Handbuilding with Mary-lou Pittard

Handbuild ceramic vessels and sculptural pieces

Book Now (https://claytalk.weteachme.com/l/4iPAk3Ar)


This course is suitable for beginners or those with more experience who want to handbuild with clay. You will learn a range of handbuilding techniques suitable for creating your own vessels, sculptural pieces and small objects. You will also be introduced to a range of decoration techniques using slips, stains and underglazes. This is your chance to create objects with your own personal style or draw on inspiration from the latest trends.

Our experienced tutor, Mary-lou Pittard, will develop your skills and help you work towards your own final project or take inspiration from her years of experience.

What you'll learn:

  • how to work with clay as a material
  • pinch and slab building techniques for creating small forms and vessels
  • choose your project and our experienced tutor will guide you to your goal: platters, bowls, vases, spoons, jewelry... Endless possibilities.
  • decorative techniques using brush work, pattern making, s. graffito etc.
  • how to mix stains into clay to create organic patterns and effects.


This is a 2.5 hour course on Tuesday evenings for 8 weeks.

Why Clay Talk?

Our class sizes are small so you can develop your skills, find your individual style and learn at your own pace. Clay Talk @ Montsalvat’s spacious and beautifully designed ceramic studio is a great space to tap into your creativity.

About your tutor:  Mary-lou Pittard

Mary-lou has worked in her Eltham Studio as a professional potter for over 35 years.  She is a well known local identity through her community involvement, as artist in residence with local schools, working with the Nillumbik Shire on large scale ceramic murals and smaller class room projects, not to mention her own functional ceramic practice.

Mary-lou produces brightly coloured stoneware ceramics in her home studio/gallery in Eltham.  Her work can also be admired & purchased at the Made at Montsalvat shop. She will create an energizing and creative haven for you at Clay Talk, where you can explore and develop your hand-building skills.

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What you will learn
  • How to understand and work with clay as a material
  • Techniques including pinching and slab building for creating small forms and vessels
  • Decorative techniques using brushes, coloured stains, glazes and other tools in the studio
What you will get
  • A bag of clay to start you off - PB103 or Recycled
  • Use tools and materials to form and decorate your projects
  • Your project completed, fired and ready to take home and use (end-of term firing fee is $9/kg)

What to bring
  • COVID Safe mask
  • Apron
  • Towel
What to wear

Casual / older clothes and covered or closed-in shoes - clay can get messy!

Appropriate for

Anyone interested in learning ceramics, you may have never touched clay before, want a refresher course or are keen to build on your existing skills

Gift vouchers

If you'd like to give this course to someone special, gift vouchers are available. To find out more, email claytalk@montsalvat.com.au

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If you change your mind and want to cancel your course booking completely, you can either transfer your enrolment to a friend or we'll refund:

  • 100% if you cancel at least 4 weeks before the course starts, less a $20 administration fee.
  • 50% if you cancel 2 weeks before the course starts, less a $20 administration fee. 
  • No refund if you cancel:
    • less than 2 weeks before the course starts; or
    • the course has already started.

We'll give a full refund if we have someone on our waiting list who can take your spot immediately or if we cancel a course for our own reasons not mentioned below.

if for reasons outside of our control, such as severe weather conditions, a class must be cancelled we will do our best to accommodate you with a replacement class.

If you can’t attend a class during your course, unfortunately we don’t offer make up classes. We therefore encourage you to choose your courses and dates carefully.

Online Classes:
If technical issues on the part of the tutor disrupt our online stream for a significant amount of time and the class cannot be completed satisfactorily we will do our best to accommodate you with a make-up class or a refund will be offered if no make-up class can be agreed upon.

Technical issues on the part of the participant are not our responsibility.

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Terms & Conditions

Online Classes:

If booking our online classes you agree to being able to collect and drop-off your materials and/or finished pieces at the designated times and at these times only.

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2 Reviews
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24 March 2020 • Handbuilding with Mary-lou Pittard

I can't recommend joining this class more. I am so grateful to be a part of the wonderful Claytalk community. The studio is a sort of calming sanctuary to me now, it offers a place to put aside any stress of outside life and focus on the clay. Mary Lou is not only a wonderful person, she is also a fantastic instructor who offers lots of hands-on instruction and advice. She creates the course WITH you, something which has allowed me to explore my creativity and get really excited about what I'm making. She is also fantastic at finding something fun to learn regardless of experience level. You will create ceramic creations that you love in this class, and you might just fall hopelessly in love with pottery as I have.


05 February 2020 • Handbuilding with Mary-lou Pittard

Love it! To learn handbuilding in a studio in the beautiful Montsalvat grounds is wonderful. A relaxed class taught by the wonderful Mary-lou who teaches as well as giving the freedom to develop your own ideas.

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