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Pottery for beginners

Pottery for beginners

Pottery is meant to be learned! And if you’re just starting out (like me), you still have a ways to go. So you don’t panic, I’ve put together a lot of interesting facts that I hope will help you on your journey into the world of pottery.

Courses, but where?

There are a variety of pottery course providers (you just have to find them). Especially adult education centers offer courses on a regular basis. Here you can choose between some course contents. Furthermore, a variety of professional ceramists and ceramic dealers offer courses on pottery, glazing or other topics. Under expert guidance you will learn different techniques and get tips and tricks that you can use later.

In addition to courses, there are also workshops lasting several days, which take place for example in ceramic studios or are offered by individuals. Here you can exchange ideas with other like-minded people and dive even deeper into the world of ceramics. You will also learn some tricks worth knowing, which will later help you to more easily achieve your desired image on the wheel.

To learn or improve your skills on the wheel, you can also rent a potter’s wheel from a pottery studio or borrow one from a pottery shop. Of course, it is an advantage if you are not right at the beginning here, but have worked with a wheel before and can already apply a few basics.

Of course, the above mentioned possibilities are all connected with costs. For those of you who want to save a little money, there is of course also a way to learn pottery. And that is with YouTube or books! Some people learn by watching and doing, so it’s definitely worth a try. If that doesn’t work out, you still have the option of being taught by a professional ceramist.

How does it work with the turning?

The motto is: center, center, center! To achieve this optimally, it is advisable not to set the rotational speed of the disc too high at the beginning.

When centering, press from the side and from above into the center to position the lump of clay nicely in the center. At the beginning it will certainly test you and cost some nerves, but practice makes perfect and unfortunately it takes time. So don’t give up after two or three tries, but keep turning and getting better and better! As a little tip: If you concentrate completely on the center of the potter’s wheel, it works best.

If you find it difficult and you are already at the end of your strength (and nerves), you can find some videos about centering here or just ask a potter.

In the long run, however, it is advisable to attend a course from time to time, because over time small mistakes creep in that you don’t even notice yourself. These can often have a greater impact and prevent you from really developing. That’s why it makes sense to have an outside professional look at your hands from time to time.

Which potter's wheel is suitable for the beginning?

Pottery wheels are a costly purchase, so it is definitely advisable to consider what you need and want before buying the wheel. Because to spend 800€ and after two years to buy a new potter’s wheel again, because this no longer meets the needs, that can or want to afford only a few.

So here are a few questions you can ask yourself before buying:

  • What do I want to produce?
  • How big and heavy should my workpieces be?
  • What do I want to do with my workpieces? Sell them or keep them?

The W-questions are particularly important here -> Who, What, Where, Why, How, What for, etc.?

Only when you have answered some of these questions and are satisfied with them, should you either look for information on the Internet or ask for advice at a specialist ceramics shop. Here, nevertheless, a personal conversation is always best, because so small, important details can be found, which you may not have considered before and are important for the decision of your own potter’s wheel.

What other materials do I need?

So that you can finally start turning, you first need a turning clay. You will also need a clay cutter, sponge, turning loop and turning rail. Once you have all the materials you need, there’s nothing standing in your way.

By the way, there’s a separate blog entry on this topic in which I describe pretty much all the tools you might need for turning on the wheel. You can find it here: Accessories for potter’s wheels.

Conclusion

Pottery is like any other hobby, it demands time and energy. But little by little you will master the basics and can go more into detail, maybe even think up your own trademark and implement. So pottery definitely takes a lot of heart and soul!

If you have any more tips for beginner potters, feel free to fill out the contact form below and write to me! I look forward to every message from you 🙂

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