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The sign that you have arrived as a true ceramist is that when a piece goes wrong, you don't think twice about throwing it in the garbage.



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Ceramist breaking pottery
Sometimes items can be repaired and occasionally with a re-fire you will get something far more interesting that you originally started with.
Most of the time though, it is faster to pour and clean a new piece and improve your skills in the process than to try to repair one that has gone bad.

True ceramists know that clay and glaze are unpredictable.
That's why test tiles are so important.
This is also why they never use a new glaze on a special cast form, especially a piece that took them a while to clean and why they always take notes, in order to make the results as predictable as possible.
Even being careful and taking good notes, they still have to throw away work.

It is very frustrating when a ceramic that you have worked on for a long time breaks on the way to the kiln or the glaze turns out hideous.
The sooner you learn to look forward to the next piece rather than back, the sooner you improve the skills needed to make each of your pieces great!

Most ceramists for the first several years end up making very little work that is worth keeping.
All poured pieces seem to have the best potential to be keepers early on.
Pouring and cleaning takes a while, a lot of practice and repetition.
The fastest way to learn to lose is not to keep pieces at all, but to pour, cut them up for analysis, recycle and pour again.
I have heard things like "when you've poured a ton of clay, then you are not a beginner."
That sounds about right to me!

Not everybody is cut out for working with clay and this is one of the reasons.
Not everyone can deal with throwing away a whole kiln load of work or having their favorite pieces ruined.
When a painter paints on canvas, they know exactly what a piece will look like when it is finished.
But when a ceramist paints on clay they don't know exactly what color a glaze will turn out, whether the clay will crack or warp or whether the glaze will craze or peel.
The good ones test and learn their materials and equipment so they have a pretty good idea.
With ceramics there is always that element of chance and risk.
Now, on the flip side, few things compare to the excitement of opening the kiln after a glaze firing!

It is not possible to become a good ceramist without losing pieces.
It certainly isn't possible to become a great ceramist without losing a lot of pieces!
Try to focus more on the process than on the product.
If you focus on process, the great product will eventually come.

Practice, practice, practice.
Test, test, test.

Always learn from the mistakes you make.
Take notes, write down what works and what doesn't.
Read books to understand your materials and why they react in certain ways.
To me, this is the difference between someone who dabbles and a true professional.
It's not whether you sell a lot of work, but rather how you approach the work.

Finally, when the time comes to toss that piece you really wanted to turn out, remember that it is only a piece of clay!

It is never cloudy outside if the sun is shining in your heart.



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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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