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
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 more 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 25 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.
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."
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 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.
Effie Gibson - MA Painting/Royal College of Art
Jane Sarre - PhD in curation, agency, identity construction and community engagement.
Jane Sarre is a ceramic artist sculptor she is a member of the Crafts Council Directory. Her work has been seen in 25 Beautiful Homes, Ceramic Review, The Independent, Emerging Potters, The Guardian, & Guardian Cook, Homes & Antiques and The Sunday Times.
Her fascination for places and energy for exploring overlooked areas remains led to a degree in Geography and then an MA in Museum Studies. A 15 year career in museums followed, specialising in exhibition interpretation and community engagement and subsequently completing a PhD in curation, agency, identity construction and community engagement. She opened her first pottery studio in 2012 and was initially drawn to master throwing and developed collections of contemporary tableware and serving ware.
A medically imposed break from throwing and a move to a larger private studio in Hastings has allowed the time to reflect and explore, allowing her growing fascination for edgeland places and the functional architecture there to lead a return to hand-building. She is now building abstract sculptural pieces informed by a process of walking, meditation, photography and collage. Her time spent searching for her own self expression and identity in her work lead her to want to help other artists to find their way and offers, from her website an online
'Envision your creative path' course which I highly recommend.
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.
Maya Hughes Graduate from FRSC Ceramic Development Course
Maya has always been a naturally gifted artist and studied a variety of visual art subjects in school and college but it wasn't until afterwards that she found the medium which she most enjoys working with, clay! Starting pottery classes, one throwing with Katrina Pechal she fully immersed herself in the “wonders and endless possibilities in ceramics” as she put it.
Between 2017 – 2020 she completed a 3-year part-time apprenticeship with Ximena Heasman a local Potter. Learning how to run a small pottery business as well as getting that all important production throwing practice.
During that time, she continued her classes with Katrina, attended numerous weekend workshops run by well know potters, began working as a part-time ceramic technician and teaching assistant at Forest Row School of Ceramics.
When the school started offering the 3 Month, Full Time, Ceramic Development Course in 2018 she applied. She excelled on the course and since, with confidence, passion, talent and the know-how has set up her own studio, started selling, exhibiting, and teaching.
Her work has been recognised at the UK’s ‘Young Artisan of the Year Award’ achieving second place overall and first place in Ceramics 2019, competing with numerous other disciplines including woodwork, metalwork, textiles and design and technology.
You can see Maya’s ceramics on her Etsy shop and instagram
We also have a couple of enthusiastic young students who help out with technician work when needed.