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"For an artistically talented person, ceramics is a wonderful way of doing art and making things that people cannot only enjoy for their beauty, but use," says Lee Brozgold. He is a ceramic artist.

If you've got a flair for art and an eye for beauty, then ceramics may be for you. When you know how to do ceramics, you can create all kinds of wonderful things -- anything from animal figurines to dishware to garden ornaments and pottery. Maybe the best part of all is that ceramics can potentially last forever!

Ceramics are made using clay and glazes. The art involves the use of special ovens known as kilns.

Typically, people who are just getting started in ceramics begin with a small operation at home, usually in a room where they can work undisturbed. After that, the sky is the limit! Those who get hooked on ceramics and turn their art into careers usually work in specially designed studios.

It's hard to tell just how many people are actively involved in ceramics, since nobody keeps records. But it's safe to say that it's a very popular hobby. It's also growing.

Trudy Bond owns and operates a ceramics business. "My customer list is about 1,800 and I am one of the smaller supply houses," she says.

The one very clear trend in ceramics is that more and more people are getting involved in it, either as a hobby or as a business. Of course, there are also new developments in the equipment needed to make ceramics.

Nancy Soehnle is the owner and operator of Nancy's Creations. That's a ceramics business that specializes in quality hand-painted ceramics. "Trends in ceramics are usually determined by the mold companies," she says.

"They do extensive research to produce new molds. Most mold companies offer new molds each month. There is still a great demand, however, for older molds that have been discontinued.

"Most companies that deal with ceramic art try to improve their tools and find more efficient ways to help the ceramist. Color companies, for example, are now offering non-toxic glazes that are much easier to use than leaded glazes that are toxic to pieces that come in contact with food."

As with many hobbies, there are costs to consider with ceramics. How much you spend depends on how small or big you want your hobby to be. The specialized equipment used in making ceramics is what will cost the most.

Brozgold's operation cost him more than just a few bucks. "For me, it was expensive because I wanted to be able to fire large pieces," he says.

"That meant I had to not only buy a kiln, but have rewiring done to support the additional load the electric kiln would take. The kiln was about $800; the electric work, about $600. Clay is not expensive, but glazes can be quite costly. Another big expense is a potter's wheel. I bought one used for $250. New, its equivalent would have cost in the neighborhood of $600."

Ceramics can be enjoyed by young and old. You don't need any special skills to do it, just a creative and artistic mind. The more imagination you put into your work, the better. And if you're going to work with large pieces, you better have a strong back.

Basically, anyone who can hold a paintbrush can do it. Ceramics often involves working with a potter's wheel, which can be very difficult, if not impossible, for someone in a wheelchair. However, people in wheelchairs can focus on sculpting objects with their hands.

Ceramics can either be a part-time hobby or a career. It's up to you.

Many people who take it further than a hobby end up opening shops to sell their artwork. Some people get into the business by opening up ceramic supply shops. Some get into teaching the art. Selling ceramics over the Internet is also gaining in popularity.

Getting Started

First of all, this isn't something where you go out and buy some equipment and suddenly you're a ceramic artist. Your first move should be to find someone who can teach you the ropes. Good places to look for classes are community colleges, adult educational centers, craft schools and art schools. Often, local community centers offer classes in ceramics.

Once you've got yourself involved in a class, you can decide whether or not ceramics is for you. If it is, your teacher can be of great help in getting you set up. "Ceramics is one of the more communal art forms," says Brozgold.

"There are lots of ceramics classes at local community centers. I have studied with a teacher who has become a dear friend. Two summers ago, I attended a crafts school and had a wonderful time working and getting to know other craftspeople."


American Ceramic Society
P.O Box 6136
Westerville , OH   43086-6136


Minnesota Clay
This site has links to tutorials, resources and newsletters

This is a huge ceramics database from San Diego State University

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