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Starting the Therapeutic Hobby of Ceramics & Pottery

Ceramics and pottery can be a very therapeutic hobby. Working with pottery can help give your mind a break and helps to lower your heart rate. Seeing a new piece of art come to life is a great way to beat depression, and it helps to relieve stress. Creating a ceramic and pottery pieces allows you to express yourself. There are several types of supplies that you might need to get started in this hobby.

Basic pottery tools

There are some basic pottery tools that you may need, including:

  • Chamois – Small rectangles of chamois help compress clay and help to shape edges
  • Potter’s needles – These long stick-like pottery tools with a handle are useful for scoring pieces and trimming the top edge
  • Cut-off wires – This tool that looks like it has fishing line between two handles is useful for cutting lumps of clay from a larger piece and for removing finished pieces from the pottery wheel
  • Fettling knives – You will want hard, and soft fettling knives as the hard ones are useful for removing hard pieces where the pottery was cast while the soft ones are useful for trimming pieces as you work on them
  • Ribs- These tools, usually made of hardwood, are useful in shaping your piece
  • Scrapers – These tools are useful for smoothing wet pottery
  • Loop, wire and ribbon tools – These three tools that come in various sizes are useful for hollowing out the middle of pottery pieces and for adding designs
  • Sponges- Natural and synthetic sponges are useful for adding water to your piece while you work or soaking up excess
Types of clay for pottery

Many different types of clay can be used for pottery, including:

  • Kaolin – Usually used to make white ceramic pieces, it is one of the hardest clays to work with, and it must be fired at a very high temperature. It is the purest clay, with very few minerals in it.
  • Earthenware – Found in red, gray, and orange, this clay is easy to work with, and it can be fired at a low temperature. This clay is transported by water allowing it to pick up minerals before it settles in the bottom of a river where it is collected.
  • Stoneware – This gray clay is often used to make bowls, and it can be fired at either a medium or high temperature in home kilns. It can vary in color from light gray to chocolate brown.
  • Ball clay – This gray clay is usually combined with earthenware of stoneware to add plasticity to pieces being made on pottery wheels.
  • Fire clay – Often added to stoneware to make pieces stronger, this clay must be fired at a high temperature.
Are there ways to do pottery without a kiln?

Yes, there are ways to enjoy making pottery without owning a kiln. You could get casting kits, especially of hands. Ready-to-paint pottery is another great choice.