I don’t have a pottery studio at home (just a table) and I don’t have a lot of free time as I look after our little one. However, as I won’t be back in SB’s studio for a month, I decided to buy a bag of clay from her and work from home. I wanted to share with you what I tools I have here, as I think some times pottery can be seen as something that needs a lot of expensive equipment i.e. a pottery wheel and kiln, neither of which I have. But! That isn’t stopping me.
Initially I was using just my hands and an embroidery needle to create but I decided a few basic tools might be useful. I started looking online and saw a common ‘starter’ kit with the following items:
- 1 x Potter’s rib
- 1 x Ribbon tool
- 1 x Wood modelling tool
- 1 x Needle tool
- 1 x Loop tool
- 1 x Sponge
- 1 x Steel Scraper
- 1 x Wire Clay Cutter
The annoying thing was this starter kit was on eBay/Amazon/Scarva/London Graphics Centre etc. at very difference prices but using the same stock photo! Was it the same kit just being sold at different prices or was there a difference in quality? It was ranging from around £4-15. In the end I decided to go for the Jakar kit on eBay for £9.95 free postage. Jakar was a brand I recognised from art shops and the price was mid range. I haven’t used the items yet, they don’t seem to be amazing quality (the wooden tools have some rough edges) but I think it’ll do the job for now and settle down once I have begun using them.
I don’t have a potters wheel or a banding wheel.. I do have a cake wheel however! I got this for Christmas for myself for £5 from The Works. It’s plastic but it does the same thing as a £50 metal wheel, in fact I used one of these at SB’s the other week. If I figure out why a heavier metal one is normally used, I’ll post. SB also gave me an old throwing bat that doesn’t fit her wheel any more. She said it’s best to work from a wooden surface, as I’ll never get my pot off otherwise.
This is the clay I am using, Scarva Earthstone, white stoneware original.
These are two books I bought after Christmas to give me a few ideas as well as technical advice. The Workshop Guide to Ceramics has been really useful at explaining the basics and the practical side to working with clay. I think most people would agree a single book cannot offer all there is to know about ceramics, however this seems to be a comprehensive book that acknowledges its limitations. The Best of 500 Ceramics is just a joy to look through for inspiration:
And finally, these are two books SB has leant me. She said The Craft of the Potter was her go to book when she first started pottery and it accompanied a TV series in the 1970s. She also leant me a book on glazes as I was trying to get to grips with the different glazes this week on my castle/plate, and I want to understand their components, minerals, oxides etc. I know that more often than not, you cannot predict exactly what will happen with a glaze in the kiln, but it’s good to have a foundation of knowledge to at least guide your choices.
Lots of posts today! But I think that’s brought me up to speed. I have a few projects in mind so once I am started with them and have something more to post, I will.