Pottery making can be a lot of fun if you like to get your hands dirty. Let’s look at pottery as a hobby and how you can get started making pottery.
There are so many different avenues to explore here for example:
- Native American Pottery
- Antique Ceramic Pottery
- Miniature Pottery
- Antique Chinese Pottery
and so many others to try and imitate.
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So What Is Pottery?
Pottery is considered to be one of the oldest art forms.
Pottery refers to the ceramic merchandise that’s designed by workers who are called potters. The areas or places where pottery items are produced are often referred to as potteries.
Pottery continues to remain a major industry today.
Many people love doing pottery as a hobby and there are many classes one can join to learn how to make things from simple jars to fancy vases.
How Is Pottery Formed?
Pottery is done by forming a clay body into different objects of a required shape or style.
The objects that are formed will then be heated to high temperatures, in a machine called a kiln, to induce conditions that will lead to permanent changes, which include an increase in size, as well as to the hardening or setting of the object’s shape.
Generally, the pottery forms of each region or locality are produced to create wares that have a distinct regional flavor or traditional quality.
Some pottery versions are also mixed with different clays and minerals, to suit specific occasions or purposes.
Before the clay body is shaped, the air trapped in it is first removed. The process is called de-airing, and this can be done by using a machine called a vacuum pug. It can also be done manually, and the process is referred to as wedging. Wedging, according to pottery experts, helps to ensure the body’s even moisture content.
After the clay body is wedged, it will then be shaped into different forms, using a variety of techniques. After shaping, the clay body is dried. The drying process takes a number of steps or stages. When the clay becomes 75 to 85% dry, it’s called the leather-hard stage.
A clay body may be considered to be bone-dry once it has already reached a moisture content of near 0%. Clay objects that are unfired are referred to as “greenware”, and these become quite fragile and may easily break at this stage.
Methods Used For Shaping Pots
Today there are a number of time-tested methods for shaping pots. One tested method is called Handwork or Hand building. Hand building is considered to be the earliest and most individual of direct clay-forming techniques. Different pot styles and wares can be made by hand, using coils of clay, flat slabs of clay, or solid balls of clay.
Here are some kits that can be purchases online that are perfect for beginners to get started making pottery. If you want to find out more, simply click on the picture or on the link.
Pottery Wheels Kit (Blue), Pottery Studio, Craft Kit, Artist Studio, Ceramic Machine with Clay, Educational Toy for Beginners/Birthday Gifts for 7 8 9 10 11 12 Year-Old Boys Girls
This kit is aimed at children aged between the ages of 7 and 12 years old.
This kit allows your children to explore the art of making pottery. Perfect for developing fine motor skills and movement coordination.
It is a real ‘mini pottery studio’ that may inspire and teach your child to create some interesting ceramic crafts, small figures, tableware, etc.
The only downside with this kit is that it doesn’t contain a lot of clay, so I would definitely order some more separately or you will just start getting addicted and then run out.
Pottery Tools by L&L, Clay Sculpting Tool Set – 30 Psc, The Most Essential Ceramic Tool Kit, Including a Pottery Tool Guide to Get You Started
This kit contains 30 Pottery and clay sculpting tools and a pottery tool guide to getting the most out of the kit.
The handles are stable for control and precision and the tools are mostly double-sided.
Owill Pottery Wheel for Kids, Pottery Studio Studio Clay Craft Kit, Ceramic Machine with Clay for Beginners, DIY Educational Toy Christmas Birthday Gift for Boys Girls (Pottery Wheel Kit)
This set is great for both beginners and kids who want to get started making pottery.
It includes a small pottery wheel to get the feel for making small pottery items.
It’s super easy to get started and the clay can be air-dried so you won’t need to fire it.
Air-Dry Clay Craft Box Set-This Complete Starter Kit includes all you need to create Stunning Ceramic Pieces
Inspire creativity by making one-of-a-kind gifts for family and friends.
Air-dry clay has a sophisticated look that doesn’t need to be fired and won’t shatter. Plus, it’s so simple to use that anyone can create beautiful projects in their own home!
This beautiful kit contains everything you need to create stunning ceramic pieces. Learn how to make an elegant golden bowl, a glowing tea-light house, intricate marble coasters, and much more!
Air-dry clay is a little more tricky to work with than normal clay as it does tend to get hard faster. Here are some tips to try:
- Use wax paper.
- Do not make the clay too thin.
- Put lotion on your hands before you work with the clay.
- Use toothpicks.
- Use water to remove imperfections.
- Flip the project over during drying.
- Store the clay in an airtight container when not using it.
Throwing is a process wherein the forming wheel rapidly rotates, while a solid ball of clay is then pressed, squeezed and gently pulled upward and outward, into a hollow shape.
Jiggering is a method wherein a shaped tool comes in contact with a plastic clay object that’s under construction. Jiggering is a method that’s often used for producing flatwares such as plates.
Jolleying is a method that’s used for producing hollow wares like cups. Both jolleying and jiggering have been used for producing hollow pots and wares since the 18th Century. Both methods also employed the use semi-skilled labor.
A Roller Head machine is used for shaping wares on a rotating mound, while the method is quite similar to jolleying and jiggering, the difference is that the roller head machine has a rotary-shaped tool, which replaces the fixed profile. The rotary-shaped cone features the same diameter as the ware that’s about to be formed and shaped. Other popular methods for shaping pots include, RAM pressing, slip casting and granulate pressing.
Pottery can be effectively decorated through using a number of methods.
These include incising patterns on the clay body, underglaze decoration, in-glaze decoration, on-glaze decoration and enamel.
A number of additives can also be added and worked into the clay body before forming.
These additives are often used to achieve a certain desired effect on the fixed ware. Some rough additives, like grog, which is finely ground fired clay, and sand, are also used for giving the finished ware a required texture.
Some colorants may also be added to create a desired colored pattern or combination. The colorants may consist of carbonates or metal oxides.
Of course projects can also be painted once completed.
Please comment below if you have anything else to add to getting started making pottery. I welcome your ideas.