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Pottery: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Did You Know That There Are More Than 7 Types...
What is clay? What types of clay are there? Here is some basic information for you to understand the different types of clays used in pottery.
Is There a Difference Between Pottery and...
What are pottery and ceramics? Is there a difference? Is everything made out of clay pottery? Here are the answers.
The 6 Stages Clay Goes Through During...
As a kiln is firing up and cooling down, the changes in temperature make some profound changes in the clay. A look at the stages.
New to Pottery? All the Supplies You’ll...
An overview of the basic tools potters use in throwing and hand building with clay.
Why You Should Start Creating Pottery with Clay
Creating pottery can be a mild interest or a consuming joy. In either case, beginning to work with clay is an adventure. Here are answers to some questions that you may have as how to begin creating with pottery.
How to Bisque Fire Pottery
Tells how you bisque fire pottery, including discussion on the best type of kiln to use, what temperature to choose, and the usual firing schedule or ramp.
Temperature Ranges for Firing Glazes
There are specific temperature ranges for firing glazes; individual glazes will mature within one of those five ranges. If the glazes are fired at too low a temperature, the glaze will not mature. If the temperature goes too high, the glaze will become too melted and run off the surface of the pottery. For success, a potter must know their glazes' temperature ranges at which they become mature.
How to Choose the Right Clay for You
There are so many choices of pottery clays, it can be baffling. How do you choose which clay is right for you and your pottery needs?
5 Easy Ways to Glaze Your Pottery
Glazes can be applied to pottery in five main ways. These are dipping, pouring, brushing, sponging, and spraying the glaze on.
Find Out Why Slab Pots Are So Unique
Hand building slab pots has a strong history in certain parts of the world. It can be done while the slabs are either soft or stiff. Building with slabs can also be done using slump or drape molds.
Is Pottery Dangerous?
Is pottery dangerous? How dangerous is it doing pottery? What are the dangers to myself, to my children, pets, or home?
3 Important Factors That Affect Glaze Color
Ceramic and glaze colorants follow some basic principals. These principals not only deal with the ceramic colorants themselves, but also the composition of the glazes and how they are fired.
7 Things You Should Consider before Buying a...
There are a number of variables you need to consider before making the big decision as to the purchase of your own potter's wheel. Find out more here.
Set Up Your Pottery Studio
Working with clay requires certain things from the space we use. Here are some guidelines as to what you will need to consider when you are setting up your own pottery studio.
Making Clay Slabs
Making the clay slabs is the first step in all slab-built pottery construction. This is an important foundation; mistakes made in the creation of slabs may destroy the piece in later stages of construction.
How to Dry Pottery and Clay Objects
Drying pottery and clay objects correctly is one of the most important steps prior to firing clay. Improper drying can result in cracking, warping, and breakage either before firing or during firing.
Bisque
Definition of bisque, bisqueware and bisque firing.
What You Wanted to Know about Ceramics Firing
It is important to have an overview of the firing process. Firing clay transforms it from its humble, soft beginnings into a new substance, ceramic. Ceramics are tough, strong, and very similar in some ways to stone. Pieces of pottery have survived for thousands of years, all due to clay that met fire.
Greenware
Definition given for the pottery term
Raku Firing Step by Step
An introduction to raku, giving a history of the raku process.
Oxidation and Reduction Atmospheres
Oxidation and reduction atmospheres are the two main kiln atmospheres possible when firing pottery. Both oxidation and reduction refer to the amount of oxygen available in the kiln while firing pottery.
Slip
The term. Pottery.
3 Classic Pot Types That Are Created by Hand
Before potters had the wheel, they were creating spectacular pots and clay forms. Using clay, their hands, and a minimum of tools they brought function and artistry together. Here are the three most common forms of producing hand built pots.
5 Steps to Building Coil Pots
Even those new to pottery should be able to make large and intriguing creations using this method for coil pots.
Firing Schedules and Ramps
Kilns are fired according to firing schedules, which include how long the kiln will be firing at a certain ramp, or rate of temperature gain.
Three Methods to Wedge Your Clay
Three of the most popular methods to wedge your clay are the cut and slap method, cylinder wedging, and cone wedging.
What Are Underglazes?
Underglazes are used in pottery to create designs and patterns that will come up through the glaze covering them. There are different types.
