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Smoke-fired Ceramics

With Ranjit Dhaliwal

19th February - 21st February

If you would like to experiment with a sophisticated yet easy-to-use ceramics firing technique, then join Ranjit Dahliwal in this three-day course where he will introduce you to the exciting 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 in Hoxton, London. 

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. 
  • 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.

Accommodation can be provided with this course

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 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.

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.


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Smoke-fired Ceramics [10:00am -4:00pm]
£ 350.00
6 available
Smoke-fired Ceramics + accommodation
£ 510.00
6 available


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.


The course will cover 3 different firing techniques which will be used throughout the 3 days. This will include:

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

A barrel firing for medium/ larger pieces – in an oil drum, this is slower and is lit early in the process. This technique achieves a very deep smoky carbonisation of pieces.

A pit firing for small pieces up to architectural scale – in a trench (2-3m x 1m) dug in the ground. This creates an incredible variety of effects using foraged and sourced combustible materials.

Day 1

Morning – Discussing and explaining the smoke firing process. Explore the impact of different materials and their effects on the smoke fired process.


Afternoon – Preparing work for smoke firing. Loading and starting the first burn.

Day 2

Preparing more work for smoke firing and loading and firing alternative smoke fired pits.

Day 3

Morning – The big reveal! Cleaning final pieces and discussing the effects of different materials on the smoke firing process.


Finishing the pieces with wax or other substances (participants must wait 24 hours after cleaning them for the pieces to be dry enough to wax/finish)



Safety is paramount here at Clayhill Arts and we have taken several precautions here at our venue to ensure your safety. During this course, we will be making use of camera and AV equipment to explore the intricacies of the craft to safely instruct your work at a safe 2m distance.

For our complete guidance, click here.

Is this course catered?

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, maintaining social distance whilst offering you a 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.

Can I stay? 

Yes! We can provide accommodation with this course in one of our on-site bedrooms. All rooms are private and en-suite with all linen, towels, and bathroom products provided. A continental breakfast is also included along with lunch, evening meals, and refreshments throughout your stay with us.

Are there funding opportunities 

Not on this occasion.

Who is this course suitable for?

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

What do I need to wear?

Bring a decent quality dust mask.

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear – we are going to be starting a fire and be working outside.

What do I need to bring with me? 

Ranjit will provide combustible materials but if you have any that you’d like to experiment with, please bring them along.

We will be providing a variety of finishing materials. However, if you would like to bring your terra sigillata,  renaissance wax for fine clay,  burnished pieces, or Plasti-kote for more open textured clays. Clear furniture wax or even ordinary car wax would also work. A soft (non-fluffy) cloth is also needed.

Where are you?

Clayhill Arts is situated 4 miles outside of the historic market town of Bridgwater, Somerset. Easily accessible from the motorway – it is 15 minutes from the M5 (J23/J24), 30 mins from Taunton, and 2.5 hrs from London via the A303. It is also only 50 mins from both Bristol and Exeter airports. 

By train, Bridgwater station is 10 minutes away, and Taunton station 30 minutes. Use local taxi firm Broadway Taxis: 01278 422442 from the station, or make your way to Bridgwater Bus station and take the number 14 service to Cannington.

The nearest stop to Clayhill Arts is at the bottom of Sandford Hill where it is a 15 minute walk, heading over the roundabout onto Charlynch Lane.

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