Pottery-making even today is a fascinating skill and there are thousands of people who are simply overawed by it.
The sight of the pottery wheel moving at different speeds as the deft hands and fingers convert wet and soft clay into amazing pottery items is simply mind-boggling for many of us.
Today pottery making continues to be a huge business worldwide. It must be worth many billions of dollars.
Though technology has evolved quite a bit over the years, pottery making still continues to be skill based and the individual who is working on the pottery wheel could make or break the entire pottery making event.
Hence, it would be a good idea to learn more about these artisans.
Yes, it would be ideal to call them as artisans because it requires some intricate skill set, focus, concentration and passion without which it may not be possible to make much of a headway.
We will look at the fascinating world of these artisans and also try and answer the question as to how a person who makes pottery be called.
What Should These Professionals Pottery Makers Be Called?
If you look at history, artisans and specially-skilled people who make potteries are referred to as potters. However, many would like to call them ceramists.
This is because ceramic potteries are the most popular ones today and basically these professionals should know how to make the best use of ceramics as a raw material.
However, potter still continues to be the most commonly used term when referring to these professionals.
When we talk about a potter or a pottery maker, we are referring to a specially-trained, skilled and experienced artist.
This artist makes use of their experience, and artistic talents and creates fascinating dishes, pots, vases, mugs and other types of artwork.
Though technology and automation may have gone deep into other fields, when it comes to pottery-making, there is no doubt that the skill set and artistic talents of potters cannot be replaced by machines.
These professionals are capable of creating the best of functional pottery pieces that are required for daily use.
On the other hand, they are also experienced and have the wherewithal and skill set to create pieces that are known for the decorative attributes.
These are looked at purely from the art and craft perspective. We must bear in mind that the skill sets that are needed by potters to become accomplished professionals does not come in a day or two.
It requires years and perhaps decades for them to become true professionals.
It is one of the most fascinating forms of art and even many experienced potters believe that they are always in a continuous state of learning and knowledge enhancement.
A Brief Historical Overview of Pottery
Pottery making has a long and rich history and it is believed to be thousands of years old. The first potteries were perhaps made around 18000 B.C.
The first few potteries that were made in the prehistoric work probably were done with the idea of meeting the day-to-day requirements of the users.
They needed items and utensils to eat, drink, bath and for other such daily activities.
The reason for choosing pottery making was perhaps born out of the fact that the raw materials were easy to get and it was also abundantly available.
The main raw materials were water and clay and in spite of rapid urbanization and cutting down of forests, clay and water still continue to be available in generous quantities.
However, as civilization grew and graduated to various higher levels, the technologies also moved up the ladder.
Pottery making was no longer restricted to utility-based items but it also took into account the artistic needs and aspirations of both the potters and the customers.
Today, some of the best pottery makers are into making exquisite works of art and there are instances where even a single piece of such artworks could fetch thousands of dollars.
It would also be pertinent to mention here that there are many potters who are young men and women and they are passionate about building a career in this fascinating, interesting and promising industry.
How to Get Started As a Ceramist or Pottery Maker?
The above would have given our readers a reasonably good insight into the world of a potter. Hence, as a reader if you are interested to try out pottery as a hobby or even if you are serious about it, you should know where and how to get started.
There are many options to learn the art and skill of pottery making. If you do some research and look around, you will be able to come across dozens of schools, both land-based and online.
These schools will be able to offer you the best of teaching and education on the basic skills and lessons that are required to become a reasonably proficient pottery maker or potter as they are better known.
As a budding pottery maker, there are a few things that one must keep in mind. Pottery making is no childs play and it requires a lot of training, learning and the persons concerned should also be ready to spend quite a bit of time learning the basics.
It is skill based and therefore it is possible that some may be able to learn it immediately while it may take some time and effort for others.
It would be wrong to brush all the students of pottery-making with the same brush because the learning capabilities and speed of learning would vary from person to person.
Learning How to Use Clay For Beginners
This is perhaps the first lesson that you will be taught when you decide to become a potter.
You will be taught how to handle clay and also learn how to make it of the right consistency, thickness and other such attributes.
Throwing the clay lump into the churning potter wheel is a skill in itself and it could take a few days, weeks or even months for many.
Then you should learn how to deftly use your fingers and hands to create potteries of different shapes, sizes, designs, depth and so on. The dexterity of the finger and total concentration and focus are important things that you should learn as a budding and new potter.
It is clear that pottery makers are often referred to as potters and in some cases they are also referred to as ceramists.
The world of pottery making is huge, fascinating and for beginners the process of learning the basics could be tough.
However, if you are able to get into a good pottery making school and have the right teachers to help you out, it should not be much of a problem to learn the tricks of the trade.