Stoneware pottery can be considered as the oldest craft. First ever made handmade pottery was a jug to hold water way back 3000 B.C. Handmade potteries is well known throughout the world wherein thousands of potters make one daily. There are two ways in making pottery: by hand and by pottery wheel. Though using a wheel is more convenient, handmade potteries are still widely used. They just differ in symmetry, which is highly achieved by using a wheel but it also depends on the potter’s skill. As said that pottery is considered the oldest craft, it is also an old way of expressing artistry. Just like other form of art, you can express your feelings through pottery and thus create a variety of masterpieces. It may be old, but it may bring into being new artistic crafts, which can last even if the potter dies.
Stoneware pottery has been extensively famous for its texture and scratch-resistant features. And it has been rumored that porcelain is a form of this pottery though it has not yet been proven. By use of the hand, wheel and the basics, pottery has evolved into making new, exciting works of art. Uniqueness of one from another, accounts for its fame throughout the world and still more yet to be discovered. It can be you, so why not try?
Before starting off with your pottery making, equipment needed for your project are the following: Apron, clay, pottery wheel (based on preference), shaping tools (knives, blades, etc.), glaze or paints, water, brushes, and flat working space or work place.
Now we can start, just follow these simple steps.
- Choosing the clay. The clay most widely used in stoneware pottery is that of heavy mixture to give your pots strength to withstand everyday use. You can also ask help from pros on how to select clay and the type best suited for stoneware. Color of clays sometimes depend on where you get it and it also changes during firing depending on the range of heat applied to it.
- Knead, wedge, throw and massage. Air bubbles can be trapped in clay when water is added, so you have to knead, wedge, throw and massage your clay to perfection. Not removing trapped air can cause brittleness and asymmetry. Also cutting through the clay timely will also remove air bubbles from your clay. Weigh the clay depending on what type of pottery you have in mind for example, less clay is needed when making mugs that pots.
- Molding. Mold your clay into your desired shape by use of your hand or by the pottery wheel. Each way may produce different results. Add your unique touch by putting designs on your molded shape using your hands and shaping tools. Then trim down your molds after letting it set, enough to be handled so that it won’t deform, to add spouts, and foot rings etc., if you’re making teapots and mugs.
- Firing and glazing. Firing is then done to your finished molded clay so it will set to desired shape. It’s like baking to cook the clay and harden it using a kiln to remove the remaining moisture inside the clay. High temperatures are applied when firing the clay to achieve desired colors. Sometimes low temperatures are used if dull color is your type. Once dried up you can proceed to glazing your molded clay either using purchased glaze or home prepared. Use the brush in glazing or sometimes whole piece is dipped by preference. Glazing protects the whole pot from scratching and adds strength to it. It also serves as coating, giving it a shiny look and preserves its rich color.
- Drying and finishing. After glazing, carefully wipe off excess glaze so that it won’t stick the pottery in the kiln when it dries. Glaze firing is done to let set the glaze you used to coat the pot. After this, inspection is done for any faults or mistakes done. Sanding your finished product is the final step to ensure safe edges will not cause injury to the user.
Remember that pottery is an art. It is also a good way to be given as gifts for loved ones and relatives. So express yourself, experiment and have fun making masterpieces!