ClayDate 2022 - Fantastical Beasts of the Maison Dieu and How to Make Them


Have a go on a potter’s wheel at ClayDate on Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 June

An invitation to play with clay!

That’s what Ceramic Art Dover are offering this weekend (Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June, 11am to 4pm) with a host of fun, free, clay-based activities for all ages, in partnership with Future Foundry and the Maison Dieu (Dover Town Hall).  

Be inspired by the 800-year-old art and architecture of the Maison Dieu, then shape your own fantastical beasts in clay at the nearby Biggin Hall with hand-building, throwing, Raku-firing and casting. 

Visitors can help create a giant installation of fantastical creatures and grotesques at the sculpture table, create their own design to take home, or have a go on a potter’s wheel supported by experienced potters. You can also glaze a tile for our community window and use our collection of stamps to create a unique plaster cast. 

One of the highlights will be flaming Raku glazing and firing demonstrations which will take place in the courtyard garden of Maison Dieu House, adjacent to Biggin Hall. Visitors can glaze a pre-made pot and watch it being fired in the kiln. Raku firing is a dramatic and unpredictable technique. Pots are removed from the kiln when white-hot and placed in metal bins containing organic matter, which catches fire. The fiery, flaming process of Raku creates distinctive black, smoky, crackled or iridescent effects. 

Last, but not least, is the Community Throwdown Competition (Saturday only from 3-4pm), where volunteer teams will complete a timed throwdown challenge. Why not take part or come and cheer the teams on? 

Organisers are looking for teams of four, with no or very little experience of throwing on a pottery wheel. There is no upper age limit, but a lower age limit of 11 years will ensure everyone is tall enough to work the wheels. There are prizes and medals for the best teams.

At the Maison Dieu visitors can take part in a family-friendly building tour or pick up a spotter’s guide to discover dragons, grotesques, historic characters or plants and flowers in the stone carvings, stained-glass and decorative scheme by Victorian Neo-gothic architect William Burges.

There will also be a ceramic market exhibition in the Maison Dieu's Stone Hall featuring work by potters from Ceramic Art Dover, along with a display of finds from the recent Stone Hall archaeological dig - including fragments of 13th century stained-glass, window tracery and glazed tiles. 

Note to editors:

ClayDate is a partnership between Ceramic Art Dover, Future Foundry, and the Maison Dieu (Dover Town Hall). For more information, please contact and follow the event on Twitter @dover_ceramic 

ClayDate forms part of the Re-awakening the Maison Dieu activity programme. For further information about this and future Maison Dieu events visit


Posted on 20 June 2022

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