Make almost anything out of clay with this tutorial from Sculpd’s resident potter

Written by Alice Porter

Looking for a new hobby? Pottery is a fun, creative skill you can learn at home. Sculpd’s resident potter explains how to make a simple clay pinch pot, plus how to expand your skills to make almost anything out of clay.

No longer just a hobby for those lucky enough to have access to a kiln, a pottery wheel and a studio, pottery and making DIY creations out of clay is something you can do from the comfort of your own home.  

A new wave of independent ceramists crafting sculptural vases and brightly patterned plates have made pottery one of the hottest crafts out there. And it’s easier than you might think to start getting stuck in yourself. 

Air-dry clay means you no longer require a kiln and other fancy equipment to get started and brands like Sculpd, offer at-home pottery kits to make it as easy as possible to start crafting professional-looking creations. 

You can use clay to make almost anything, from trinket dishes to vases to lamps. You can also do it from anywhere. “[Making pottery] at home gives you the freedom to do it how you want; by yourself, with friends, with family, in the garden, in the park,” says Sculpd’s resident potter Ellie Rhodes. 

Traditional pottery requires a spinning pottery wheel –a technique called throwing –but you can still create intricate designs using hand-building techniques. 

Here, Rhodes shares her expert insights to help you get started with making pottery at home, Learn to craft a pinch pot, which can be used to store trinkets or as decoration, with her step-by-step instructions and then use the techniques to take your skills even further. 

What you’ll need to make a clay pinch pot:

  • 1kg air dry clay
  • A board to rest your clay in, such as a chopping board
  • Water
  • A knife or scalpel
  • A sponge

Optional extras (for added details and decorations):

  • Wooden knife
  • Wooden modelling tool
  • Glossy varnish/sealant
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes

How to make a pinch pot:

Pottery tutorial: how to make a clay pinch pot by hand, Pottery tutorial: how to make a clay pinch pot by hand, Pottery tutorial: how to make a clay pinch pot by hand, Pottery tutorial: how to make a clay pinch pot by hand
  1. Form a small amount of clay into a smooth ball that fits nicely in the palm of your hand. Try to make it as smooth and round as possible.
  2. Now press your thumb into the centre of the clay until it’s just over halfway through.Don’t push your thumb all the way through!
  3. Use your fingers and bend your thumb to pinch out the shape of the bottom of your pot. Turn the clay as you pinch in a smooth rotating motion.Each pinch should slowly increase the size of the hole your thumb made and widen the pot.
  4. Change the position of your hands so that your fingers are inside and your thumb is outside. Pinch the sides upward and outward.
  5. When you’re happy with the shape of your pinch pot, start working on thinning out and shaping the rim with your finger and thumb, making sure the walls of your pot are even thickness.
  6. Make sure the base of your pot is flat and the pot stands straight.You can use a carving tool to remove any material from the base.
  7. Almost done. Leave it as is, or use the tools and any extra clay to add your own creative flair and the sponge with some water to smooth any imperfections in the clay.
  8. Let your pot dry for at least 24 hours before painting your masterpiece.
  9. You can add a coat of varnish to seal the paint once it dries and to provide protection from water. This varnish will give it a glossier finish.

Top tips for making professional pottery at home

Start simple

Something like a pinch pot is a great place to start with at-home pottery because it’s a great tactile hands-on piece to get started with and it can help you get to grips with working with clay. The reason it’s called a pinch pot is that you pinch it with your index finger and thumb to create the shape.

“Creating a pinch pot allows you to move onto slightly more advanced pieces like a vase,” Rhodes explains.

Get creative

“We love our customers’ creativity with some using things like flowers to imprint patterns on the surface of their clay pieces,” Rhodes says. The beauty of at-home pottery is that you can add a personal touch to the pieces you create, so definitely take advantage of that.

Look for inspiration

You’d be surprised by the kinds of items you can create doing pottery at home, even as a beginner and Rhodes advises you to do some research by looking at pottery Instagram accounts like theirs to see what other people have been able to make at home.

Rhodes also suggests that you have a picture or drawing of what you’d like to make in front of you to help your creative process.

Don’t overthink it

“Don’t think too much about it at first,” Rhodes advises. “Get your hands into the clay and start moulding it in your hands.” They explain that you only need to set aside an hour or two to get into pottery at home but it’s best not to take it too seriously. Instead, put some music on and enjoy the process.

Remember that mistakes can be easily fixed

“If you feel like it’s not going to plan, you can just squash your piece into a ball and start again,” Rhodes says. This is the beauty of at-home pottery – there really is no pressure to get it right first time. “Don’t’ worry about imperfections as you go because these can be easily smoothed over later.”

Images: Sculpd

Source: Read Full Article