Working with clay brings so much joy and creativity but it also comes with risks.
Good news? You can avoid the risks if you put in a little bit of elbow grease!
Most people don't know that a clean pottery studio isn't just for looks. We keep the studio clean because clay dust contains silica which can be really bad for your health.
It's why we always ask students to clean up after themselves and it's why KCP studios invests heavily in regularly paid cleaners. Everyone's health matters.
Wherever you decide to take pottery lessons be sure to ask about the cleaning schedule and absolutely expect to have rules around cleaning up after yourself. If there aren't any then proceed with caution.
As a general rule, you want to be working in a studio that actively works to reduce the amount of clay dust in the air.
Best Practice for Cleaning a Pottery Studio:
Use A Damp Cloth or Sponge: Wiping and cleaning surfaces, tools, and equipment with a wet sponge means that any dust sticks to the sponge and doesn't fly into the air around you. It also makes clean up really quick and easy.
Wash Your Sponges: When you're finished cleaning remember to wash your sponge. Otherwise the wet clay will dry up and
Allocate Time To Cleaning: When you’re throwing, remember to allocate enough time to clean the bats after use.
If you're working with clay then you can't avoid clay dust. It's just the way it is. And that's ok! But we minimize the amount we're exposed to because it's good practice and a way of respecting those around us as well as ourselves.
Let me know if you have any questions!
We've all had that thought that a basic pottery kit is a ball of clay, a wheel, a hard surface, and maybe a vessel for water. You learn pretty quickly that pottery is a hobby or career path that requires ALL the things.
If you've been practicing this art for longer than 2 weeks you'll have discovered that your tool options are endless! There's so much choice, and so many price points.
It might be tempting to run out there (or onto the internet) and grab the first beginners pottery toolkit that you come across. I want you to resist that urge.
Because not all pottery tools are made equally. And not all beginners pottery tools really cut it in the long term. While some of the beginners sets have good price points you'll actually do much better if you buy sturdy tools, you know, the ones that will last! It'll teach you better technique and save you money in the long run.
I've written this for my students who are want to start practicing at home or students attending pottery schools that don't provide the tools you need.
I've put together a list of my favourite must have pottery tools here. I'm not paid to share these with you, they're honestly my favourite ones out there:
1. KSP1 Special Ribbon Tool by Kemper ($9 CAD)
Designed for medium duty pottery and sculpture work, this tool has sharpened stainless steel bevelled ribbon ends attached to a hardwood handle. Approximately 7" long. Through Amaranth Stoneware.
2. Polymer Rib - Shape 1 by Mudtools ($10.95 CAD)
My favourite is the blue one (it's firm), but if they're out of stock the red one will serve you just as well (medium firmness). They're an extension of your hand.
Amaranth Stoneware describes them best: "These traditional kidney-shaped ribs are the most universally recognized pottery tool. They fit well in the hand and are useful for sculpting, hand building and throwing clay. The Shape 1 Polymer Ribs are our best seller. You need one in your toolbox. Really, you do...Because it acts as an extension of the potter’s own hand, we believe it should function well and be a joy to use."
3. PRO Pin Tool By Kemper ($6.00 CAD)
There are so many options for tools like this. I'm going to warn you right now - stick with a metal handle. It's going to last longer! Again, this is from Amaranth Stoneware (my go to place for tools). It's best used for cutting thick clay (precisely), making holes, and working your intricate designs. You can get it here.
4.S4 Flexible Metal Scraper by Kemper ($4 CAD)
A stiff course brush designed for use on hard greenware. You can get it here.
5. 8" Wood Modelling Tool WT6 by Kemper ($9 CAD)
The site explains it best: "Used for cutting, slicing, smoothing, contouring, and pattern decorating in soft clay. This tool is excellent for modeling and sculpting forms in soft clay. Great to undercut pots on a wheel."
6. Blue Bat 12" by Speedball ($12.95 CAD).
Plastic bats will be your friend on the wheel. They're easy to clean, less likely to warp and the blue makes them easy to see and remember. Remember, if you're marking this one with your name you'll want to be double checking it often to make sure there is no erasure (or peeling if you use tape). You can read more about bats here. As a student, you should aim to have 2 blue bats and 4 green square bats (these can also be found at Amaranth Stoneware).
I also think that having these Shimpo Bat Pins will help you greatly when it comes to setting up shop or starting at a new studio.
If you're practicing in a shared studio make sure you put your name on them with a really sticky tape and/or permanent marker. Things can go walking or be misplaced. You're making an investment and you definitely want your tools to come back to you.
A QUICK NOTE: If you take a class with Krista Cameron Pottery, you don't have to bring your own tools because we provide them for you. And we provide a lot of them! For the full 8 week classes, you only pay extra for clay. The beginners classes have everything included!
Want to see the quick list?
What's on your beginners pottery list?
Thanks to Robin for bringing in this delight!
It was extremely yummy and I feel like I won't need any other dip now this is in my life.
Here's what you'll need to recreate it:
1 package of cream cheese
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup skor bits
Combine first 3 ingredients
Mix in 1/2 cup of skor bits
Use the remain 1/2 cup of skor bits as topping
You can serve this with apple pieces, bread or whatever you like to pop sweet sauce on.
If you're using apples, try soaking them in pineapple juice (to stop them from turning brown).
You're set for the holidays with this one. You're welcome!
Offering pottery classes to adults and kids in Athens, Brockville, and Kingston, ON.