7 Ways to Make Beautiful Pottery

Need more colour in your clay? Never fear, inspiration is here

Creativity 5 min read Jan 30, 2020

There’s more to pottery than making regular pots and vases. It’s both a craft and an art, and it gives the potter unlimited choices for adding their personal touch to turn a lump of clay into a beautiful masterpiece.

Get $20 Off Complete Pottery Basics by SaJo Ceramics! Code: EARLYBIRD (valid until 1 Feb 2020)

Here are just seven things you can try to make even the most mundane pot come to life.

#1 Painting

Perhaps the most obvious technique in decorating pottery, painting with a brush involves the process of using slip – a liquid mixture of clay and water – to paint images and form patterns on the pot’s surface before it is glazed. This slip can use a mixture of pigments such as the rust-red of iron oxide to apply colour to your patterns, which contrast with the raw clay or glaze of a pot.

#2 Combing

By using a “comb” or similar tool such as a fork, a straw brush, or traditionally a bird’s feathers, the artist is able to produce majestic lines on a piece. Combing sideways, upwards and downwards or in patterns will allow for more creative designs and create textures that enhance your pottery’s aesthetic.

#3 Finger-Stroking

Use your fingers and run them through the pot’s wet slip, exposing the bare surface, to create beautiful swipe marks on the surface of a pot. But be careful not to overdo it! Find your rhythm first and just keep going.

#4 Carving

Some artists use a knife to carve out strips from the pot’s exterior to create amazing shapes that also might provide an easier grip compared to more rounded shapes. Expert potters also like to use a bladed object such as a razor or a coiled wire to incise patterns on the pot’s surface for aesthetic effect, a technique known as Sgraffito.

#5 Hakeme (Light Brush Stroking)

An age-old technique popular among Japanese potters, Hakeme includes using a brush to apply slip gently on the interior surface of a bowl or teapot to create an artistic brush stroke effect. This works especially well when the strokes go in one direction along the object’s rounded surface, complimenting its shape.

#6 Stamping (or Impressing)

Stamping is the process of using a creative tool to push against the interior surface of a pot to stamp an interesting pattern design on its exterior, while the pot is still leather-hard. Adept potters like to mould or fire their own clay stamps for use, and others even like to create a miniature signature clay stamp to sign their work at the bottom.

#7 Applying Wax

Wax naturally repels water-based slips and glazes, and thus can be used to create gorgeous designs on the pot surface before the pot is submerged in slip or glaze. Potters use wax to paint an image on the pot surface, and after glazing, the glaze clings to and dries on the surfaces of the pot without wax, revealing decorative patterns from that could only come from the artist’s imagination.

This February, get started with decorating your own pottery with the Complete Pottery Basics class in Kilsyth.

Hosted by SaJo Ceramics, this 4-week course lets budding pottery enthusiasts with little to no experience to get behind the pottery wheel in a comfortable, relaxed environment. Learn everything from how to knead clay and put it on the wheel to how to decorate your pot and set it up for final waxing and glazing.

Book Complete Pottery Basics by SaJo Ceramics today! Use the code EARLYBIRD to save $20 (valid until 1 Feb 2020).

Sign up for this full-stack pottery class!
2019 03 07 07 63a6d990 22d9 0137 32cd 063bd7b5133d

Complete Pottery Basics

A 4 week program, designed to teach you the basics