Pottery is a beautiful art form that can trace its roots back to the beginning of human civilization. There are many different disciplines that fall under the umbrella of pottery, which means many opportunities for you to be truly imaginative and create art that is sure to last. Here are a few questions beginning potters should keep in mind as they develop their pottery skills at home.
Of course, it’s important to establish if it’s even possible to practice pottery at home first. The short answer is yes. You will be limited on the type of projects you can create, in that most clay materials have to be baked in a kiln, which runs far hotter than a conventional home oven. That said, if you’re looking to practice your skills, you’re at home for a long period of time and don’t have the option of visiting a studio, or you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can certainly practice pottery from the comfort of home.
You have a few main options when it comes to creating pottery at home without a kiln. An oven-bake clay is a type of material that can be dried at lower temperatures than traditional clay, which means you can use your home oven. Modeling clay is an excellent resource for young learners and for artists looking to create more detailed, smaller projects. You also have air-dry clay which, as the name might indicate, does not need to be baked. Each different clay has benefits and specific uses, so it’s a good idea to explore your options and decide on the right clay for your needs.
Depending on what kind of projects you’re making and what type of clay you’re working with, you have a lot of different options for tools and sculpting accessories. Still, every potter should have a few staples, including a needle tool for scoring and adhering pieces, a wire tool for cutting clay, trimming tools, wooden knives, sponges, and bowls. Your local art store will have what you need to get started.
Like a kiln, a pottery wheel can be expensive, which means not every potter will have access to one when they first start crafting at home. That’s okay. There are many different ways to create pots and other projects without a pottery wheel. To start, you can experiment with coil and pinch techniques, which involve creating bowls either from long, rolled out strands of clay or from one large ball that is then shaped into your preferred size and design. In the beginning, experiment with textures, design, and clay types, to get a sense of your own pottery style. You can then move that onto the wheel when it becomes available.
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