Leather-hard
Definition of the term leather-hard when used in pottery and ceramics.
What is Throwing on the Potter's Wheel?
What is throwing on the pottery wheel? How does throwing on the pottery wheel work?
Why You Should Start Making Pinch Pots
The pinch pot method has been one of the two major techniques used to produce pottery. Discover its value and the various types of poetry it can produce.
Characteristics of Hand Building Clays
Hand building with clay is fun. Good hand building clays make the experience even better. What are the characteristics of a clay body that has been designed for hand building?
Decorating Basics for Potters
An overview of the different ways pottery and clay objects can be decorated.
How to Use Local Clays in Your Pottery
Have you ever wanted to dig your own clay? Local clays can make wonderful slips and (when fired higher than their actual maturity temperature) slip glazes.
What Goes Into Glazes?
There four key types of components which are found in glazes. All of the various ingredients used in ceramic glazes fall into one (or more) of these categories.
Low-Fire Clay Bodies
Low-fire clays include red and white earthenware. low-fire clay bodies can be used for throwing and hand building pottery and ceramic sculptures.
A Demonstration of Crayon Wax Resist on Pottery
You can apply wax crayons as a form of wax resist on pottery to create interesting decorative effects.
Scoring
What it means to score a pot or piece of clay.
Mishima Technique and Tools
Mishima techniques and tools and explored in this article. Mishima is a type of inlay which allows ceramists to create sharp edges and intricate designs.
Mid-Range Matte Glazes
This is a compilation of mid-range matte pottery glaze recipes. As with all pottery glazes and glaze materials, use the proper safety precautions when mixing these glazes.
Kiln Buying Basics
There are many considerations to take into account before you buy a kiln. Buying a kiln is a major expenditure; take the steps to ensure that you will be happy with your purchase for years to come.
Electric Kiln Basics
Electric kilns have very specific requirements in regards to voltage, phase, and amperage. Find out more here, before buying or installing an electric kiln.
The Firing Process for Low-Fire Pottery
The process of firing low-fire pottery, from dry greenware to finished pots.
How to Burnish Pottery
How to burnish pottery, from the choice of clay to sealing a burnished pot.
Why Clay Bodies Shrink
All clays shrink. But not all clays are created equal. Different clay bodies experience different amounts of shrinkage. It depends upon the clay's particle size and on how many and what type of impurities are present in the clay body.
Horse Hair Pottery
A description of what horse hair pottery is and how to create your own horse hair pottery pieces.
How to Center Clay on the Potter's Wheel
Centering clay on the potter's wheel effects all other steps of throwing pottery.
Grog
Definition of grog, as used in pottery and ceramics.
Painting on Pottery
Painting on pottery can be done in a number of ways. Generally speaking, potters use underglazes, slips, engobes, and stains to paint on their work.
7 Elements of 3-D Forms That Potters Should Know
The major elements of any three dimensional form include shape, value, space, texture, line, color, and time and movement.
The Three Main Pieces of Equipment for Potters
The three most-often used pieces of equipment that potters can use are kilns, wheels, and some form of equipment used to bring dry clay to usable form.
A Potpourri of Slip Decorating Techniques Part 1
There are many interesting and diverse pottery decorating techniques involving the use of slips. Effects range from very linear to very textural, and from very fluid to quite hard-edged. This is Part 1 of 2 describing these techniques.
How to Dip Glaze Pottery
Dipping pottery into glazes is one of the oldest methods of glaze application. It is still an easy and useful method today.
What Kind of Kiln Is It?
Kilns are basically containers for heat. In the most primitive forms, this could be nothing more than a trench or pit dug into the earth. Today, there are many different types of kilns. Here is an introduction to some of the most common types used for pottery and the ceramic arts.
Vitrification
An explanation of vitrification in clay and glazes used in pottery.
An Overview on Glazes
An overview of what glazes are and their characteristics will be very helpful if you are new to them. Glazes are very diverse. Not only are there a wide variety of colors, but also of opacity, surfaces, and temperature ranges. Here we will look at an overview of that diversity.
Ancient Greek Pottery
Images of ancient Greek pottery showing a diversity of types from alabastron to stauettes.
Slumping and Draping Slabs
Two types of molds are used with clay slabs to create pottery.
