Creating Art at Home

Ceramic Basics

Ceramics have been used for millennia for both utilitarian purposes and as a mean of artistic expression.  Learn what the creation of a ceramic piece entails, and how you can learn to create your own, with the information on this page.


Local Pottery Studios and Kilns

If you would like to fire your pottery in a kiln without investing in a home kiln, consider renting a kiln at a local pottery studio.  Here are some that can be found in Orange County.

What You'll Need

Ceramics, at their most basic, are formed out of clay and fired at high temperatures to harden.  As long as you have access to these two things, you can get started.  However, certain types of ceramics may require more specialized tools:

  • Clay.  There are hundreds of clay types that can be used in the making of ceramics.  All clays have their own special properties and limitations.  Important things to consider when choosing a clay are the temperature you intend to fire it at, and if the finished piece is going to be decorative or functional.  For information on choosing the right clay for your project check out this article from the Pottery Crafters website.
  • Kiln or Oven.  Ceramics are created by firing clay at a high temperature.  In most cases this requires the use of a kiln, however some clays can be fired in a home oven.  If you choose to purchase a home kiln, there are a number of factors to consider first such as cost, heat sources, power use, and possible home regulations.  This article from The Spruce Crafts breaks down some of these important considerations.
  • Water.  Water is needed to maintain the moisture of the clay as well as for cleaning up messes.
  • Shaping Tools (Optional). Although you can shape clay using only your hands, shaping tools can expand the range of designs you can make.
  • Potter's Wheel (Optional). The potter's wheel is used to evenly shape clay.  Pottery wheels can be an investment so check out some important things to keep in mind with this article from The Ceramic School.
  • Glazes (Optional).  Glazes add color and seal ceramics so that they are waterproof and food safe (note: not all glazes are food safe).
  • Safety Equipment and Procedures. Working with ceramics can involve dust, potentially poisonous glazes, hot kilns, and machinery.  It is important that you have the necessary equipment and procedures in place to keep you and your home safe BEFORE you begin creating. This article can help you determine what you need to keep your art space safe.

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