The Pottery Hobby
Pottery is a hobby that should come with a warning: if you dislike mess, don't try it. If, however, on the road to making a thing of beauty, mess is not only ok, but also rather fun, then you're going to love it. For you will create objects to be proud of, as well as some barely recognisable pieces. It's all part of the process of exploring the wonderful art of pottery making.
Pottery is a ceramic material containing clay, and a pottery, of whatever dimensions, is the place, containing a kiln, where it is made. To begin learning pottery, it's best to study under a teacher. There are pottery classes widely available from beginners? Levels to more specialised needs. Ask at your local council offices or library, or online. Or see if there is a pottery in your area where you can see potters at work, many of these offer classes for beginners too. It is so much easier to learn in an environment already set up, and the nature of clay demands space and freedom to work without fear of mess! The necessity of a kiln to fire the pottery is another important factor. The kiln needs to reach far higher temperatures than your kitchen oven!
Some of us will have done some simple pottery at school, usually by forming slabs or coils of clay and pinching them into shape. This is a good way to begin, but the real art of pottery comes with the throwing, meaning using a potter's wheel to form the circular shapes fundamental to pottery. This can seem very tricky at first and it is usually at this stage that things can go flying off the wheel or end up off-centred lumps. But persist, and one day you will see that perfect pot rise up from your hands, and you will be under the spell.
Once you have created a pot you want to keep, it will need firing then glazing. The glaze adds colour and texture and is as much a part of the learning process as the throwing. I have seen some pretty interesting glazes which were a surprise to everyone! The glazed item then gets fired again at a higher temperature. This wonderful throwing/ glazing/ firing process can be done over a period of time, so by the time you get to see your finished work of art, it's very exciting!
Pottery is a great hobby to have as you have not only the pleasure of creating, but the finished product to enjoy. In these days of mass production, a hand made piece of pottery stands out. It makes for uniquely useful present-giving. Over time you can experiment with different styles and techniques. It is great to have fun with someone else and a lump of clay (movie-goers, think Ghost). If you really love pottery making you will probably want to set up your own kiln somewhere so you can work how and when you want. It's a bit of an investment, but it's worth it.
There is no doubt about it, pottery is one of those really satisfying hobbies. Especially if you like getting your hands dirty??