Slab Build a Mug
Instructions for slab building a pottery mug.
Make a Basic Slab Pot
Creating pots with slabs is probably the most technically challenging of the hand building techniques. Because of the structural stresses, it is important to create good seals and welds between slabs.
Characteristics of Throwing Clay Bodies
Throwing on the potter's wheel makes some heavy demands on clay bodies. There are three key characteristics necessary for a clay body to work well for throwing.
How to Mix Glazes for Pottery
Steps, tips and suggestions on how to mix glazes for pottery.
Why Glazes Go Bad
Glaze defects can be caused by six situations. Find out more about those causes and the glaze defects they can produce.
How to Use Wax Resist
Wax resist is used extensively in pottery as a means of controlling glazes and other liquids. It has both practical applications, such as keeping the bottoms of pots glaze-free, and well as decorative applications.
Pottery Craftsmanship
Craftsmanship is the backbone of pottery and ceramics. Explore the craftsmanship and skills potters learn and use.
How to Buy a Used Electric Kiln
There are a number of things that need to be considered when buying a used electric kiln. This article will tell you the questions you need answered in order to make a good buying decision when looking at used electric kilns.
How to Recycle Clay Scraps
Recycling clay scraps so they can be made into workable clay again can be done without any machinery.
6 Aspects of Electric Potter's Wheels
In the thousands of years pottery has been practiced, one of the farthest reaching innovations was the introduction of electric-powered potter's wheels (pottery wheels). Electric potter's wheels allow potters to produce volumes of work even faster than before.
How to Fire in Reduction
Reduction firings can bring out some very wonderful colors in pottery. Many high-fire glazes are formulated for reduction, and will not work successfully in neutral or oxidation firings. How do you put a kiln into reduction when firing pottery? This article will guide you toward success.
Make a Basic Pinch Pot
Pinch pots are fast and direct molding of a small pot. Step three is to pinch out the walls and floor of the pot. Page 3.
Ceramic and Glaze Fluxes
Fluxes lower the melting point of the glass formers in glazes, clay bodies, and other ceramic materials.
Pyrometric Cones
What are pyrometric cones and how are they used in pottery? Here are the answers.
Poisons in Pottery
There are poisons in pottery that potters need to be aware of. In this time of readily available information and safety equipment, it is only common sense to pay attention to what can harm yourself or those around you.
How to Use a Kiln Sitter
Kiln sitters are used in electric ceramic kilns as a fail-safe means of ending a firing once it has reached the target temperature, or slightly above. Once tripped, the kiln sitter automatically shuts off electrical current to the kiln elements.
When to Underglaze
When should a potter underglaze their pottery? Do you need to wait until the pots have been bisqued, or can you underglaze them as greenware?
What Are Crystalline Glazes?
Crystalline glazes are specifically formulated to encourage visible crystal growth in the glaze as it goes through the glaze firing.
Pottery and Ceramic Supplies
Most of us no longer go out and dig our own materials as a matter of course. The vast majority of modern potters order our potter and ceramic supplies from wholesale and retail suppliers. Here is a list of some of the online retailers of pottery and ceramics supplies.
Avoid Confusing Pottery Glazes and Painting...
Painting glazes and pottery glazes. Are they the same? The same word can mean two very different things, depending if you are talking to a painter or to a potter. Products used in painterly glazing can have very negative results if they are mistakenly used in the pottery studio.
Crazing
What is crazing in glazes? Find the reasons for and solutions to the glaze defect know as crazing here.
Use Your Kiln Safely
Learn about kiln safety, protective gear, ventilation, and gases emitted during firing.
The First Porcelain Produced in Europe
The story of the first production of porcelain in Europe. After porcelain pottery was first imported from China to Europe, European potters tried for many long years to replicate the porcelain clay body.
Ceramic Stains
What are ceramic stains and how are they used in pottery. Are there different types of stains? Find out here!
Plasticity
Clay is plastic? Yes. Plasticity refers to its ability to bend and flex.
How to Wedge Clay Using the Cut and Slap Method
Slapping the clay during cut and clap wedging needs to be done with a fair amount of force. Page 2.
Silica
Silica is one of the three main ingredients of clays and glaze materials.
