The Clayaholic

Today we talk with master of clay, Graham Hay about his (almost booked out) Perth Pottery and Sculpture Classes.

Why are you passionate about your class or activity, and where did your passion stem from?

I’ve  been a clayaholic since childhood, and I kept returning to it via recreational classes until making the decision to commit completely to  it full time in 1991 after returning from looking at ceramics around the globe for 9 months.  I was increasing invited to give workshops around Perth, interstate and overseas, but with a young family I needed to stay closer to home from 1998 onwards, so set up the classes within my studio space

Why should people attend to your class?

I’m  not sure if it’s just the clay, the other great artists I share my  studio with, or the classmates, but many students just keep coming month  after month, year after year.

The classes are tightly focused upon  being hands-on in the clay, you decide what you make (with lots of  support), you make it at your pace, and I provide help whenever you  require or want it.  The classes have evolved over the decades to their  current form whereby students don’t have to come when they just can’t or  don’t want to come along, without penalty as long as they reschedule beforehand.  This and no term breaks mean these are classes  designed to suit students not teachers!  

What about you makes your class extra special?

Who  me?  I thought it was all about the clay, company and coffee?  Self  praise is no recommendation.  I’m here to welcome you, and help you  discover your way into the ceramic arts.  I’m crazy about clay.  While  over trained I'm still constantly learning new things from and with my  students, despite running these classes since 1998 and giving over 300  workshops etc elsewhere.  

As a full time maker exhibiting in a dozen  countries since 1992, I'm constantly asked to explain my art and how I  work myself in written form and public forums.  This forces me to  constantly reflect on my inspirations, studio methods and motives.  All  these experiences mean that the classes are actually a time of  relaxation for me, and I’m quite happy to step back a little and work alongside each individual student in the deliberately small classes, to become settled, and get on with making themselves.  

What  experience do you create for your attendees?

I  can’t really prescribe what they might experience, as each comes with different prior experiences, skills and expectations.  Rather, I listen  and hear what they tell me and try to enable  these to be satisfied. I  could list common experiences, but this may only capture 30-40% and not  describe what each of the rest individually want and experience.

What are you looking forward to the most when it comes to hosting?

Meeting new and returning students, hearing about what each individual wants to do this time and then seeing how it unfolds for them over the class.  Suddenly remembering or being inspired to try/share something new that might assist a student.  

It’s always very exciting and scary opening the kiln to see what has  happened!