I am on my local arts council board and I’ve met a lot of artists. Some paint, some work with wood and others love to get their hands into a big glob of clay. Potters are cool people and they’ll tell you right off that pottery is a fulfilling hobby, and for some a career. The items you create can be very useful, or they can be beautiful works of art. Many pieces fit into both categories.
I’m pretty sure you know how much kids love to create with clay. I bet you’ve scraped enough Play Dough up from your floors! This is a hobby that you can do with your kids, believe me, just forget about the mess and get your hands messy and have fun. If you are going to introduce your kids to pottery, choose kid-friendly pottery tools that won’t cut them or cause harm. There’s kid’s tools available on Amazon.
There are catalogs filled with nothing but pottery supplies. To those who are interested in giving it a try, this can be rather discouraging. But you don’t need an entire studio full of stuff to get started.
Basic Supplies for Pottery Beginners
* Towels – Pottery is a rather messy craft, so keeping some good, absorbent cotton towels on hand is a must. These can be used for cleaning your hands, and you can also lay them across your lap when working with clay to keep your pants clean.
* Sponges – If you’re throwing pottery, sponges are essential. They are used for a number of purposes, but the most common are absorbing and distributing water. To start with, invest in a few large sponges made for use in pottery.
* Chamois – Small pieces of chamois are staples of the pottery studio. These are used to compress and smooth edges.
* Potter’s needles – Needles aren’t just for needlework. Potter’s needles are long and heavy, and unlike most types of needles, they have handles. These can be used in a number of ways.
* Cut-off wires – You can buy these at any potter’s supply store, but if you’re just getting your feet wet, there are suitable substitutes. These include fishing line and thin wires such as those used to make springs. Cut-off wires are used to cut clay and remove items from the wheel.
* Wire and ribbon tools – These tools also have a variety of uses. They are most often used in handbuilding, as they can easily be broken in throwing.
* Wooden modeling tools – These come in all sorts of shapes, and are most often used in handbuilding. Some may also be used in trimming.
* Brushes – Brushes are important in pottery, but just any old brush won’t do. Pottery brushes are designed to hold water and other liquids that are used in working with and painting clay.
You might think you need a potter’s wheel, but that’s not necessarily true. For your first few projects, handbuilding is usually the best way to go. This will help you get a feel for pottery without making a large investment. As for kilns, you can usually find a pottery shop in your area that will fire your creations for you. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet and decided that pottery is something you would like to pursue, you can start looking at these more expensive pieces of equipment.
As with any hobby, it’s best to start with the basics when trying out pottery. If you find that it’s not for you, you can sell some of your tools to someone else. And if you do enjoy it, you’ll have a good start toward a complete pottery tool collection.