Bone Dry
: Bone dry (adjective) is a term used to describe and identified greenware pottery that has dried as
Before Centering Clay
Before centering clay on the potter's wheel, there are a number of steps that should be taken. These preparatory steps will work toward your overall throwing success.
Pottery and Ceramic Suppliers in Arizona
This is a list of pottery and ceramic suppliers based in Arizona.
How to Load a Kiln
Stack and load the kiln carefully, observing several rules in order to reduce kiln accidents. Page 2.
Where to Find a Potter's Wheel
Where do you look to find a pottery wheel to buy? Potters have several choices.
How to Make Handles for Pottery
You will want to make handles for many pots such as mugs, pitchers, teapots, and so on. Here are several ways to make handles that are commonly used in pottery.
Clay Body
: Clay body (noun) refers to the actual clay mixture that is used in forming objects. It might only have
Crawling
Crawling is a glaze defect. Find out what it is, why it happens, and how to correct this problem.
How to Pull a Handle
Begin pulling the clay for a pottery handle be gently pulling the clay downward. Page 2.
Mid-Range and High-Fire Clay Bodies
What are mid-range and high-fire clay bodies? These clay bodies fall into two basic types, stoneware clay bodies and porcelain clay bodies.
Do Wiring Checks in Your Pottery Studio
Check the wiring in your pottery studio every three to six months.
Engobe
Engobes are slip-like liquids formulated with less clay in order to reduce shrinkage.
Where to Find a Kiln
Where do you look to find a pottery kiln to buy? Ceramics require high temperatures that are difficult to reach without one.
Pottery and Plumbing
Pottery and plumbing can be very bad together. As a potter, you need to know what your plumbing needs are and how to handle them.
Where to Look for Pottery Classes
Classes in pottery or ceramics can help you expand your technical and expressive voice in clay. They can also be great fun. You may have decided that you would like to take a class in pottery, but aren't sure how to find one. Here are some places to look.
Terra Sigillata
Terra sigillata is a decorative technique using extremely fine slip.
Kiln Shelf Basics
Kiln shelves are expensive. Be certain you get the right ones for your needs and care for them appropriately.
How to Cylinder Wedge Clay
Hand placement during cylinder wedging of clay. Page 2.
Slake
The process of wetting dried, unfired clay.
Paddle and Anvil and Rib and Hand Techniques
Once the initial coil pot has been formed, the surface and the walls can be refined through the paddle and anvil and the rib and hand techniques.
What to Do Before Glazing Pottery
Tips on what you should do before you begin glazing your pottery.
Lusters, China Paints and Overglazes
Lusters, china paints, and overglazes are all glaze options that fire at very low (for pottery) temperatures.
The Many Uses of Pottery Needles
Potter's needles have many uses in pottery. It is one of the most basic and versatile tools available, other than the potter's hands, themselves.
How to Calculate Kiln Firing Costs
It is good to calculate how much it costs to fire your kiln, both to keep track of your own expenses and in case you want to rent out kiln space.
Make a Pottery Shrinkage Ruler
You can make your own pottery shrinkage ruler. This will help you size new pots so they will be a specific size after firing.
A Potpourri of Slip Decorating Techniques Part 2
Decorating pottery using slip in the mishima technique is very similar to wood or stone inlay in its effect. Page 4.
Pinholing and Pitting
Pinholing and pitting are ceramic glaze defects. Find out what they are, why they occur, and how to solve the problem.
Raku
Raku is a type of low-fire pottery which often uses out-of-kiln reduction techniques.
Ceramics
A definition of ceramics. Pottery.
Three Foundations of Pottery Skills
Your pottery skills will be greatly enhanced if you know the three foundations underlying of pottery-making. Your development as a potter rests squarely on practice, experience, and experimentation.
Make Particle Board Bats for Your Pottery Wheel
How to make inexpensive particle board bats for your potter's wheel.
Artistry and Aesthetics
Artistry and aesthetics are as much a part of pottery as the technical side of pottery craftsmanship. Technical skill, artistry, and aesthetic design are all part of what makes pottery great.
How to Cut Clay for Surface Decoration
Clay can be incised to create pottery decorations. Various incising tools will give differing incised lines. Page 4.
Tjanting Tools
A tjanting (also known as a canting) tool is used to apply wax in making batik fabric. It can also be used by potters when doing wax resist decorations on their pottery.
