Primitive Pit Firing and Vessel Making

*new 2019 pottery dates coming soon

On this two day pottery course with Pete you’ll learn various making techniques before primitively firing your collection of unique vessels.

Course Description

Peter Bodenham will teach you various techniques including coiling, slab pots, thumb pots and press moulding. You’ll be making your vessels using Apache clay. We spend the first part of the day at St Dogmaels Church Hall where Pete will take you through a slide show of the history and processes involved in pit firing. He will then teach you various methods of making.

On the first day after you have made some pots we will go to the beach where (weather permitting) we will fire pinch pots in the sand. Please note that your main pots will be fired in bins at Pete’s studio. You’ll learn the process which you will be able to repeat at home. Organic materials such as seaweed and salt may be put in a paper bag with your clay which will add a variety of patterns and colours to your work whilst firing.

What will the course involve?

• All materials required to to make and fire your vessels are included in the course fee

• Two full days of professional pottery tuition from Peter Bodenham

• A spacious work area is allocated to each student along with their own set of tools to use while they’re here

• A plentiful supply of teas, coffees and cake is included at the hall whilst you are making your pots. We will head to The Coach House for lunch, were you can buy delicious food from the café there.

• The venue for pottery making is St Dogmaels Church Hall. The pit firing will take place on Poppit beach at the end of the first day (weather permitting) and the final fire of pots will take place at Pete’s studio (St Dogmaels Pottery) where metal bins will be used.

Day 1:

• Making demonstration and making starts

• Slide show on history and process of pit firing

• Get your lunch at The Coach House

• Conclude days making

• Visit Pete’s workshop in the village and pack kiln to pre dry pots

• Beach visit (Poppit Sands), study clay deposits and build fire on the beach to fire pinch pots & swim/paddle for the brave and fool hardy! Please note: the beach pit firing is totally dependent upon the weather being good! We will only fire the pinch pots at this time, your other pots will be fired in bins at Pete’s studio

Day 2:

• Wrap and pack pots, stack firing bins and start firing

• Get your lunch at The Coach House

• Making workshop (pots to take and fire at home!)

• Firing concludes (if pots too hot to take out we will post on)

“Fantastic tutor! – So much knowledge of the subject and a great teacher. I loved this weekend and have learnt lots. Pete is a great tutor. The course was very well organised. I loved the beach bit where we got clay from the cliffs. It added to the experience in that I felt like we saw the process from start to finish. Pete’s knowledge of clays and the area made the experience really special and not run of the mill. A fantastic course all round! – Thank you!” – Esther 

“A great opportunity for creativity in a rural setting bringing recognition to makers within the area. I really appreciated a few days away from it all in such a lovely setting with such a great teacher. It really was such a lovely weekend and just what I needed.” – Emily


We will be running our two day course in picturesque St Dogmaels. Just up the road from the church hall is Oriel Milgi B&B. If you’re travelling from afar we would highly recommend them as a place to stay.

Oriel Milgi is a place where you can retreat in comfort after a day of making and exploring. Staying in the house offers you the opportunity to enjoy the eclectic mix of mid-century and contemporary furnishings and their carefully curated private collection of Welsh and International paintings and ceramics (including work by Pete). They offer a relaxed, informal welcome, coupled with high standards and attention to detail.
Oriel Milgi are proud to be named in the Top 10 Guardian Hotels and B&Bs in Pembrokeshire, The Guardian Top 5 Places to Stay in Wales for Walkers, The Telegraph Beach Holiday Guide and Conde Nast Traveller.

As a special treat, why not come a little early and book in at Oriel Milgi and have a nice break before (and/or after) your workshop?
Just email or phone 01239 612556 and Helen or Ann will deal with your booking directly. Or you can book with them online.

Here are some more photos from previous courses: