Like any hobby or line of career, pottery means having to start from the ground up and learn some valuable lessons along the way. There are very few people that are able to simply dive right in without making any errors, and it can take years of practice and experimentation before creating products that are ready to be sold to others.
Most people that get into the world of pottery will undoubtedly make a few mistakes along the way, but it’s still worth being aware of the more common ones so that they can be easily avoided wherever possible.
Firing At The Wrong Temperature
The firing process is vital to creating a piece that’s durable and can hold its form for the rest of its life. It’s one thing to be using the right clay and have the positioning just right, but a potter might find that they are battling to produce a final product due to not firing at the correct temperature, which is something that needs to be carefully controlled within the kiln. Here, it’s important to learn the right temperature that a specific kind of clay needs in order to solidify correctly, which might take some experimentation. If a piece is wet when it’s going in, it can help to up the temperature to compensate, allowing it to dry out properly during the process.
Using Harder Clays
Clay comes in many different forms, and beginners might be tempted to use a harder one because it’s seemingly easier to work with, but this can ultimately lead to a product that doesn’t fire properly or doesn’t correctly hold its shape. It’s a much better idea to instead focus on only using softer clays that are much more pliable and that can better retain their shape once they have been fired.
Opening The Clay Too Quickly
One of the most common mistakes that most potters make is opening the clay too quickly and not giving it enough time to breathe. Patience is absolutely key when it comes to successful pottery, so jumping in too quickly can lead to the clay not being properly shaped and leaving long dents and holes in the body that can be difficult to work out. With a new set of clay, it’s best to open it slowly and allow it some time to come to room temperature, and to allow the rotations of the wheel to get the clay into the right pliability before diving in, and maybe even going off to enjoy and playing Roulette for real money for a few minutes instead.
The Wrong Wheel Speed
The speed of the rotation of the wheel will not always be the same, depending on what’s being made, and the type of clay being used. For this reason, it’s worth changing the speed as necessary to accommodate the product and the clay. Maintaining a single wheel speed for all products will simply not work for everything, especially for those that feel that going at a high speed straight off the bat, where it’s often better to instead start slowly and build the speed up.