If you are interested in learning how to make pottery, you are probably thinking about taking a pottery class.
Sure, you can learn how to make pottery from books and YouTube videos, but for some people, it’s a lot easier to learn with hands-on effort, and a live person helping.
You also might be wondering if a pottery class is really worth your time and money.
In this article, we’ll look at what you can expect from a pottery class, and what you will need for a pottery class.
And hopefully, we’ll provide you with the information you need, to decide if a pottery class is right for you.
What to Expect in Pottery Class
Let’s first look at what you can expect from a pottery class.
If you’ve never taken a pottery class before, you likely have some questions and want to be prepared before you walk through the door.
Most people take pottery classes at either a local pottery studio or at a recreation center.
However, you can take pottery classes from a local community college as well.
Depending on where you take your class, there may be some slight differences in the approach to teaching.
Keep in mind that college classes will be more structured than classes at the rec center or local studio.
Signing Up for Class
When you register for your pottery class, you will likely get a list of things that you will need to have before the first class.
You will also have to pay a fee to take the class. Your fee will cover the cost of community equipment as well as the salary for the instructor.
You may also have to pay a small fee to rent equipment or purchase a basic kit of tools. Your fee likely will also cover the cost of your clay, up to a certain amount or type of clay.
Make sure that you write down the time and day of your first class, so you can ensure that you are on time and that you have any necessary supplies, pulled together beforehand.
Basic Class Structure
Many pottery classes, especially if you are taking your class at a community college will have both lecture time and then some hands-on time.
Your first class will likely cover some basic information about the tools you will be using, the structure of the class, and where you can find the things you need to work your clay.
Your instructor may also provide some demonstrations on techniques that you will be working on, or that are essential to creating a successful piece of pottery.
These may include clay wedging, centering clay on your wheel, pulling a cylinder, scoring joints, and basic hand-building techniques.
Once you’ve had these demonstrations, you will be ready to work on your own.
Types of Projects
It’s likely that in a beginner pottery class, you will have a few different projects that you’ll work on through the session.
Many beginning classes will cover a few different construction styles so that students have a good understanding of all of the ways that clay can be worked.
You will likely be asked to create a hand-built piece using slabs or coils. Then you may create a sculpted piece using skills such as carving and hand sculpting.
Finally, you will work on the wheel, learning the skills necessary to create containers such as cups, bowls, and vases.
Many people find this variety of techniques helpful. Not everyone is great at throwing pottery on a wheel, but find that hand-building techniques are easy and enjoyable.
While others find that sculpting or wheel-throwing is more their thing.
During your pottery classes, you will also learn how your clay is fired in the kiln, and how different types of clay act differently when exposed to the high heat of the kiln.
You will also learn how to glaze your pieces and the basics of how to make the glaze and how it changes in the heat of the kiln.
Length of Classes
You can expect your classes to run over a six to eight week time period, in general. You may go to class one or two times per week, depending on where you are taking your class.
Most classes will run for two to three hours, giving ample time to have both lecture time and work time, when necessary.
When your Class is Over
When you are done with your class, you can expect to bring home a variety of different pieces of pottery that you have created with your own hands.
You will also have the opportunity to sign up for another class or continue on with your skills at home.
What to Wear for a Pottery Class
Demi Moore made pottery a very fashionable hobby in the 1990s.
However, if you are looking for a hobby that is truly “high fashion”, pottery is not a hobby for you.
Let’s face it, if you are interested in taking on pottery as a hobby, you hopefully realize that you’re going to get messy.
So, there is no point in showing up at your local pottery class, dressed to the nines. You’ll look out of place, and you won’t really enjoy the fun of making pottery if you’re overdressed.
Our suggestion, for dressing for a pottery class, is to keep it simple and don’t be afraid to get dirty.
Most people that you’ll meet in your pottery class will be there wearing jeans and a comfortable shirt.
If the studio is small, you might see classmates wearing shorts, so they stay cool and comfortable.
You are likely going to get clay slip on your clothes, so don’t wear your best jeans or favorite tee-shirt. They won’t come home the same.
If you do need to wear nicer clothes for some reason, perhaps your class is right after work, invest in a good apron or smock, to cover your clothes.
We can’t promise that this is a foolproof way to protect your nicer clothes, but it will help.
As far as footwear goes, we would recommend a good pair of tennis shoes or at least a pair of shoes that will cover your toes.
You will be working around sharp and heavy things in a pottery studio, so protect your feet with a covered shoe, just in case.
How Much are Pottery Classes?
The cost of your pottery class really depends on where you are taking your class, how long your class will last, and how much clay and supplies you get for your class fee.
Recreation center classes will usually cost you around $100. For this cost, you will get your class time, extra studio time, and a set amount of basic clay.
Generally, rec center classes will meet one time per week, and for two to three hours.
Pottery classes at rec centers are likely to be the most affordable option, for beginners. Keep in mind that they may ask you to pay extra for a kit of basic tools.
Private studio classes will likely cost you more. But are still a reasonable option for the beginning potter. Look to spend around $250 to $300 for a pottery class at a private studio.
Community college classes, are going to cost you the most, even if you aren’t looking to gain credit.
However, you do get what you pay for with a college-level class. Expect to get more lecture time and more days in the studio.
College-level classes may cost you in excess of $1,000. Pottery is a great hobby for people of all ages.
For many of us, the best way to get started with this new hobby is to take a class and learn the skills of an expert.
Are pottery classes worth your time? If you are ready to be successful and have a great time learning, then yes, it’s time to take a pottery class!