Anybody Can Be A Ceramic Artist-1

how to produce ceramics from day 1

Background

During the eighties I worked for the Canadian Training Awards Project (CTAP) as a ceramic consultant; traveling around the Eastern Caribbean researching clay deposits, sourcing ceramic supplies and training students in ceramic production.
The training was designed to start earning from day one; most of the students were women of all ages and from different backgrounds; but I always insisted on including a selection of school children in the classes.

The first stage of training on the wheel was designed towards earning also; but in this post I will use the Slab Roller only.

 

Commercial Production

SPACE-a small workshop; 150 to 300 square feet is adequate or a small basement.

Equipment

1 Slab roller; my preference is a Brent, the size depends on how much production you are contemplating.

1 Small Test Kiln-Electric for easy management, or natural gas if it is available; allows more creative and exciting finished pieces; but requires more ceramic knowledge and experience.

1 production Kiln; start with a 2 to 4 cubic feet.

Make sure your kiln comes with a set of kiln furniture

Orton Cones

Earthenware– cones 04 and 05 cones,

Stone ware -04 for bisque firing and cones 5 or 6 depending on your clay supply.

Clay- My preference for beginners is white cone 04; especially if you live in a third world country where the cost of electricity is high.

Kilns & Firing temperatures.

Electric-If you live in an area where the cost of electricity is not so high, and you wish to offer finished pieces at stoneware temperature; you can find low stoneware Clay at cone 5 or 6; but you will need 04 also for bisque firings.

Gas-If you have access to natural gas and is prepared to learn as much as possible about using a gas kiln before commencing production.

Local clay supply-If you can dig your own clay, that is fine, but learn how to eliminate the impurities; frankly unless it is a great source and fairly clean, and is willing to spend the time in preparation; it might be more convenient to purchase a commercial supply.

GLAZES

Start with a small collection of glazes and stains.

Stains-black, brown, green, blue and yellow-06 to 04

Glazes-05 Ready mixed -transparent; opaque white, blue, leaf green, mid brown, turquoise and yellow.

1 Set of brushes and small plastic bottles for pouring from your ceramic supplier.

2 to 4 small sponges

I plastic bin for scrap clay

This training is geared towards creating a brand of commercial production that can be marketed from day one if you follow instructions carefully.

BOOKS AND EQUIPMENT

There are several ceramic suppliers in Europe, Canada and the USA; of course England is known for its ceramics; in the early seventies I bought all my supplies from England, but over the years it became more cost effective to purchase from Canada or the USA.

Suppliers I was happy with are Tuckers Pottery Supplies out of Canada, and Amaco or Brent out of the USA.

You can Google Ceramic suppliers and see who are your nearest and most affordable suppliers.

There are several books on hand building and ceramics for beginners.

You should purchase at least one of each. If you are going the route of a gas kiln, look up how to fire a gas kiln and acquire a publication.

Remember also everything is on the Internet these days, just Google your question and search for appropriate answers.

In my next post I will be offering instructions for your first commercial production.

If you would like to start production and create a hobby and earn some extra cash, start sourcing your supplies, anyone can be a ceramic artist. I have never met anyone I couldn’t train.

6 Comments


  1. Wow! Great information! I went to school for art from the 5th grade going forth and I was able to spend time doing ceramic art. In school, we learned processes, but I can’t remember the exact machines and tools for the life of me. Your background is amazing. Very interesting. Can you provide the links to the items you mentioned? If you hyperlink them inside of your post, I (and your other readers) can click them, and you can earn a commission if you’re an affiliate of the product distributor. You should get the commission because you referred the products to me and your readers.

    Reply

    1. Thanks for your comments, are you engaging in any form of art at this time? I did not place any links because it is always better to find the closest supplier to avoid high shipping costs. It is easy, just Google any of the names I mentioned and you can see their products on line, or just Google ceramic supplies; If you have any questions feel free to contact me, I will be posting the first production lesson soon,

      Bookmark the website and keep an eye out. Best wishes.

      Reply

  2. Hey, great job! I love ceramics and I even had a kiln at one point so I can appreciate your enthusiasm.

    Your landing page is jam packed with information about your training and expertise, but has little that I could see why someone would want to pursue a more further exploration. It is not clear what you are selling or why someone would want to buy whatever you are selling. Do you intend to eventually monetize your site?

    Reply

    1. I am sorry but if you search the website you would see my sculptures and fine craft including my wifes jewelry, you only read the blogs-search again-devonishart.com and send me some feedback,Ihope you see something you like

      Reply

  3. Very informative indeed.I have always been a good adorer for art pieces and all to do with it.Now with details on the way to go about ceramic art,with all its tools needed,I believe am good for the start.
    Just one question though,whats the sole purpose for Orton Cones? As you have not described its purpose under equipment.

    Reply

    1. Thank you for your comments, If you decide to start ceramics I promise I will guide you through the classes to get you started. You are jumping the gun a little; I was coming to the cones, they come after producing the green ware; they are ceramic cones that controls the automatic controls on the kiln or tells you when the kiln has reached the required firing temperature. Where are you located, are you in a tourist destination or large community? Get Started and I will be there to guide you. Good luck.

      Reply

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