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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.

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.


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


Tanya Gomez  CPA graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010 with a masters degree in ceramics and glass 

Where she developed her techniques of working with porcelain. Since then she has been establishing a growing reputation, from her base in Sussex, exhibiting internationally and working to commission Tanya has demonstrated and taught at various under and postgraduate faculties. This has involved workshops in throwing, coiling and slab building with guidance and tutorials; an introductory course into glazing and how to further results and how to run and maintain a ceramic studio.

 She has a passion to teach and share my fifteen years of knowledge as a professional ceramist. When teaching, I find it extremely rewarding to see students working in such a diverse material, discovering for themselves there is endless learning and creativity to be achieved.

Jane Sarre  PhD in curation, agency, identity construction and community engagement.

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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
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Peter 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.

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Ximena Heasman - BA Hons Degree

Ximena studied in Colombia (1995-2000) achieving a BA Hons Degree in Industrial and Product design at the National University of Bogota, where she had access to the pottery studio and fell in love with clay. Since then Ximena has been working with clay designing and producing her own work. 

She has trained privately in the UK with a number of British potters including Katrina Pechal and she has had her own studio in Forest Row since 2015. Ximena is a member of the 'London Potters' organisation and sells her work in shops and at fairs and markets in Sussex and London. She also sells her work internationally having happy clients around the globe. Ximena has been sharing her passion for clay with children, adolescents and adults. She strongly believes in the healing and therapeutic power of clay. As well as teaching at Forest Row School of Ceramics, Ximena holds private sessions in her home studio and is the current Clay modelling and Ceramics teacher for the upper school at Michael Hall Steiner School.

Elizabeth Moor BA hons Ceramics 

Elizabeth trained at Camberwell School of Art (1986-89), achieving a BA Hons Degree in Ceramics, specialising in hand-built sculptural heads. Work and home-life kept her from pursuing a vocation as an artist. However in 2016 she started a weekly throwing class with Katrina Pechal at Highgate Works in Forest Row. She had not specialised in throwing whilst at Camberwell and wanted to try again. She learnt fast and soon became a competent thrower, staying with Katrina when she opened Forest Row School of Ceramics. Elizabeth started relief teaching for Katrina in 2019 and now runs two all-level throwing classes a week. She has also recently set up a studio in Lingfield, Surrey and intends to open an Etsy shop and start selling her work online.

Isobel Roope
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I moved to the Sussex countryside in Summer 2020 after graduating with a First in 3D Design and Craft at the University of Brighton. My studio is shared with a group of Brighton alumni who have been granted access to some disused art studios within the grounds of a school.


The initiative comes from the headmaster, Chris Calvey, to give us a platform to establish our practice and business as emerging artists and to offer a new perspective on the arts to the pupils, parents, and teachers. We teach after school clubs, a range of workshops and summer holiday clubs too.


Having the space feels like a little piece of magic. Being in the studio with other makers and teaching our skills to others is very special.


Debbie Ware 

Debbie has always had an aptitude for art having painted and potted throughout her life. Being a geologist by profession she has an understanding for the qualities of clay and a fascination in how it can be manipulated on the potter’s wheel. She has been throwing pots for over 20 years, from evening classes and courses at West Dean to finally attending weekly throwing classes with Katrina first at Highgate Works and then Forest Row School of Ceramics when it opened in 2017. Debbie’s started relief teaching at the school in 2019 and now runs her own all levels throwing class once a week. We are very proud to have her on our team.


Claire Scott 


Claire set up her own studio in 2014 after completing a ceramics course while living in the USA.

Working in both hand building and wheel throwing, she enjoys using a variety of clays including earthenware and porcelain.

Her career as a graphic designer and Illustrator comes through in her work and she greatly enjoys surface pattern, colour and decorating techniques.

She teaches wheel throwing and hand building in her own studio in Storrington and sells her work through her website and Artists Open Houses twice a year and has her work in galleries in Dorset and East Sussex.

She has taken courses and masterclasses at Forest Row School of Ceramics with Katrina Pechal, John Higgins, Dylan Bowen, Jeremy Steward, Katrina Klug, Ben Davies, Linda Bloomfield and Susan Halls at West Dean College

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

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