Anyway, the workshops they provide are varied, at the moment they are doing patchwork, button making, jewellery, dressmaking and knicker making! So let me tell you all about making ceramic buttons.
The teacher was a lovely lady called Jo who has her own workshop in Shepton Mallett and she makes a huge variety of ceramics which sell in the local galleries and also buttons which I have previously bought in Millie Moon. I have seen tutorials on making buttons and tags from .......................but I wanted to make these as I feel ceramics has a lot more versatility.
So our first part of the day was learning about what we would do and seeing the ideas our teacher had. The plan was to make 10 buttons using each style and technique she showed us. Firstly she showed us how to roll out our clay using a rolling pin and to get an even thickness using skewers. We each had a ceramic block as well which we laid our clay shapes on to draw out the moisture and enable.
The first buttons were plain and we could choose the shapes we wanted to cut out from a variety of cutters.
The third style of buttons was using different coloured clay. The main clay was like a speckled egg and we then placed offcuts of black and white clay onto our background clay to form a design. Once rolled out, this gave a backdrop for us to cut out our shapes again.
Each button had to have holes made into it in order to be used as buttons and the clay smoothed down on the edges to get a professional finish. I made some button holes as normal but some of my pieces I put only one in thinking I could perhaps make them into jewellery or no holes to use as brooches.
Finally we were able to colour our buttons using glazes either in full thickness or as a watered down wash. Our teacher then took the buttons away to be fired. And one week later I received my completed buttons. I had great fun making them and I learnt loads about handling clay and how to use a variety of mediums to make beautiful pieces. These are my three faves:
I tried photographing this little square button as close as possible but it still doesn't show quite how pretty it is. I love the 3D effect of having these flowers on the button and they were made using a cake icing cutter. The actual button has a dot pattern on it and then a pale green wash.
Maybe give something new a try next time you consider doing a class.