Debra Sloan: Masterclass

Debra Sloan's 'Janet Leach' Roof Finial

Debra Sloan's 'Janet Leach' Roof Finial

5 Day Roof Finial Workshop

12-16 March 2018, 10am-4pm

Make your own roof finial in the West Country tradition - your very own guardian to sit on a roof tile.

All welcome: anyone with, or without ceramic skills will find the course equally enjoyable and accessible.

Maximum number of students: 6
Cost: £450.


In honour of the Leach Horseman recently on display in the current 'That Continuous Thing' exhibition at the Tate, St Ives, we will work with the idea of roof finials or guardians: a tradition of the West Country.  simply bring ideas and images of what kind of guardian you would like to make. If you are unsure of what to do, there will also be images to choose from.  In addition to a short slide show about roof finials, the course comprises:

  • Three days building

  • Two days finishing.

Hand building (sculpture) is an open and exploratory experience, and Debra conducts the class to make the process accessible. Handwork is very a different experience from throwing pots, it is about imaginative structure. Beginners and experienced makers alike are welcomed.  Though technical skills are helpful, beginners can make expressive and cogent work.

At the end of the workshop, you should have one or two figure/finials that will be fired in the Leach Pottery kilns.  Collection of the pieces will be possible about 4-6 weeks after the workshop. Once these pieces are fired, they can be cemented onto a ridge tile and placed on your own roof to honour the ridge tile tradition of the West Country.

The Leach Pottery Provides

  • Some hand tools, but please bring any tools you may have

  • A generic earthenware ridge tile for you to work from

  • A bisque firing, and a final firing in the gas kiln, so that your pieces are weather proof for mounting on the roof

  • black and white clay slips for surface decoration and detail.

 Please Provide

  • A packed lunch, (we will provide tea & coffee)

  • Any tools you may have, knives, sticks etc., a towel, pencil and paper, dry-cleaner plastic, large sponges, and short fingernails :)

  • An image you would like to work with if you have one in mind. Finials can be anything you can imagine - abstracted or representational. We will discuss the images and how to make them.