Types of Thrown Pottery Lids
Explore the types of pottery lids that are thrown on the wheel.
Control Dust in Your Pottery Studio
Learn how to control dust in your pottery studio and avoid health risks.
How to Open Clay while Throwing
How you open the clay on the potter's wheel will effect the rest of the throwing process. If rushed or done with poor hand placement, the pot may be doomed to be off-center.
How to Wedge Clay Using the Cone Method
The first action step of cone wedging clay. Page 2.
Ceramist
A ceramist is a person working in one of the fields involving ceramics.
In the Round
'In the round' refers to working or seeing in three dimensions.
Problems With Clay Bodies
Problems with clay bodies can occur at any stage of pottery production. These clay body defects can usually, be avoided, however. For all of clay's versatility and incredible flexibility as a medium, it does need to be understood. Clay does make certain requirements of those who work with it, or problems will arise.
Brushes Used in Pottery
In pottery brushes have many uses, and these uses must be kept in mind when brushes are purchased.
How to Throw or Pull Up the Walls of a Pot
The entire process of forming a pot out of clay on the potter's wheel is generally called throwing. There are several steps within that process, such as centering, opening, throwing the walls, and finalizing the form.
Basic Vessel Shapes and Transitions
Pottery vessels usually derive from basic vessel forms, in which basic forms can be used together in one pot with transitions between areas.
Epichysis
Ancient Greek pottery epichysis, a vessel used for pouring wine and characterized by long neck and spout, with a high looped handle. Page 16.
Low-Fire Glaze Recipes
Recipes for low-fire pottery glazes.
Dry Earthenware Clays and Slip
There are a number of slips and earthenware clays that are available in dry form to be used in the formulation of a potter's own particular clay body recipe.
Basics of Thrown Pottery Forms
Thrown pottery can have a number of specific areas or parts. Formal knowledge of these can enhance a potter's aesthetic as they work on the wheel.
Tools to Make Holes in Clay
Make holes in clay in many ways. It is generally easier to make holes while the clay is soft, but holes can be made even after firing.
Ash Glaze Recipes
A compilation of ash glaze recipes.
Throw Successful Plates
How to throw a pottery plate on the potter's wheel. Although it may seem an easy shape to throw, there are some ways the clay can trip you up.
Dolomite
What is dolomite and how is it used in pottery.
Reduction
Reduction atmospheres are used in pottery to effect the development of both glazes and clay bodies.
Know About Kickwheels
The kickwheel, is the most common form of human-powered wheel used by modern potters in the United States today. Find out more about them.
Types of Pottery Sponges
A look at the different types of sponges and their use in creating pottery.
6 Ways to Heat a Kiln
Kilns can be heated by a number of different heating sources. Kilns used for pottery are heated, or brought to temperature, using five main heating sources.
A Thrown Table Lamp Demonstration
Throwing a cylinder for a pottery lamp. The thrown cylinder will be altered. Page 2.
Dinos
Ancient Greek pottery dinos, a large, deep bowl with a small, rounded lip and a rounded bottom. Page 15.
Calyx-Krater
Ancient Greek pottery krater, a vessel used to mix water into wine, in the calyx, or flower-shaped, form. Page 12.
Ash Glazes
One of the specific types of glazes that potters tend to talk about are the ash glazes. The vast majority of ash glazes use wood ash, although some potters have developed glaze recipes using ashes from rice straw and hulls, reeds, seaweed, and hay straw, as well as the ashes from other plants. Normally, ash glazes require high-fire temperatures, usually falling between cone 9 and cone 11.
Hydria
Ancient Greek pottery hydria, a jug specifically created to carry and pour water. Page 18.
Majolica
Majolica is a historical type of pottery still practiced today.
How to Throw off the Mound
Throwing off the mound (or throwing off the hump) allows potters to make quantities of small pots or bowls very quickly. It is a technique that many production potters master and use as a matter of course.
Common Dry Ball Clays Used in Pottery
Ball clays are light-colored, highly plastic clays that are used to help clay bodies become more workable. They are also very prone to excessive shrinkage and warping. Because of these problems, they are not used by themselves in a clay body.
Frit
The definition of the pottery term, frit.
Gamikos
Ancient Greek pottery gamikos used in the marriage ceremony to sprinkle water on the bride. Page 17.

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