This is a list of a few things that I
use in my work. Most I have found around the house and made. Keep in
mind that you can recycle things into pottery tools. In other words use
what you already have and only buy what you can’t possibly find. I will
walk you through making a lot of these and let you know what I find
best to work with. This is by no means a complete list of tools, this
is enough to get you started comfortably and be able to get pieces
made. Remember that the only three tools you really need are :
and your imagination.
- WORK SURFACE - used to do all clay work on. Any surface will do
to start. Clay is messy and wet so it is a good idea to make a cover.
To protect form the moisture use something plastic like a garbage bag.
Then spread a heavy cloth on top. An old sheet, towel, a piece of
canvas works well (the cloth stops the wet clay sticking to the work
surface). I use a board that is plywood. I got it cut to fit snugly
inside an old pillowcase. First I put the board in a heavy duty plastic
bag first (taping the bag tightly getting out all the wrinkles on one
side) to keep the moisture from warping the board. Then, I slid the
plastic covered board into the pillowcase (kind of hard but work it
slowly and it will go in.) Most home supply stores will cut your board
for you, just take your pillowcase in with you so you will get a snug
fit. I use a board so I can sit it on my knees and work in my favorite
chair. It also makes your work area mobile.
- BOX - to keep your pottery
tools all together. I use a divided plastic box with a handle for ease
(and old household cleaning caddie). You can use any box
that you have available.
- BOWL - to hold water. An old
margarine tub or peanut butter jar works and they have lids so you can
close it up and stop water spilling. Also the lid is a good holder for
a wet sponge and all kinds of other things. I also use another one to
keep scrap clay in so I can reuse it.
- SPONGE - used to add moisture, to shape, to texture and
clean up clay. I use a natural sea sponge and an old piece of kitchen
sponge. The natural sea sponge I use just because I like it and it is
smooth. All you really need is about a 3inch square or circle cut from
an old kitchen sponge.
- PIN TOOL - used for a lot of
things. Poking holes, cutting, scoring, decorating, cleaning piece up,
etc. I use one that is a heavy needle stuck about 1/3 way into a dowel
and glued for extra strength. A piece of coat hanger straitened and
tied securely to a pencil works great.
- WIRE - to cut clay. There are 2 kinds of wire. One to cut
clay from the big chunk that comes from the store. I use fishing line
with a big bead tied to each end. The ones that come from the pottery
supply store are like a picture wire with a small dowel tied to each
end. You need a strong line or wire and 2 handles for the ends. The
second one is again a line or wire tied on to an old bucket handle and
is used for cutting slabs.
- ROLLER - used to roll out flat pieces of clay. I use the
end of a carpet roll about 4 inch in diameter. I have also used a
rolling pin, a piece of plastic pipe, a glass jar, a potato chip tube,
and many other items and the carpet roll is just what I am using at the
moment. IMPORTANT The roller should be covered so the clay dose not
stick to it. The best thing I have found is an old pantyhose leg. Cut
the leg off ( preferably no runs in section to use, but if you don’t
have the run doesn’t really matter) tie a knot above the toe seam, turn
it so the knot is in the inside, put tube it the pantyhose and push it
down so it is tight then tie a knot in the top. Make sure that you trim
off any excess. Save the extra so you can do this again, one leg of
pantyhose will make about 2 roller covers.
- KNIFE - used to cut and shape clay. An old kitchen knife,
a plastic knife, a piece of wood with and edge sanded on it, look and
see what you can find.
- RULER - used for measuring and a straight edge.
- BRUSH - used for smoothing, shaping, brushing crumbs and
painting. I use a cheep old ½ inch paint brush.
- RIB - used for smoothing and molding. This is a kidney
shaped tool. The first ones I used were cut form a plastic milk jug
about 3 inches by 2 inches or what ever is comfortable for you. The
only thing is the edges need to be smooth, so cut out bigger than you
need and then trim. There are rubber, wood, and metal ones available
but start with the plastic one and see if you really need one.
- CLOTH - used to cover piece while drying, to cover molds
so clay won’t stick, used to wipe your hands when the phone rings.