So you may have decided to try your hand at the pottery wheel. Great! Knowing where to begin can feel a little overwhelming at the start. What tools do I need? What space do I need to work in? What temperature does clay set in?
Starting out with a beginner’s pottery class can give you an idea of some of the basics to getting more involved with this wonderful craft. Alternatively, buying some clay and experimenting with little crafts on your own is a good trial and error way to get a taster for the potter’s wheel. I have put together some things to know before you start out by yourself:
- So why work with clay?
For a start, clay is simply fascinating to work with! There are no mistakes and the beauty of it is that it will lend itself favorably to your level of skill – beginner or advanced, whether you are a child or an adult. It’s very easy to learn how to make a pinch pot in just under one hour.
Even though it is simple to learn, clay is not boring. There are always more techniques and designs to explore and create. Get yourself ready for an adventure on your clay journey!
- The best space to work in?
It is best to keep clay at room or to work in an outer building by itself. Clay dust particles are very fine and probably won’t be sucked up by a standard household vacuum.
Ideally, the best space for you to work in should have
- floors impenetrable to water and easily cleanable (concrete)
- water access close by (note: clay shouldn’t go down your drain!)
- a sturdy table
- a surface which clay will not stick to
- some sturdy shelves for drying your pots
- some type of storage unit
- Lots of different clays and glazes!
The temperature in which your clay matures at is the most important thing to consider. This is because glazes should be matched to the temperature of maturation for the clay.
Tip: Find a local potter who’ll hire out some kiln space to you. This way, you can find out the temperature(s) they would usually fire to and you might pick up some other tips too!
- Find your clay and supplies
Instant clay ready to use form the pack and glazes are pretty widely available on the market. You can buy these in a range of colors (meaning the color of the fired clay) and suitable for a range of temperatures. The best starting point would be to check with a local store that supplies ceramic and pottery supplies, a store for artist’s supplies or crafts retailer. Many of the local stores could be willing and able to help you out if you ask them. Alternatively, Google some online pottery and ceramic supply stores to give you an idea.
Fly, some money advice!
As you get more familiar with clay and practice making more pots, you should consider ordering larger quantities of supplies each time as you will save money on shipping and also get more clay for your buck!