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Clay Date - Zeynep Testoni Ceramics

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by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published April 8th 2018
Get your hands dirty by getting into some clay
It had been some while since I had visited the south coast of NSW to a small village called Gerroa, about an hour and a half drive from the Sydney CBD.

Maybe it was the sands of Seven Mile Beach, the scenic hills, the sound of the waves crashing on the ocean rocks, or maybe it was my childhood memories that brought me back.

It was all of this, plus the thought of getting all fired up by getting dirty getting with some clay with a bunch of friends. The day had come for us to turn the wheel while on our "Clay Date" at Zeynep Testoni's Ceramic 4-hour Pottery Day Out.

Sounds messy? Sure is!

Sounds fun? Sure is!

You learn heaps? Sure Do!

Great Day out. Image courtesy of Zeynep Testoni Ceramics.

The potter's studio with its six-potter's wheel, tools, concrete, fibro and Villaboard tables and much more has been set up in the garage at the home of Zeynep and Marcus Testoni at Gerroa.

Are you looking for a place where you can create a dream? Image by Gary Brown.

To say that there is a lot going on in this double garage is an understatement. Not only do you have all the tools and equipment that you need for the class, there are previous classes' work that is in progress, examples of what not to do and examples of what your finished product should hopefully look like.

There are also a few items for sale if they take your fancy.


Zeynep is inspired by the ocean and natural surrounds of her home in the village of Gerroa. Image by Gary Brown.

For many years, Zeynep Testoni was an English teacher with a passion for creating beautiful and amazing things with her hands as a budding potter.

Zeynep put so much love into her creations and class you can help going away feeling wonderful that you have achieve a creation of your own. Image by Gary Brown.

Just over two years ago, Zeynep set out on a journey to learn as much as she could about how to create unique pieces of pottery which were not only beautiful, but could be used around the home and work.

After many years of practicing her hobby of the art of pottery, Zeynep decided to quit teaching and start up her own studio and classes at the family home at Gerroa.

Zeynep is inspired by the ocean and natural surrounds of her home in the village of Gerroa and creates functional and decorative ceramic art. Her go with the flow attitude and philosophy has helped Zeynep create individual pieces of art that would look great in any home or office.

The engine room of Zeynep Testoni Ceramics, maker of small batch, handmade ceramics in Gerroa, NSW. Image by Gary Brown.

Zeynep prefers to make in small batches with each vessel taking on a character of its own. The eclectic and diverse nature of her work means that each piece is truly unique.

Wanting to always learn more, Zeynep has also enrolled in a number of classes to learn more about the wonderful world of pottery, so that she can bring that knowledge into her teaching in the classes that she runs.

Zeynep started her training back in 2016 by completing a Diploma in Ceramics in 2016. From there, her journey into learning more so that she can become an even better potter. Zeynep has taken part in ongoing Professional Learning through various workshops held by international and Australian ceramic artist.

Some of which include a 1-day workshop by Kenji Uranishi, Tania Rolland Carol Epp. A 5-day intensive workshop with Malcolm Greenwood, a 2-day Masterclass with Eric Landon and just recently travelled over to Bali in October 2017 to do a 14-day intensive at Gaia Ceramic Art Centre Ubud Bali on 'Birthing Big Pots'.


The four-hour class runs from 10am to 2pm with a short break, where you can sample some of Marcus's great cooking delights while having a cup of tea or coffee out of one of Zeynep's creations.

It's not all about the light refreshments during the "Pottery Day Out". But they do look great. Image by Gary Brown.

After being introduced to the rest of the students, Zeynep took us through a series of process that you need to do before you actually sit down in front of the potter's wheel and start to try and create something wonderful.

Zeynep explains that you start you have to become one with the wheel and feel the clay. Image by Gary Brown.

The steps we went through to create a basic cylinder were:

1. Preparation of the clay.

Hopefully all the air bubbles are out. image by Gary Brown.

2. A Ram's Head wedging demonstration.

A Saturday's "Pottery Day Out

3. Centring the clay.

You start with a lump of clay. Image by Gary Brown.

4. Opening out from the middle to get the desired bottom diameter of the pot.

It starts to take shape. Image by Gary Brown.

5. Pulling the clay up from the bottom to get the desired height.

Zeynep makes getting the piece to the correct height so easy. Image by Gary Brown.

