Pottery is the art of shaping clay into magnificent pieces using the hands or a potter’s wheel. Pottery pieces are highly priced for their exceptional beauty and are commonly used for home decoration.
There are many items you can make from functional pieces, such as pitchers, mugs, pots and plates, to different arts and crafts pieces. If you want to get your hands dirty and construct some beautiful ceramic objects, here are some tips on how to get started…
Pottery making process:
Shaping of pottery pieces is done on a fast-rotating potter’s wheel that a piece of clay is centered on or done by hand which involves coiling clay ropes to form the required shape.
This is a very important stage of the pottery-making process. The drying should be done slowly, so that the pottery pieces don’t warp or crack. Generally, drying period is between two to fourteen days depending on the thickness of pottery pieces. It is important to ensure that a clay is completely dry before firing, otherwise it will warp, crack or explode.
This is the first firing, and sometimes the final, if there is no glazing. Firing helps transform the clay pieces so that they don’t ‘melt’ if left in water. Bisque firing needs to be done slowly so that the pottery pieces don’t break as a result of “thermal shock.”
Glazing helps to decorate pottery pieces and provide a non-permeable and non-porous barrier. This is critical for items, like vases and tea cups, which require watertight pottery. There are a wide variety of glaze compositions, each with a unique effect on the pottery; they include micro-glass pieces and metal oxides. Pottery pieces are dipped in the glaze.
This is the last firing and is done in different ways, depending upon the type of pottery or glazes. Most last firings are done in high temperature to melt the glaze and turn it into a non-permeable glass barrier. Firing is done in gas, electric or wood-fired kilns.
After pottery pieces have been made, you can decide to paint them. The most commonly used paint is acrylic. Small paint brushes are used to paint tiny details, though some people opt to paint the whole pot one color. Moreover, different materials may be added to the clay like gems, granite and stones.
How to learn pottery:
Whether you want to learn the art of making pottery and ceramics to exercise your creativity or for commercial purposes, there are many ways of learning this trade. Learn pottery by visiting nearby pottery stores that offer scheduled lessons, seminar periods and private lessons. The best part about these stores is that they offer hands-on teaching. You can also enroll for online pottery classes.
Review the sites of the community colleges in your locality that offer adult education or degree courses in ceramics. You can also search online and local book stores for pottery beginner books then read at your own pace. Check whether there is a local pottery or ceramic “Meetup” group where you can learn and share ideas on creating pottery.