Most people think of a pottery wheel, clay, and water when they hear the word pottery. Sounds like a recipe for a mess, doesn't it?
But all three of those things come together to make a compelling art form. Pottery can be a soul-fulfilling activity, helping you channel your inner sculptor.
While we can wax poetic about the wonders of pottery, you won't get an appreciation for the art until you get your hands dirty!
You can grab some clay, start molding it and make a mess in the process or you can find in a pottery course anywhere in America and learn it the professional way!
Here are some reasons why every amateur pottery enthusiasts in America should look for pottery classes:
Why Beginners Should Take Pottery Lessons
Since pottery is an activity that requires substantial training, hiring someone to guide you can be a great way to start!
They can help you with your hands' positioning and teach you to develop a feel for how clay can be sculpted using your tips, palm, and fingers.
You might think you can get there by watching online pottery lessons and tutorials, but you will need more than that if you're an amateur.
Having an instructor guide your movements can help you calm your nerves and diminish your initial anxiety about working with a pottery wheel.
Even if you were to get the hang of it, it would certainly take you longer to learn through videos than actual hands-on help.
To explain this better, we can liken the process to learning how to drive; it doesn't matter how many movies or videos you've seen; first-hand instruction is the only way to learn.
Working with a pottery wheel can be challenging, and it's easy to get caught up with the clay without realizing your foot is speeding up the wheel.
You don't want to end up like you've been through a mud-fight on the first day of pottery, do you? Hence, the help of an experienced instructor never hurts.
Furthermore, most pottery class beginners struggle with centering. Having an instructor to guide them on where they're going wrong and give them suggestions on how to improve their technique can help them master the initial strokes that are so important when working with clay.
Among other things, finding comprehensive pottery lessons in Los Angeles, New York, or elsewhere will provide students with guidance on:
- How much pressure to apply
- How fast they must keep the wheel spinning
- How fast or slow they must move their fingers
Remember that you can't go to a pottery class and expect not to get dirty. Pottery is meant to be messy, and you must be prepared for it.
Although most pottery classes offer aprons and towels for their students, it's still wise to wear clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
Developing A Feel For Clay
Most people only know how to distinguish clay by color, but when they take up pottery, they learn many different ways to differentiate between various samples.
One of the most important differentiating factors is knowing the clay cone size and the different firing temperatures for each type of clay. Putting a cone-five clay into a cone-ten clay shelf will result in it melting all over the kiln shelf.
Meanwhile, students also learn about the different clay bodies for wheel throwing. Pottery Instructors can help beginners select the right kind of wheel throwers and get them to try numerous clay bodies until they find the right one for themselves.
There are many things in pottery that you can't learn through tutorials and videos. When working with an instructor, you can learn to identify if your clay is too firm or too soft for the wheel, or whether your clay contains air bubbles, and how to eliminate them.
Get To Know Other Potters
A pottery studio is a great place to make friends and socialize with like-minded people who share your love for pottery.
Engaging with fellow students can help you exchange ideas, tips, and tricks to improve your technique while sharing your experiences and failures.
However, some people prefer to work alone, and that's perfectly fine too. They have the option of signing up for individual lessons. Although this method sounds boring, it yields fast results!
On the other hand, having like-minded peers with you while learning can make any craft more exciting, and that's undoubtedly true for pottery.
If you happen to share classes with seasoned potters, you can learn new techniques and grow your skills further. The thrill of competing with your peers to come up with the most eye-catching piece is certainly worth it!
If you don't plan to follow through with pottery, it can be quite a heavy investment. Renting is not an option, and the best bet for most pottery students is to join studio lessons where they can access a pottery wheel.
Learning The Techniques Of Pottery
Most American pottery classes, especially those in Chicago or New York, will focus on:
- Acquainting students with the wheel
- Getting students to develop a feel for the clay
Here are some other techniques that students usually find challenging to deal with:
Perfecting Clay Consistency
However, students usually struggle with achieving the right consistency with their clay piece, making it either too stiff to mold or too soft to hold its shape.
It's also essential to keep air bubbles out and prevent cracking. Alongside that, knowing when to bisque is also crucial and something a pottery instructor can assist you with.
As a beginner, it can be hard to detect when your piece is too dry, and having an instructor by your side to judge the quality of your work can be pretty helpful.
Several newcomers are particularly hesitant about glazing, but a qualified pottery instructor can provide valuable insight into glazing and how much to apply.
If you don't use enough glaze, it won't cover your piece adequately, while too much of it can melt and fuse with the kiln.
Using A Kiln
Keep in mind that a kiln can not be rented for use inside most homes. Even if you were to source a kiln somehow, you would fail to fire it up, as it requires unique outlets for the power they need.
A kiln is a significant investment. Even if renting one for homes was an affordable option, it's still necessary to know your way around it.
An experienced potter will know how different temperatures affect clay bodies. And if you have trouble with that, pottery classes can help familiarize you with a kiln before you decide to take the plunge and buy one.
Find Alternate Avenues To Learn
Learning pottery is a long process, and even longer so if you're teaching yourself. It can take more than a month to complete one piece of pottery for even professional potters.
Therefore, if you're a new learner, videos and books can be promising avenues to learn new techniques, but they're always a fallback option.
You can't effectively get to know your way around the wheel and know how much pressure to apply unless you roll up your sleeves and get dirty with the clay.
Pottery-making videos and books are excellent sources of knowledge. However, they can't show you how much pressure to apply or how the clay should feel at each stage of the process.
That's the job of an instructor! And if you reside in Houston, New York, or anywhere else across the states, it's pretty effortless to find one.
Some of the techniques intrinsic to pottery, such as wedging, centering, and pulling, can become much easier if you learn them alongside an instructor. Otherwise, you might struggle with them well into your pottery career.
Where Can You Find Pottery Classes?
Pottery makes your life so much easier. There's nothing like seeing someone use something you created and watching it serve a purpose.
If there's a family birthday coming up, you can always make a customized pottery gift! It will be unique, memorable, and will always hold sentimental value for the recipient!
And who can ignore the immense therapeutic and stress relieving effects of pottery? The constant whirring of the wheel and the change resulting from each hand gesture provides a gradual sense of achievement.
Therefore, if you're looking to learn pottery from an instructor, there are plenty of resources and avenues you can choose from.
A simple online search for pottery lessons near me or pottery classes near me can yield many results. However, if you're looking for a qualified tutor in Dallas, New York, or elsewhere in the States, join Superprof!
With a vast catalog of pottery tutors registered with Superprof, you can access the most qualified teachers and master all the techniques you need to work with clay impeccably.