Pottery is an exciting hobby and requires several key supplies to enjoy. Here is a list of the basic pottery supplies you need to get started:
Pottery consists of vessels made from clay, so it is the most important of all pottery supplies. Clay comes in different varieties, delineated both by its color as well as the temperature that the clay is fired at. Low Temperature Clays, also called Earthenware Clays, are available in both red and white varieties, and are great for beginners.
Regardless of the firing temperature, clay generally costs between 40 cents and 50 cents per pound and is sold in 25-pound boxes. Clay may be smooth or it may have been mixed with grog. Grog is ground up fired pottery that makes clay easier to work with as your throw your pots. Visit Axner Pottery Supply for a wide variety of different clay options.
Once you get done creating your vase, plates, mugs, or dishes, you will be ready to decorate them. While you may not want to glaze your finished piece, particularly if you have created something out of attractive red clay, doing so can add color and designs that are limited only by your imagination.
Glazes are sold based upon both color and the temperature at which you will be firing your finished piece. Glazes may be underglazes, that are matte paints, or overglazes which have a shiny finish. You can also purchase a clear glossy overglaze to finish your piece if you use underglazes to create the detailed designs first. These pottery supplies may be purchased in sets or individually. Prices vary from a few dollars per pint to as much as 25 dollars per gram for metallic lusters used to accent your work.
Potter’s wheels come in many varieties, but the biggest decision is whether to purchase one that is powered with electricity or powered manually. Manual pottery wheels, also called kick wheels, may cost as little as $700. Motorized pottery wheels may cost anywhere from $600 for a lightweight wheel with a smaller .5 hp motor capable of centering a maximum of 80 pounds of clay up to $1500 for a more sturdy potter’s wheel, which can be used for up to 300 pounds of clay.
Often potter’s wheels are sold a la carte, which means that it is up to you to purchase additional pottery supplies like a splashguard to keep from being splashed as you work. Manual kick wheels may be modified to include a motor starting at about $200.
Pottery wheels, a central part of your pottery supplies, typically come with a metal wheel head that you can use to make (or “throw”) your pottery on. However, if you plan to throw a second piece before the first one has dried at least 24 hours (meaning it has become “leather hard” and can be safely moved) you will need bats.
Bats are affixed onto the wheel head and then removed with the finished vessel so you can move onto the next piece. Plaster bats that you will affix with clay to the wheel are as cheap as $3 each, while plastic bats that fit onto wheel heads that have been drilled for this purpose may cost between $9 and $40 each.
Hand Tools And Basic Pottery Supplies
Along with your hands, your pottery supplies should include a sponge to wet the clay as you work, a needle to trim the top of the pottery piece, and wood ribs to shape the clay as you work. Purchasing basic pottery supplies together should cost less than $10.
Kilns are available in different sizes. Kilns also can be powered by gas or electricity. Kilns become more expensive as they get larger and fire at higher temperatures. Kiln prices begin at just below $1,000 and can rise to tens of thousands of dollars for the large kilns used commercially. Your creations are limited by the size of your kiln, so look at the firing size listed for each kiln before purchasing it.
If you are in a big city, then you may luck into a pottery studio that offers studio time during which you can use their kilns. Search online for “ceramic studio” and “studio time” and your city’s name to see if there are any local pottery studios that rent out equipment and kiln time.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.