What do Beginners Need to Learn about Pottery? Three Facts
Did you know that glazed stoneware was developed about 3,500 years ago in ancient China? This accomplishment went along with the use of kilns that could be fired at higher temperatures than before. If you are interested in taking up pottery and getting involved with this ancient and often very practical art form, there are a few things you should know about the tools of the trade.
1. The Pottery Wheel
It’s hard to mention ceramics supplies without addressing the pottery wheel, which was invented in Mesopotamia between 6,000 and 4,000 BCE. The wheel, which allows potters to “throw” a ball of clay, or shape and twist it as it rotates in the middle of a turntable, essentially revolutionized the production of pottery. Today, a pottery wheel can be operated by hand, foot, or electricity. Pottery wheels for beginners are more simplistic, and more affordable as well.
2. Pottery Glazes
Most of the time, you don’t want your pottery to simply stay the earthy red, brown, or tan colors it started out as. Glazes are important not only for decorating, but also for improving the strength and durability of the clay. Glazes help keep water out, and prevent the clay from being porous. When you are buying glazes, never judge by the color glazes appear either in their bottles, or before they have been heated. Glazes in liquid and painted form are often a duller, thicker color than they appear after being fired in a kiln.
Did you know that the very first kilns were just pits made in the ground that got a little bit hotter than a standard fire? Today, multiple types of kilns exist, many of them reaching incredibly high temperatures. Popular brands include Paragon kilns and Olympic kilns. It is for this reason that it is important that clay be treated correctly during the creation process. If pieces are not attached right and clay pounded to remove the bubbles, breakage during the kiln process is likely.
Which ceramics supplies do you like working with? Let us know in the comments