What Are the Best Tips for Pottery Making?

Sherry Holetzky

Pottery making is obviously a form of art, but it can also be a relaxing hobby. Many people take up pottery making as a way to garner some quiet time alone. Some people just like the thought of creating their own unique, beautiful, and perhaps useful, pieces of art. It makes no difference which reason one chooses for making pottery. It can be an enjoyable process.

Pottery making can be a very messy hobby.
Pottery making can be a very messy hobby.

Before spending a lot of money purchasing pottery wheels, clay and glazes, and tools and other necessary items, one may wish to enroll in or observe pottery classes. Doing so can help an individual better understand what to expect before making a commitment. It will allow beginners to try out pottery making using the tools, equipment, and materials provided through the course, before purchasing their own items.

Different types of paint can give pottery different looks.
Different types of paint can give pottery different looks.

While pottery making can be a great activity, it can also be rather messy. Before buying equipment and supplies one should make sure there is an appropriate space available for enjoying this hobby as well. Joining a class is also a great way to meet others who share the same interest.

It may be a good idea to take pottery classes, even if one is aware of what throwing pots entails. Specific pottery making tips and techniques taught by professionals can be quite valuable. Generally, when people pursue greater knowledge of an art form, they will have better luck in creating quality work than those with no training. Pottery books and videos can be great resources as well.

While some creative types can simply jump in and begin making a project, others may wish to plan ahead. It can be helpful to have an idea in mind for what one wishes to make and to get some dimensions and designs down on paper before beginning. Planning ahead can mean completing a project in fewer attempts, whereas “winging it” may result in several stops and starts.

It is important to always use quality materials and supplies when engaged in pottery making to ensure that artwork will last. It is also a good idea to recycle materials as much as possible during the learning stages. Clay can be reworked and re-used instead of being thrown away. It must be moist and stored properly but it can be done. Reusing clay will help save money and will also help alleviate waste when those not so perfect attempts occur.

It is important to use quality materials and supplies when making pottery.
It is important to use quality materials and supplies when making pottery.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@clintflint - We've got a local pottery group here that has a cheap introduction course and then you can join the group and have access to their kiln and materials.

I figure if you're an advanced student they aren't going to make you stick to an ashtray, so there's no harm in doing a course.


@pleonasm - It's not that difficult to make sure that pottery isn't going to explode in the kiln (although even experts occasionally get this wrong and it's not the end of the world). It's just a matter of working the raw clay for a while to smooth everything out.

I'd say there are still some options for people who don't want to take classes. You can get relatively cheap small kilns online, or you can go and ask at the local art school or high school if they have some they would be willing to rent out.

I think a crafty person would be able to figure most of this craft out from books and tutorials, although classes would probably make it easier.


My suggestion is that if you just want to try sculpting in general and don't want to take any classes, that you go with using paper clay or polymer clay at first, because they are much easier to use and you won't need a kiln to fire them. You won't be able to make much more than decorations with them though, because polymer clay is expensive and paper clay isn't waterproof.

Making objects from real clay is more difficult than it looks. At the least, you'll need a kiln, or access to one in order to fire your pieces. If you want to use them as dishes or anything like that, you'll need to be able to glaze the objects, which requires chemicals and specialized knowledge.

Finally, even making a simple pot that will survive in a kiln requires a bit of work, because if you have any kind of air bubble in the clay, it will probably explode. That's not even getting into the techniques you need in order to use a potting wheel.

Post your comments
Forgot password?