About Masterclass: smoke firing with Mary Branson

One course with three sessions on:

Saturday 8 June 2024, 10am - 4pm

Saturday 6 July 2024, 2 - 4.30pm

Sunday 7 July 2024, 2 - 4.30pm

Join artist Mary Branson for this special smoke firing masterclass course where you will learn how to build vessels and fire with traditional smoke firing techniques.

Perfect for both beginners and seasoned artisans, enjoy a hands-on approach to mastering the ancient art of smoke firing. Over the course of several sessions, you will learn and practice the techniques needed to create stunning, one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces. From building durable vessels to applying intricate surface details, this workshop covers it all.

What you will learn:

Building vessels: gain insight into crafting pottery robust enough to withstand the smoke firing process, ensuring your creations emerge strong and beautiful.

Burnishing techniques: discover the art of burnishing to enhance the surface detail of your pots, giving them a smooth, appealing finish.

Surface decoration: explore various materials and methods to add unique marks and vibrant colours to your pottery through the alchemy of smoke.

Packing and firing: learn the intricacies of packing the oil drum and building a fire for smoking, a crucial step that infuses your pieces with character.

Cleaning and polishing: complete your creation process by cleaning and polishing your pots, readying them for display or use.

Don't miss this incredible opportunity to learn from experienced artist Mary Branson and connect with fellow ceramics enthusiasts. Whether you're looking to refine your skills or embark on a new artistic journey, our smoke firing masterclass is the perfect setting to explore the boundless possibilities of clay, creating pottery that blends art, science, and the magic of smoke firing!

About the artist

Mary Branson is best known for her large scale conceptual light sculptures and installations, particularly the iconic ‘New Dawn’ 2016 sculpture in the Houses of Parliament, which celebrates the centenary of the Suffrage movement and is the first permanent piece of contemporary abstract art in the Palace of Westminster.
She has created light and sound works for the London 2012 Olympics, Royal Holloway University and most recently ‘Harvest’ a huge site specific installation at Box Hill Surrey in collaboration with Surrey Hills and the National Trust, highlighting the plight of farmers facing climate change.

At the beginning of 2019 Mary transformed Salisbury Cathedral into an ethereal construction site.

She is an award-winning print maker, a choreographer for a number of performance and dance events, and a mentor and public speaker, having lately returned from a lecture tour to New York and Washington.

Using familiar objects and materials, and experimenting with scale, light, colour and multiplicity, Branson wants to form new environments that are stimulating, playful, and questioning of the existing polemics concerning art and the space it inhabits.

Branson enjoys the challenge of using landscape and architecture as a backdrop to site-determined pieces. She often works with teams of volunteers to help her realise her ambitious uses of scale and finds the shared ownership of the community as an important part of her artistic process.

She has held a number of artistic residencies, including for Parliament, the British Council, Crisis and HM Prison service, where she led an art group for women life prisoners.

As many of her installations are temporary, Mary’s projects can encompass elements of performance, photography, film and sound as forms of documentation. She also produces smaller scale works in glass and ceramics.

Mary lives and works in Surrey. She received a first-class honours degree in Fine Art from the Surrey Institute in 2002, followed by an MA in Art and Space at Kingston University in 2004.

Mary is currently working on a series of large-scale pieces for various locations around the UK.

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