Ceramic pottery maker
Craft & Food Trades

Ceramic pottery makers create pottery, tiles and kitchen, table, home and garden ware. Items may be handmade and sold in a studio where artists may be self-employed or work in small teams or be employed by larger companies to mass produce product ranges. Some may be employed in teaching or pottery cafes where they deliver classes to adults, young people and children.

Work Activities

Ceramic pottery makers use their creative skills to turn drawings and computer aided designs into products, working with clay based materials, which may be 'thrown' on a pottery wheel to create items such as bowls, vases and pots by hand and finished using hand tools or moulded (cast) using moulds to create multiple products on a large scale, which may be carried out in a factory.

Ceramic products may then have slips and glazes applied, to add colour and matt or glossy finishing touches, before being fired in a kiln. Keeping the work environment safe and tidy is essential.

Duties may include:

  • interpreting new designs and drawings
  • working with customers to discuss their requirements
  • throwing and moulding clay
  • preparing and applying slips and glazes
  • packing and unpacking the kiln safely
  • reclaiming (recycle) clay
  • provide demonstrations/ classes to customers or visitor groups
  • selling products (particularly in smaller studios)

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills required

  • creative, with ability to interpret ideas
  • excellent knowledge of ceramics, slips and glazes
  • ability to use ceramic hand tools safely
  • strong design skills and attention to detail
  • excellent IT skills, including Adobe Photoshop
  • customer focused
  • good team player
  • ability to communicate confidently and effectively

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers

  • design studios and galleries
  • pottery manufacturers (Stoke-on-Trent is the centre of UK pottery manufacture)
  • independent and large retailers
  • colleges and universities
  • art projects and pottery cafes

Qualifications

Qualifications and training provided

Creative skills are essential. Apprenticeships may be offered by studios and manufacturers.

Level 2 or 3 courses and/ or foundation/ degree/ masters in art and ceramics based subjects may be required for some job roles. Strong design software skills, especially in Adobe Photoshop are sometimes required.

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