Whether natural or artificial polymer, clay is one of the most accessible and most versatile mediums to work with. There is nothing more satisfying than using a handmade mug or arranging the spring flowers into a vase made by using your creativity. But why not broaden your creative horizons?
Clay is, by definition, a flexible material. This is why it is my strong belief that learning how to explore its versatility will help art enthusiasts create outstanding pottery pieces.
Therefore, today’s article stands as a collection of ceramic ideas and pottery pieces to inspire you. Whether you are a beginner in the world of ceramic-making or you want to explore and develop your skills, this collection of handmade pottery is a great starting point.
But before diving into the examples, let’s talk a bit about the beginnings of pottery, what they meant, as well as the main advantages of using clay as the primary material. Although many people can spot only the idea that pottery is a source of income, below, we will discuss the health benefits of making pottery.
Pottery – a Therapeutic Activity
Since the beginning of arts and crafts, pottery has always been a form of artistic expression and creative activity. Better than that, functional pottery combines utility with pleasure, and its primary purpose is practicality.
I can even go as far as say that pottery is a reason for joy through everyday use. After all, nobody can deny that drinking the regular coffee from a handmade mug or serving a nice salad in a ceramic bowl means so much more than the act of eating or drinking. From unique designed dishes to decorative wall pieces and tea vessels, you can make lots of different ceramic pieces to enhance the beauty of your daily routines.
While there are not many rules in the way people express their personality through pottery pieces, one thing is undeniable: pottery is therapy for the body and soul. And below, I gathered some of the benefits of working with ceramic and making pottery:
Pottery is Pure Therapy
We all have to face daily stress. Yet, if you allow yourself to sit down, relax and start working with clay, time stops, and you can only focus on the present.
Scientists have been studying the creative process of throwing at the wheel and discovered that this habit could lower the stress hormone (in scientific terms, it is about cortisol). Researchers also found that pottery reduces heart rate and blood pressure intensity and grows positive emotions. No wonder potters are always so optimistic and happy. The simple act of modeling, sculpting, shaping, hand-building, and throwing the wheel is pure therapy. So, suppose you are searching for a way to disconnect from the stress and relax. In that case, pottery is equally suitable for mental, emotional, and physical health.
Pottery Boosts Focus
Pottery is an excellent method to “unplug” yourself from daily routines, stress, worries, and life concerns and shift the attention towards what you are hand-making on the wheel. During this creative process, all the external stimuli are not affecting you anymore. Therefore, you will dedicate all your time and energy to your pottery work. Focusing only on one specific activity helps the brain relax and expand. As a result, your will train your mind to focus on other daily tasks as well.
Pottery Is Your Expression
Art is one of the oldest forms of expressing emotions, states of mind, and feelings. Pottery is no different. You can create unique items and progress to learn more techniques through the ceramic. Try to expand your creativity, never say “it’s too much,” but become more and more creative along with your work.
Many pottery objects are expressions of joy, anger, anxiety, grief, sadness, childhood, or love. It is up to anyone’s creativity to bring their work to another level. Whether you are happy, lost, sad, or just want to sit and relax, play with that hand of clay and give it life.
A piece of advice: Never be afraid to create something stunning and exceptional that can be valuable for you or your loved ones.
Easy, And Functional Pottery Designs To Try
Enough with the theory; let’s move the discussion to some examples and the main subject of this blog article. I will suppose you have been wondering about the creative pottery ideas you can try as a beginner or a simple art enthusiast. In that case, this is the place to be.
Do not wait any longer, and apply these simple projects that need little effort and skills but will be unique art pieces.
If you are pretty familiar with working with a small amount of clay on a wheel, then you can start to create larger pottery pieces, like flower vases. You can move further to more detailed outlines beginning with the most accessible vase design, which is an oversized cup.
From round to square, pot, urn, or bottle shapes, it is only up to you what design you will apply to your vase. Just be ready to give it a try.
However, controlling a heavier amount of clay can be challenging for beginners.
Tip: Make baby steps and add more clay when you feel ready to create particular shapes.
If you don’t have a professional wheel, don’t get discouraged. You can still do a lot of pottery projects only with your hands. One of the most effortless and most creative designs is cups with seashells.
Prepare the slab of clay you need, shape it as you wish, and add seashells as handles or simple decor elements.
Tip: Use any size of shells, and adapt them to the style of your pottery project.
At some point, every pottery enthusiast will learn how to maneuver the throwing plate on a wheel. These egg plates are cool and creative dishes that show how you can turn a boring item into something ingenious. Transform your daily breakfast vessels into something cute and fun.
Egg plates are also the best example that handmade works perfect together with wheel-making. For instance, create the body plate using the wheel and then the eggs’ sunny side by hand.
Personal opinion: Nobody has seen a perfect egg ever, so don’t be afraid of the possible clay flaws.
