We love pottery and we can never have enough sitting around whether it’s more ~natural~ decor or a new home for yet ~another~ plant. Our absolute love for pottery, and the ridiculous amount of money we’ve been known to spend on it, got us thinking that we should totally dink around and start making our own. No, we don’t have a kiln, and no we’ve never done this before, and no, we have no idea what we’re doing, but we allowed ourselves to be beginners and we just know we’ll be pros in no time, until then, we will just laugh at the many wonky coffee mugs we now have in our possession. If you’re a beginner pot-head (see what we did there?) then enjoy this beginners guide to at-home pottery!
(image via: istock)
Clay: Duh. Our personal favorite is stoneware clay, this type of clay is versatile and perfect for beginners. It comes in a variety of colors from white to dark brown, so think earthy shades, and stoneware fires nonporous, which means you don’t have to glaze anything before you add liquid.
Pottery Wheel: A pottery wheel isn’t totally necessary, but having one ensures you don’t have to make everything with just your hands, and if you love a smooth finish, a pottery wheel will be just the thing for you. Now, pottery wheels can be pricey, so if you’re a beginner, go ahead and nab a more cost-efficient one.
A Kiln: This is another piece that isn’t totally necessary, and in fact, there are a lot of ways to fire clay, but if you’re really wanting to get into pottery making, we recommend buying one. Whether you opt for a kiln or not, all pottery pieces must be fired.
Needles: These are needed to carve, pierce, and/or trim clay.
Cutter wire: Used for dividing large blocks of clay into chunks.
Chamois cloth: Used to compress the clay while it’s on the wheel to create smooth surfaces.
Brushes: Used for a variety of purposes but especially for glazing.
Glaze and/or paints: Depending on how you want to add color or designs, and what you want your end product to look like will determine which you purchase.
(image via: istock)
So you have all of your tools and materials, it’s time to first set up your workspace. You’ll want to create a space that is all your own in an area that gives you plenty of room to create.
Next, prep your workspace by gathering the tools you plan on using to get started and by covering anything (like floors or your clothes) that you don’t want the clay to get all over while you work.
The time has come to throw some clay on the wheel! For beginners, don’t go in with the mindset you’re going to immediately create art. Sure, have an idea of what you want to make, but use this time to get used to your wheel and its functions.
Once you’ve created a piece that you’re happy with, it’s time to fire it by placing it in your kiln and following your kiln’s instructions for proper firing.
Once it comes out of the kiln, it’s time to glaze, then fire one last time. Once your pottery has cooled, it is now ready to be filled with coffee, a plant, or set out on display, whatever kind of plans you have for it!
And don’t forget, allow yourself to be a beginner and be (probably) really bad at it for a while. You’ll catch on to the various techniques and you’ll be a pro in no time.