6. Shaping.

Create your own shape. Image by Gary Brown.

7. Refining the piece on the wheel.

Nearly there! Image by Gary Brown.

Finished. What's next. Image by Gary Brown.

Sounds easy, but believe me, it's not. It takes a lot of concentration and determination to become one with the clay and the wheel.

Spin it too fast, squeeze it too hard and you will end up with a disaster in your hands. Just go with the flow. Image by Gary Brown.

Now how did that go again? Knead the clay and then plonk it on the wheel and feel the clay. Yeah sure! It may look easy. Image by Gary Brown.

After our short break, Zeynep then took us through the process of hand building to make a plate or dish. We were let loose with rolling pins and timber slats to roll out the clay into about 7mm thick slabs.

This was then placed onto either a plate and bowl mould, to form the required shape. This was so much easier.

Rolling out the clay for either a plate or a dish. Image by Gary Brown.

Now this is how you go about hand building a plate. Image by Gary Brown.

The creative master watching over the apprentice. Hope I get it right. Image by Gary Baker.

One of Zeynep's finished plates. Image by Gary Brown.

You too could create something as beautiful as this. Image by Gary Brown.


Zeynep has a number of classes on offer for the beginner to the intermediate potter. These classes can be tailored for corporate, business and personal clients using "Clay" as the medium for creating understandings about workplace relationships, goal setting, dealing with change and working with purpose.

1. Friday Night Clay Date 2-hours.

2. Saturday Pottery Day Out 4-hours.

3. Tuesday Night for beginners to intermediate level 2-hours for 8 or 10 weeks.

4. Wednesday Morning or Evening Hand Building Class 2.5-hours for 8 or 10 weeks.

5. Wednesday Morning or Evening Beginner to Intermediate Pottery Wheel Class 2.5-hours for 8 or 10 weeks.

6. If you are a potter with previous experience and you are looking for somewhere to create something beautiful, you can sign up for the Studio Access Pass, where it will suit people who wish to have time to spend on working on their own projects but may not have the facilities at home.

You will have to have done a potter's course before you can take up this option.

Click here for more information on what classes are on offer and when.

Email Zeynep Testoni Ceramics to buy your gift voucher. Image courtesy of Zeynep Testoni Ceramics.


Zeynep's studio is open to visitors by appointment.
Whether you are looking for a starting point into the world of pottery making, or have been doing it for some time now and you want to learn more. Zeynep's will cater her classes to your needs.

Some of Zeynep's creations are for sale. Image by Gary Brown.

Not only did Melissa and Gary have a "Clay Date", they brought a couple of items as well. Image by Gary Brown.

Maybe you are not all that serious about learning about pottery and you want to just have fun with family or a group of friends like I did. Then Zeynep's 2 and 4-hours classes are for you.

You will have so much fun and maybe you too will be inspired to take up pottery and according to the New York Times, 'Pottery is the new pilates!"

The next time that you are looking for something that is so much fun, where you can go to the pot, turn a wheel, visit a great spot, play with some clay and have a great day, you need to book yourself, friends and family into one of Zeynep's amazing and informative pottery classes.


Getting down and dirty while playing with clay in one of Zeynep's pottery classes may not be your scene. Don't worry you can call into the following stockists and purchase one of Zeynep Testoni unique original pieces:

Always Flowers at Shop 3/ 42-44 Collins Lane, Kiama NSW.

The Collective at BerryCool Estate at 16 Coolangatta Road, Coolangatta, NSW.

The Collective at Berry. Image courtesy of Zeynep Testoni Ceramics.

Lil' B'zar on Beaumont at 35 Beaumont Street, Hamilton NSW.

Sketch Coffee and Art at 121 Towradgi Rd, Towradgi NSW.

Gerringong Village Market (3rd Sat of the month) at 106 Fern Street, Gerringong NSW.

Or maybe you would like to shop online.

Follow Zeynep Testoni's amazing adventure through the world of pottery by liking her Facebook and Instagram and you too will find that you will find the urge to become one with the clay.
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Why? Something you should try at least once. It's so much fun.
Phone: 0405465301
Where: 133 Headland Drive Gerroa. NSW
Cost: Check web site for costs.
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