Just hold the chook and give it a good spank with the paddle says Cathy Lawley who runs Fried Mudd Pottery Workshops in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
We rocked up to Cathy’s studio located about three kilometres out of Maleny, a small township high in the hinterland that backs onto the beaches of the Sunshine Coast. It’s a place where cows graze on verdant green grass and chooks roam happily around searching for a feed, just as they do in Cathy’s backyard.
Make your own chook
Today’s workshop is all about making our own fowls to take home. Quail or hen, white or speckled, small or large, the choice is yours. Once glazed, Cathy will organise a firing and then it is ready to grace your home.
It starts with a lump of clay rolled into long sausage shapes which quickly get turned into a coil pot. Another coil pot goes on top to make the body, then the head and tail are added. Somehow some wings appear along the way.
Spank the chook
Surprisingly, although none of our class claims huge pottery experience, we are all turning out recognisable hens or quails.
I’m a little apprehensive when it comes time to spank the chook, but it certainly helps change a ball into a chook.
Cathy wanders around helping with a tweak here, and a pull there, plus tips on how to make a beak and comb.
The eyes are revealed with a few deft strokes, and voila, the hen’s personality starts to appear. I’m already very fond of my creation, and I name her Henrietta, which seems a good chook name.
Glazes are on the next table and easy to apply to the damp body.
We leave our creations safely in Cathy’s hand for baking using a raku firing.
As well as these collectable clay hens, Cathy is known for her life like green tree frog sculptures. A wander through her studio reveals a wealth of creations.
You can also make your own pottery goddess complete with any curves you may desire.
Cathy, assisted by Annabelle the Burmese cat, offers one-day and weekend clay workshops where the only mission is to discover your creative talent. There are also classes for children during school holidays and after school. Her Shades of Clay workshops are designed for girls who want a weekend away.
Where is Fried Mudd?
The Fried Mudd studio recently moved to a new location just outside Maleny which has been transformed with lots of hard work by Cathy and her son.
The workshops cost $120 for a one-day workshop. Clay is an additional $20 per 10kg block, and there also are firing fees which start at $5 for a small piece up to $50 for a large piece. Students bring their own lunch or a plate to share.