Ceramics: Tips for Beginners

Cerâmica: Dicas para iniciantes

What is pottery?

Ceramics, one of the oldest production techniques, is made by mixing products such as clay. With the use of clay, the possibilities for creation are endless, from plates, mugs, bowls, bowls to vases. For centuries these objects have been created by artisans specialized in the field. Currently, there are more and more people interested in the technique of ceramics and intend to learn how to make objects, whether for decoration or for use. To help you get started in the world of ceramics, P55 has put together a list of tips for making your own pieces at home.


Ceramics | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

Ceramics: First Steps

Before starting to work with the clay, it is necessary to understand which materials will be used. Firstly, you have to understand the methodology you intend to work with, as this determines the entire process. Typically used:

  • Polymeric, oven or air-drying clay. Since it dries in air, a conventional oven is not necessary.
  • Conventional clay. It requires the use of an oven, however the possibilities are endless in hand ceramics.
  • Clay with lathe. Requires using an oven and learning to use the lathe.

After choosing the production method, the clay is turned. Mostly an oven is needed, but as mentioned earlier, there are now air-drying clays. Don't forget that wet clay and dry clay don't work well together, it's important to confirm that all material has the same consistency. To start with, you just need clay and water. Professional tools can be easily replaced with objects you have at home. The dental floss or clothes thread are used to cut clay, the spoon to smooth and the kitchen sponge to clean and give texture to the pieces. It is essential to always have a bowl of water nearby as it serves to soften the piece. The lathe technique facilitates production, however, in addition to requiring a lot of concentration and dedication, there are other techniques. Thus, the lathe is not essential, especially for beginners due to the investment.

If you want to invest, there are kits with the materials, which usually include:

  • Ceramic paste, for example: earthenware, terracotta or red clay;
  • Handleless wooden roller for stretching the folder;
  • Garrote to section the folder;
  • Teks of different formats to model the folder;
  • 5mm wooden rulers to thicken the ballast;
  • Wooden toothpick for holes and small cuts;
  • Wooden base for support;
  • Fabric canvas.

Ceramics | P55 Magazine | P55.ART

In the end, after having the ideal shape, a layer of enamel is created to protect the piece with a shiny surface from wear and tear and water. For those who will start this adventure at home, we recommend using this material with a brush and disposable gloves . When buying the nail polish, analyze which one will be suitable to be applied with a brush. Before applying, sand the surface to remove imperfections or bumps on the object with sandpaper 100 until you obtain a smooth surface. Afterwards, rub with a damp sponge to remove the dust created by sanding the piece. The clay and varnish/enamel must be at the same cooking temperature, otherwise they may end up melting in the oven.

Do not forget!

  • The clay has to be completely dry before it is kilned, otherwise it can break or explode.
  • To work with a piece for several days, just leave it covered in a plastic bag and avoid drying. To get back to work, add some water.
  • When drawing patterns in clay, wait until it hardens.
  • A simple way to make shapes is to create smaller spheres and work from them.
  • Clay is very flexible, however adding too much water can make the activity difficult.
  • With ceramic classes or even just video, you'll be able to learn new techniques.

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