces through the magic of smoke.

Expect the unexpected!

By the end of the workshop you will:

  • Learn the fundamental principles of smoke-firing, including building your own kiln.
  • Feel inspired by how you might replicate these processes at home
  • Leave with your own ceramic pieces to take home

Please note you are welcome to bring along your own ceramics that have been bisque fired to 900 degrees. However, we can supply you with ceramics if you can’t bring along your own.

Ranjit Dhaliwal 

Ranjit Dhaliwal is a teacher and mentor at Turning Earth Ceramics Studio in London. His work has been featured in The Observer and the Guardian and he is well-known for his wide range of experimental techniques in his designs.

Ranjit's practice is influenced by the forms of modern European studio pottery, married with a bright colour palette that is inspired by his Indian heritage.

His decorative pieces are created using alternative kiln firings, exciting and unpredictable processes that use foraged and reused combustible materials.

Ranjit is drawn to the humble nature of a craft that is based on making things from the earth, dug from the ground, and the magical transformation that comes from subjecting it to intense heat. He feels a strong connection to the pottery tradition that goes back many millennia but still remains vital to the way we live now.

You can find Ranjit on the Crafts Council’s directory of makers

Ranjit firmly believes that art and craft should be accessible to all. H enjoys teaching classes at his own studio, Turning Earth, Skandihus, Birch Community, and regular workshops with Yodomo.

All our course days run from 10am till 4pm

Over the course of the three days we will have 3 different firings burning concurrently.

An incinerator bin firing for mainly small pieces: this is a fast firing which can be replicated easily at home - utilises a variety of combustible materials to gain many different effects and colours

A barrel firing for medium/ larger pieces - in an oil drum, this is slower, would be lit first (maybe even on the first evening) and achieves very deep smoky carbonisation of pieces

A pit firing for small pieces up to architectural scale - this takes place in a trench (2-3m x 1m) which has been dug into the ground. There are an incredible variety of effects can be achieved with this using foraged and sourced combustible materials.

Discussing the process of smoke firing and exploring different materials and their effects. We will be preparing some work for firing and loading and starting the first burn in the incinerator bin.

We will be preparing further work, loading and firing work in the barrel and pit fires within the Clayhill landscape over the duration of the day.

The big reveal! Discover what has happened to your pieces during the firing and we will look at cleaning them. We will discuss the effects and advice on how to finish your pieces with wax or other substances. Participants must wait 24 hours after cleaning them for the pieces to be dry enough to wax/finish.

We have a fantastic accommodation offer onsite, and would recommend staying here for the fully immersive Clayhill experience. All our accommodation is reserved for the students for the duration of the course and you will have a bedroom of your own. Our rooms have been converted from a series of old cattle sheds and from an old milking parlour and retain characterful features such as exposed wooden roof timbers and stone walls. Each bedroom has its own tea and coffee making facilities and outdoor seating area.

We also have an onsite laundry should you need to use these facilities during your stay with us. WIFI is available throughout the complex, heating and hot water is supplied by biomass technology, electricity by solar technology and all of the water around the site is fed by a natural spring.

Accommodation is offered at £80/night. If you would like to make your stay here more comfortable, you can also buy single additional nights before or after the course. (Please note any additional nights will not be catered, we are happy to recommend some local places to eat).

All courses at Clayhill Arts are fully catered, and our locally-sourced food is included in the price of your course ticket. If you do choose to stay with us a bespoke evening meal as well as breakfast and lunch will also be provided. To read more about our food offering, follow this link. About our catering

People who have already some experience/professional interest in ceramics, or creative professionals who would like to experiment with new techniques

Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear - we are going to be starting a fire and be working outside, so bear that in mind. It is also advised to bring a decent quality dust mask. Ranjit will provide some combustible materials but if you have any that you'd like to experiment with, please bring them along.

Yes! We provide refreshments throughout the day and a home-cooked lunch which is freshly prepared in our Granary kitchen. Lunch is served around our communal dining table, offering you a great chance to get to know everyone on the course and share in the making processes you have been developing throughout the day. Please advise us of any dietary requirements before arrival.

Yes! All of our bedrooms here at Clayhill are en-suite so you will have your own private space to retreat to and relax in after spending your day in the meditative space of the Studio. We provide you with your own towels and bathroom products for use throughout your stay and you can enjoy the extensive grounds well into the evening. If you do choose to stay with us a bespoke evening meal as well as breakfast and lunch will also be provided.

Buy Tickets


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Course ticket - Smoke-fired Ceramics
Day-time access, 10am - 4pm for each of the 3 days (2nd, 3rd, 4th August). Lunch included.
£ 350.00
1 available
Course Accommodation - Smoke fired ceramics
£80/night x 2 Nights of the 2nd and 3rd August Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners provided.
£ 160.00
0 available
Sold Out
Extra night - Before
An extra night before the start of the course. (1st August) Includes breakfast on the day the course begins.
£ 80.00
5 available
Extra night - After
Check out is at 10:30am on the 5th August An extra night after the course has ended. (4th August)
£ 80.00
7 available

We have also set up a payment plan so that you can spread the cost of the sessions over the next 4 months. You will find the option for doing this as you enter the checkout page.

Find out more about our Partial.ly Payment Plan here

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Working with Deborah and Michael was such a pleasure. They understood the project from the beginning, what the needs of the makers and our audiences would be, and acted as thoughtful ambassadors for the project when we were not able to be there. Every aspect of the exhibition and events was facilitated in such a calm and confident manner, which made my job of coordinating a group of artists so much easier! The whole event became a pivotal moment for the project, bringing people together in a way I could never have anticipated, and which has altered my thinking about the future of the project. Thank you for making us feel so welcome.


The weekend I spent at Clayhill Arts was a very welcome change of scenery to my otherwise urban setting. I felt calmed yet invigorated by the surroundings, and the accommodation was beautifully tasteful and very homely. The main space is wonderfully considered and very versatile - an ideal space for creativity and dynamic discussion. I left on the Sunday feeling energised and inspired by the experience of staying at Clayhill.


As a singer it has been one of the best spaces to sing in with generous reverberation and acoustics.  It is a space which complemented the type of instruments I was working with and the songs.


I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed being at your venue. It is a lovely and inspiring artistic space. The food was fantastic, homely yet unusual. I really enjoyed the day.


As an artist retreat, the venue at Clayhill Arts provided a warm and welcoming environment, allowing a safe and constructive space where individuals creative needs can be met. 


We were lucky enough to be able to take over the whole venue for a weekend, using the Granary as our base for experimentation, discussion and shared learning. The informality of the accommodation, and the relaxed surroundings, put everyone at ease and offered a space where cooperation and encouragement evolved naturally.


Everything was wonderful! This is a beautiful place. Thank you, we really enjoyed our stay.


Clayhill feels remote which is great but it also is close to Cannington which has everything, so supplies can be bought without travelling a great distance...I also really enjoyed that it is still a working farm, because it feels productive and there is such a lot of life around us which is very inspiring


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