Amanda Cotton provides classes on using a potters wheel

Have you ever watched the classic movie ‘Ghost‘ starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze? Then you will know of that famous scene when Sam (Patrick) and Molly (Demi) sit at a potters wheel where one thing leads to another. Ever since watching that scene so many years ago I have always wanted to practice my hand on a potters wheel and get creative.

So when I was invited down on a gifted basis by Amanda Cotton to learn how to make a bowl using a potters wheel I was bowled over.

Amanda Cotton

Amanad Cotton

Amanda is an artist creating mementos for the inspired teaching creative skills to those wishing to learn how to do pottery. Her passion for conceptual art began back in 2007. In 2013 she graduated with a Masters in 3D Materials Practice, Wood, Metal, Plastics and Ceramics (WMCP) from The University of Brighton. Since then she has been living and working in London. Her studio is based in Trinity Buoy Wharf and she is a member of Trinity Art Studio. She creates commissions for inspired individuals, continue to develop and practice transferring her skills onto those that are wishing to learn creative skills.

Getting creative with Amanda Cotton

Unfortunately I could not find a man to join me to recreate the famous scene from ‘Ghost’ so I took along Lynsey a community member of Love Pop Ups London who also has always wanted to learn how to use a potters wheel to create a ceramic object on.

Upon entering Amanda Cotton Workshop I was impressed by the lovely space and was highly impressed by all the many creations on display from vases to body moulds. Plus the fabulous potters wheel which we were both itching to get started on.

The ever so lovely and welcoming Amanda explained to us beforehand all the different workshops she gives her customers and why she likes to keep her classes private for singletons or couples as this way she can give her undivided attention. However she does also offer private classes for groups from birthday parties to hen nights but not on the wheel but in recreating other ceramics from coiling to tile making.

We also learned about the many different clays / plasters and the many different techniques from making any ceramic object from using a potters wheel to casting.

With anything made on a potters wheel it will always end up having a spiral in the centre.

Hand building is where you roll out clay and cut it up and stick together by hand.

Pinch pots are from pinching clay by hand.

Coiling is clay rolled into a long sausage and then wrapped round and round to make your object giving it texture.

Amanda Cotton bowls

Slip casting start with object take a mould of it using plaster mould which is a very quick process and can make the same object time and time again.

Amanda Cotton bowls

Time for the Potters Wheel

Firstly we practised each different technique which Amanda taught us prior before creating our actual bowl.

Amanda Cotton Lynsey at potters wheel

The first stage was all about softening up the clay. To pull it up and push it down we learned that we had to keep our elbows out whilst pulling the clay up and down to soften. Then gently to push down to make a flat thick circle for the start of our bowl building. However if to much pressure applied it will break.

Look at my unicorn horn.

Amanda Cotton Workshop me at Potters Wheel

But my first attempt in getting the horn shape before flattening did not go that smoothly as you can see by watching this clip below.

This happened due to me being a bit too heavy handed.

The second stage is all about creating the hole in the middle to start of the bowl. This involved cupping the bowl and then poking your finger into the centre.

The third stage was all about pulling the hole outward to make it bigger.

The fourth stage involved pulling the edge of the bowl rim up using our fingers to get a high edge.

Lastly when our bowl looked like a bowl it was time to use a sponge whilst the bowl was spinning to soak up any excess water.

Once all these techniques were mastered it was time for us to create our bowls from recreating stage one through to stage five without stopping.

Watch my sped up video below of me making my very own bowl on the potters wheel.

Even though my bowl came out looking more like an ashtray I was still very impressed with my end result.

My friend Lynsey’s bowl though looked amazing exactly like how a bowl should look.

Amanda Cotton Lynsey at potters wheel

Our bowls together.

Amanda Cotton our bowls

Unfortunately we could not paint and take home straight away though as it needs at least two weeks to dry, as well as being kilned then it can be painted and varnished to take home. So before leaving Amanda’s workshop we both decided on our colours and stamped our initials onto our bowls so Amanda could remember who’s was who’s so when it came to painting them she would not get them mixed up.

I opted for my bowl to be coloured in green and Lynsey opted for hers to be covered with speckled multicoloured coverage.

After two weeks both our bowls were finally ready for collection and were both beautifully painted by Amanda.

Initially even though I called my bowl an ashtray I am very impressed with the results and now I am calling it my treasure accessory bowl.

I particularly love my spiral in the middle of my bowl. If you ever buy a bowl and it has not got a spiral in the middle like this then it usually means it was not done on a potters wheel.

But I must be honest I am still quite jealous of Lynsey’s as hers is so much deeper than mine.


Amanda Cotton me and Lysnsey

The pottery class taught by Amanda was so fun and very relaxing. I would not ever imagined that I would have loved pottery as much I did and for that reason I will certainly be returning to Amanda’s Cotton Workshop to create another bowl or tempt at trying to create something else with clay / plaster.

This was a fantastic class and one I will never forget. I will treasure my bowl for life.


All workshops take place at
Trinity Art Studios
Trinity Buoy Wharf,
64 Orchard Place
E14 0JW 

All equipment needed for any session will be provided including an apron. It can get a little messy so please do not wear your best clothes. In the winter you may want to wear a jumper.

Click here to check out all Amanda Cotton masterclasses.

Thank you to Amanda Cotton for the inviting me and Lynsey a member of Love Pop Ups London in having the opportunity to get our hands dirty on a potters wheel to create our own bowl each.

Click below to be redirected to get links to all our write ups from Amanda Cottons Workshop. All our views are of our own honest opinion.

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