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Clay Pit Workshop visiting Finland for the first time

On 13 February 2018, the interactive Clay Pit workshop was organised for the first time at Aalto University in Finland. The workshop has been developed as a part of the Ceramics and its Dimensions project.

Creating a Place for Play and Learning with Clay

The objective of the Clay Pit workshop concept is to create a place for play and learning with ceramics: The participants explore with the material in its various stages of transition using oversized tools and different spaces and surfaces. The workshop was held at the sculpture workshop on the snowy Otaniemi campus for a group of 15 students and staff members from the course Silicate - Form, glaze and surface structure from University of Art and Design Offenbach. The participants enjoyed the possibility to throw themselves into a process of experimentation with the material without having to think about the outcome or results.

The Clay Pit was first launched in Stoke-on-Trent during the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) festival 2017 hosting over 4.000 participants. The workshop has been developed in a cooperation between the community and engagement programme manager Dena Bagi from BCB and the Ceramics and its Dimensions: Shaping the Future co-ordinator doctoral candidate Priska Falin from Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Aalto ARTS), Department of Design. They also recreated the workshop at Aalto.

New Master's Programme in Contemporary Design at Aalto University

The visit of the course from University of Art and Design Offenbach was hosted by a new Aalto ARTS design master's programme called Contemporary Design. The new programme combines the experimental processes of analogue and digital design and its first students will start in autumn 2018. The idea of the three day visit of the group from Offenbach was to exchange ideas on the experimental ways of teaching design. Professor Maarit Mäkelä and lecturer Anna van der Lei presented their work and the new design master’s programme for the guests. Professor Markus Holzbach from University of Art and Design Offenbach hold a presentation about his work in teaching visualization and material research at the university. The Clay Pit workshop offered a wonderful opportunity for the guests to work with an experimental ceramics process as a part of their visit.

The Clay Pit Workshop as a Research Project

One aim of the Clay Pit workshop is to look at the material’s qualities and how they are used. Further, the experiences of the participants on how they connect with the material were important during the workshop. Data has been collected from the workshop experiences and the Clay Pit concept has been further developed. A paper discussing the workshop will be presented at the Restating Clay conference in the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) at York Art Gallery (UK) in March 2018. The Clay Pit workshop has been shortlisted for Best Family Event award of the Arts Council of England.