If you’re looking for a new hobby and you like to work with your hands, pottery could be the perfect pick. The great thing about pottery is that it doesn’t require a significant investment of time or money for you to dip your toes in the water. If you want to get serious with it, however, it’s definitely not one of the cheaper art forms.
Getting started with pottery requires only a few simple materials, some basic knowledge, and a little free time. Here are 10 simple tips for getting started with pottery:
- Start with hand building. It’s a good idea to work with your hands first so you can get a feel for the clay and how it responds to manipulation.
- Experiment with different techniques such as building coil pots, slab pots, and other hand building techniques. You’ll need a few simple tools, but you can purchase beginner pottery kits online or at an art supply store.
- Know that your pottery will change as it dries. Most clay shrinks as it dries, so you may need to build your pieces a little bit larger, so they come out the size you want. If you need a specific size, look for a shrinkage ruler at your local art supply shop.
- Find the right surface to work on. Clay sticks to most surfaces and it can be very difficult to remove a piece of pottery from the surface you build it on. Many potters like working on pieces of canvas or heavyweight cotton.
- Try using polymer clays that don’t require a kiln. There are plenty of options for clays that can be air dried or baked in an oven. You’ll need to look into glazes that work with this type of clay, but there are many options available.
- Consider enrolling in a community ceramics course. Not only can you pick up tips from other potters, but you’ll gain access to a kiln without having to buy one yourself.
- Start to experiment with different glazing techniques. You can use wax to keep parts of your pottery unglazed or you can mix different glazes to create your own unique color.
- Look for a used pottery wheel or see if your community center has one you can use. The pottery wheel makes it possible to create all kinds of projects, but it will take time to learn how to use is – you may want to enroll in a class or watch videos online to learn the technique.
- Make sure your clay is completely dry before you fire it in the kiln. If your clay is still wet, it may explode in the kiln, ruining your work as well as anyone else’s work that is also in the kiln.
- Give yourself time to practice. As with any art form, practice makes perfect! Clay is a forgiving medium in some ways, but certain aspects of the process are very unforgiving. You’ll make a lot of mistakes as you learn, but it’s all part of the process.
As is true with any art form, pottery allows for a great deal of creativity. Though you’ll need to learn certain techniques for working with a wheel and for glazing your pottery, the actual creation allows for a great deal of creativity. Try different things and see if you can come up with your own style!