Ceramic Making Workshop for Faculty's 'Creative Science Month' Staff Engagement Initiative

18 October 2018

In October, the School hosted a Ceramic Making Workshop as part of the Faculty's 'Creative Science Month' staff engagement initiative, which was sold out within one hour of release!

On the first day, participants made a variety of clay ceramic articles by a process called “slip casting” which is used commercially to mass-produce every-day domestic ceramics and pottery.  After a brief safety induction, participants got messy mixing batches of a commercial liquid clay slurry (the “slip”) before then pouring them into porous moulds made of Plaster of Paris to do the casting process.  On completion of casting, the resultant cast articles were allowed to dry and then were removed from the moulds. 

Apart from having fun making a variety of items such as cups, vases, small jugs, tea-light candle burners, and mini toilet bowls, the participants received a short educational presentation-demonstration from Dr Owen Standard about the materials science of the slip casting process.  

The cast articles were fired by laboratory staff after the session and participants returned to the laboratory a week later to decorate their fired articles with a selection of commercial glazes of various colours and textures.  Participants spent the hour exercising their creativity and, again, received some education – this time from Professor Chris Sorrell who explained about the materials science as well as practical aspects of glazes and the glazing process.  The glazed articles were fired after class to yield some beautiful (and some not-so-beautiful!) ceramic creations. 
Thanks to Alyce Taylor (Community and Engagement Officer, UNSW Science Dean’s Unit) and Lucy Zhang for organising the workshop, Dr Owen Standard and Professor Chris Sorrell for facilitating on the day and giving informative and entertaining presentations, Dr George Yang for organising the materials and laboratory, and Faculty of Science student ambassadors Florence Liu and Perry Sim for their assistance during the workshops and cleaning the laboratory afterwards.