Clay is such an accesible and inclusive material to work with. No matter of age or ability or how ever slight the intervention, participants are always able to make their mark. This makes clay such a fantastic medium for people with special & additional needs to work with. Artist Jon Williams has considerable experience of working with children and adults with a variety of disabilities.

clay artist residency at beaufort special school birmingham led by ceramic artist jon williams

Beaufort Special School, Birmingham














A two year Creative Partnership project between Beaufort School and Craftsace looking at the impact on pupils & staff of exploring clay with Jon Williams.

clay residency at beaufort special school led by artist jon williamsclay residency at beaufort special school led by artist jon williamsclay residency at beaufort special school led by jon williams






Jon’s task was to provide the children with a safe but exciting environment to experiment with clay in all it’s forms. It was rolled, pinched, torn and flattened. Thick, wet slip was smeared over hands, arms and other surfaces. Leather hard pots were cut, bashed and deconstructed. There were few barriers and the children were encouraged to experience the clay at their own level.

The children were also given the opportunity to experiment with the potter’s wheel, often in surprising and unexpected ways. One child, uninterested by the wet clay, scraped different tools across the moving wheel-head to create a wide variety of noises, rather like a musical instrument.

The project was documented by two film-makers and a photographer. The moving images and photographs proved to be a fantastic tool for reflection. The opportunity to review each session in such detail led to a deeper understanding of the learning. In fact, the stills and video inspired Jon to make a series of new work using some of the unusal methods demonstrated by the children.

What the staff had to say:

“To the children Jon the Flying Potter has become a friend and a play companion; he has accepted them as artists and little individuals. Once we learnt there was no right or wrong product or answer and it was just about exploring and having fun, we overcame all the challenges.”

“The children have surprised me, because initially I was very closed. I had very specific targets I wanted them to reach, but they have just superseded anything I could have expected them to do.”

“I’ve seen some wonderful early discovery, where they tried to eat it, lick it and sniff it but gradually over the year they’ve become more aware of clay and how their bodies react to it. In the classroom now, they are more imaginative in their play, with what they choose, how they create things and how they are using spaces.”

“The children have become very very vocal! I think the clay prompted them to find their voices and now they’re acctually communicating with staff and each other. It’s made the staff very positive towards the children and be a lot more observant about what the children are doing.”

Cost: Please contact the Pottery for prices and availability. 1/2 day, full day and residency rates available. Tel: 01531 633886

examples of SEN workshops