Is becoming a potter right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do potters do?
Career Satisfaction
Are potters happy with their careers?
What are potters like?

Still unsure if becoming a potter is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a potter or another similar career!

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How to become a Potter

To become a potter, it is recommended to follow a process that includes education, training, practice, and building a professional network within the pottery community.

  • Start by completing high school, focusing on art-related courses such as ceramics, sculpture, and art history. These classes will provide a solid foundation in art and help develop your creative skills.
  • Consider pursuing a degree or diploma in fine arts, ceramics, or a related field. Look for reputable colleges or art schools that offer comprehensive programs in pottery and ceramics. These programs will provide you with technical training, exposure to various techniques, and a deeper understanding of the art form.
  • Attend pottery workshops and classes to enhance your skills and learn from experienced potters. Many community centers, art organizations, and pottery studios offer short-term classes or workshops where you can gain hands-on experience and learn specific techniques.
  • Set up a dedicated space for pottery making, equipped with a pottery wheel, kiln, tools, and materials. Having a designated studio allows you to practice regularly and experiment with different techniques.
  • Dedicate time to practice your pottery skills consistently. This includes throwing on the wheel, hand-building, experimenting with glazes, and exploring different forms and designs.
  • Embrace experimentation and continuous learning. Try new techniques, explore different clay bodies and glazes, and study pottery history and contemporary trends. Attend pottery conferences, exhibitions, and lectures to broaden your knowledge and gather inspiration.
  • Create a portfolio showcasing your best pottery pieces. Include a range of work that demonstrates your skills, creativity, and unique style. High-quality photographs or physical samples of your work are essential for showcasing your talent.
  • Participate in pottery events such as craft fairs, art markets, and gallery exhibitions. These events provide opportunities to showcase and sell your pottery, network with other artists, and connect with potential customers and collectors.
  • Join local and national pottery organizations to connect with fellow potters, access resources, and stay updated on workshops, exhibitions, and industry news. These organizations often offer networking opportunities, grants, and scholarships.
  • Create a website or utilize social media platforms to showcase your work and reach a wider audience. Share your process, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and completed pottery pieces to engage with potential customers and the pottery community.
  • Establish basic business operations, including record-keeping, inventory management, and customer communications. Determine fair pricing for your pottery based on factors such as material costs, time invested, and your level of expertise.
  • Engage in effective marketing strategies to promote your pottery. Use social media, attend local events, collaborate with other artists, and build relationships with potential customers. Consider creating a mailing list to keep interested individuals updated on your latest creations and upcoming events.

Helpful Resources
There are numerous helpful resources available to support potters and enhance their skills. Here are some valuable resources for potters:

  • Ceramic Arts Network: This online platform provides a wealth of information, including articles, videos, and forums, covering various aspects of ceramics and pottery. It offers insights into techniques, glaze recipes, studio setup, and industry trends.
  • National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA): NCECA is an organization dedicated to advancing ceramic arts education and promoting ceramic artists. They offer resources, publications, exhibitions, conferences, and grants for artists at different stages of their careers.
  • Local Pottery Organizations and Guilds: Joining local pottery organizations or guilds can provide opportunities for networking, workshops, exhibitions, and access to a supportive community of potters. These organizations often organize events and provide resources specific to your region.
  • Pottery Magazines and Publications: Subscribe to pottery magazines like Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated, and Studio Potter. These publications feature articles, interviews, and tutorials by renowned potters, showcasing new techniques, trends, and inspiring work.
  • Workshops and Classes: Many pottery studios, art centers, and universities offer workshops and classes conducted by experienced potters. These learning opportunities allow you to gain hands-on experience, learn new techniques, and expand your artistic horizons.
  • Clay Suppliers and Equipment Manufacturers: Build relationships with reputable clay suppliers and equipment manufacturers. They can provide guidance on selecting the right materials, tools, and equipment for your pottery practice. Some popular suppliers include Laguna Clay Company, Standard Ceramic Supply, and Axner Pottery Supply.
  • Online Pottery Communities and Forums: Engage with the pottery community through online forums and social media groups. Websites like Ceramic Arts Daily and forums such as Ceramic Arts Community provide platforms for potters to connect, seek advice, and share their work.
  • Pottery Conferences and Exhibitions: Attend pottery conferences and exhibitions such as the annual NCECA conference, American Pottery Festival, or regional pottery shows. These events offer opportunities to learn from experts, attend demonstrations, explore new techniques, and connect with fellow potters.
  • Artist Residencies and Grants: Explore artist residency programs that offer dedicated time and space for creative exploration. Organizations like the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts and the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts provide residencies and fellowships to support potters.
  • Local Ceramic Supply Stores and Studios: Visit your local ceramic supply stores and pottery studios. They often provide valuable resources, recommendations, and workshops tailored to the local pottery community. Establishing connections with fellow potters in your area can lead to collaborations and learning opportunities.