Creating personalized ceramic baskets is a relaxing and fun way to mix traditional weaving techniques with pottery. One of the most effortless ways to achieve these ceramic baskets is by using a basket or a bowl the size of the mold. Start preparing the strips of clay, then place them one by one in the mold.
More details to add? The basic weaving pattern, or the plain weave, can be an excellent technique to use.
Personal opinion: But if your clay has lots of strips and is thin enough, dare for extra and try to “knead” them, as you would do with pie dough.
Let me tell you a secret. Leaf plates are one of my favorite pottery projects, as they are fun and easy to make. If you don’t know where to start, I might suggest that you go out and find the prettiest falling leaves during the autumn season and use them as your central template. You can use them as your reference for future ceramic designs, but you will also get a unique print if you press them firmly on the clay. Even the leaf nerves will be visible.
Personal opinion: The final result of such a project is a beautiful plate to use as a holder for keys, jewelry, soaps, or paper needles.
Maybe tea light holders are not the first ones that come through your mind when thinking about pottery. However, these clay objects are a great exercise when working with ceramic. Candleholders are very popular during short workshops.
Create any shape you want: from a simple hollow form in the clay to taller designs.
Tip: If you choose to make the classic tea light holder, do not forget to leave the top or bottom open to insert the tea light inside the holder.
Animal Shaped Herb Planters
Are you a plant lover? Think about these creative, fun, and cute animal-shaped planters if you enjoy growing fresh herbs and use them in your cooking recipes. You don’t need special tools, simply start with a classic ceramic bowl, then add the round nose, four legs, maybe kitty whiskers, and you will be done.
Use your imagination and easily make different head shapes that represent cute animals.
Personal opinion: I am a fool for cute vessels for my aromatic herbs.
Hard to find a happy pot to grow your favorite plants in? Why not create one of your own? While they might look challenging at first, you cannot go wrong. They are standard pots, you can draw on, apply different colors or shapes, attach some cute glasses or a smile, and that’s it.
You can either sculpt the happy expression before firing on use some paint to apply it afterward.
Tip: Try designing a different facial expression if you plan to have some happy planter in a row.
Human Head Flower Pots
One of the most creative ways to design flower pots is by making them look like human faces. Although it might be more difficult for beginners to achieve realistic proportions, they can play and just have fun.
Start by making a regular vase, either by hand-building techniques or using the typical wheel. Then step by step, add extra clay for lips, nose, and two holes for the eyes. After finishing with the head part, you can either leave the vase-like or add a base. Another idea is a base looking like arms or hands.
Tip: If you plan to have more of these vase designs, try to make different facial expressions.
Spoons are the most colorful, joyful, and easy to make pottery. These ceramic designs are ideal for beginners. Swap the ordinary stainless steel spoons with some handmade ceramic ones.
Tip: Add different handle shapes more colors, and make some cool and practical spoons based on your creativity. All you need is access to a kiln to fire the ceramic spoons and make them last longer.
Pinch Pot Bowl
Pinch pots are also an effortless pottery project. If you are entirely new to working with ceramics, pinch pots are the best start, as they are simple to shape by hand, and you won’t need a potter’s wheel.
A clay mug is a fabulous pottery idea because it will sit on your coffee table daily and remind you about the effort of creating it.
Mugs do not need too much time or skills, only access to a potter’s wheel. If you want to set them well, it is essential to fire them in a kiln right after the molding process.
Personal opinion: If you benefit from all these tools, mugs can be the right project for a beginner.
I absolutely love the aspect of hand-coiled mugs. They look much more personal and are proof of creative handwork. Turn a piece of clay into a fabulous handmade mug.
Personal opinion: The best part is that this design does not need a potter’s wheel, so it is an excellent project if you don’t have all the tools available.
Play with shapes and colors until you get the dream result.
Ceramic teapots are a wonderful expression of creativity. These vessels are mostly done using a pottery wheel and require experience and skills. Start with the mugs, then continue to more complex projects.
Tip: Make a matching teapot and mug set and offer it to a very dear one.
Want to welcome your guest more in a more festive manner? Why not personalize meal times by designing some thematic plates? With a bit of time and little effort, you can make your dinnerware.
Plates are another easy to personalize pottery item that you can do using a potter’s wheel. Making them truly special takes some time and practice, especially in shape.
Personal opinion: Flaws offer more personality and individuality, so imperfections might be a good part. I love ceramic plates with unique edges, like gold-painted sides.
Clay is a beautiful and versatile material for creating personalized pottery. These are some common ideas for pottery, but ceramic enthusiasts can play, mix, match patterns, textures, and colors to achieve a unique project.
Focus on designs and ideas that call to you, and transfer your vibe and emotions into your work. You will end up with unique and eclectic pottery projects.