About Us

At Forest Row School of Ceramics, our mission is to create a safe, communal space for all kinds of artists - beginners to professionals - to come together and express their creative sides. We believe in unlocking the creative within each and every one of us, and offer a wide range of classes for all students. Whether you’re a professional looking for new inspiration, a brand new student hoping to learn a thing or two about art, or if you’re simply interested in picking up a new hobby, Forest Row School of Ceramics is here to welcome you into the fold.

We are situated in the idyllic grounds of Emerson College who also offer a range of courses and accommodation 

Future Plans

We aspire to develop a reputation of excellent training for the new generation
 of potters at a time when many of the high-level ceramics course have closed or 
become less specialised. We plan to offer full time residential pottery courses to give artists the opportunity to intensively develop their practice to a professional level in their chosen ceramic field. We will help students discover their unique skills and talents through an intense, program with high standards that combine traditional skills, exploration and experimentation.

School Founder and Principal

Katrina Pechal BA (Hons) Ceramics

Lead Lecturer: Full Time/3 month/Residential/Ceramic Development Course

plus Weekly pottery classes for the local community.

Katrina graduated from Camberwell School of Arts with a BA Hons Degree in Ceramics in 1987 and set up her first studio in 1991. She is an accomplished potter selling her work internationally under her maiden name Pechal. She has always had a passion for clay and sharing her ceramic skills as a teacher, and has been teaching for over 20 years. 

Katrina Pechal’s teaching specialism includes throwing large scale sculptural pieces, and working with glazes to develop highly textural surfaces. She has exhibited around the UK and has work used commercially and held in private collections. She has over 25 years of teaching experience in most ceramic disciplines and particularly enjoys introducing different firing techniques to her students encouraging them to explore the effects of the firing atmosphere on their work.  She is very proud to have mentored and inspired many of her students to set up their own studios and has numerous award-winning pupils, especially successful in ‘ The Young Craftsman of the year award’ at The South of England Show in Ardingly.


Teaching positions 

 1992 – 2004 Teaching at: Putney School of Art, Roehampton, Richmond, and Kingston Adult Education Centres in London, which included running 4 day Raku firing workshops regularly.

 2007 – 2015 teaching intensive throwing classes courses and workshops from her studio at Highgate Works, Forest Row

January 2016 – relocated and opened Forest Row School Of Ceramics Introducing more classes, longer courses and weekend workshops run by practising contemporary potters.

"I am saddened that so many high level ceramic courses have closed. My time at Camberwell was inspiring. I feel very privileged to have had tuition from leading potters; Takeshi Yasuda, Colin Pearson and Ewen Henderson, among others and i want to give the next generation of potters similar opportunities." 

Staff  Profiles

Elaine Bolt 

Teaching a Friday morning class and Part-Time Lecturer on the Full time/3 Month/Residential Ceramic Development course every year

Elaine Bolt is a ceramic artist based at her studio in Brighton, working with clay and mixed media making thrown vessels, wall pieces, and sculptural installations. Elaine has an MA in Ceramics (with Distinction) from UCA Farnham and is an alumni of the Crafts Council’s Hothouse talent development program. She taught as Lecturer in Ceramics on the 3D Design BA at the University of Brighton (2017-2018). She has also taught at West Dean College of Arts, Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, and The Jerwood Gallery Hastings. Elaine has received funding for ceramics projects from Arts Council England, Quenington Sculpture Trust and a-n Artist Bursaries and her work is exhibited across the UK, in Europe and USA.

Nikita Frew

Teaching The Beginners Hand-building Class every Monday. 

Technician and Admin roles as well. 

Nikita studied Art and Design at Sussex Downs, and was taught Ceramics by Phil Andrews and Katrina Pechal. She has been teaching Hand-building for 2 years at the School, as well as developing her own work for 5 years.

A ceramicist in her own right working and exhibiting locally.


Peter McNamee - CPA

Taken on the role of teaching Wednesday night's Throwing Class

Peter McNamee trained in ceramics at Morley College in London under Duncan Hooson and Annette Welch. He set up his own studio in Iliffe Yard in London in 2009 making hand-built smoke-fired sculptural vessel forms. He became a selected member of the Craft Potters’ Association in 2010.
Peter has exhibited his work at the CPA gallery and at Hand Made in Britain. After moving from London to West Sussex, Peter changed his focus from hand-building to throwing on the wheel. He now makes tableware and one-off decorative pieces, often using glazes made with locally sourced wood ash. He has been teaching at the Forest Row School of Ceramics for the past two years and really enjoys helping students to achieve their making goals.


Part Time Lecturer on the Full time/3 Month/Residential Ceramic Development course every year - Exploring themes, ideas and interests




As well as teaching part time in a London sixth form college, she has taught at BA Hons level as a visiting lecturer at several London Art colleges such as Central St Martins, City and Guilds, and Wimbledon School of Art.  She began working with ceramics in 2008. Since then her practise is predominantly ceramics based, although the motifs and methods predominant in her ceramics remain consistent with the themes she explored in her paintings.

Her area of expertise is in helping students clarify their own particular creative pathway and encouraging them to engage with the history of studio ceramics in order to explore key ceramicists that inspire them.

Effie Gibson - MA Painting/Royal College of Art

Effie Gibson is a ceramic artist working in stoneware. She completed her BA (hons) in Fine Art at the University of North Cumbria at Newcastle specialising in Painting. She then went on to study painting at the Royal College of Art for her MA. Leaving in 2000.  She combined a painting and teaching career until she moved to East Sussex where she started a family.

We also have a couple of enthusiastic young students who help out with technician work when needed.   




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Contact us.


Forest Row School of Ceramics

Emerson College

Hartfield Road 

Forest Row

East Sussex

RH18 5JX

United Kingdom