In Summary - Potter / Ceramicist
Potter / Ceramicists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
Ray Power, Potter
Ray Power works as a potter and manager for Castle Arch Pottery in Kilkenny. After his Leaving Cert, he went on to complete a degree in Ceramic Design at Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork. He later moved to Kilkenny and on completing a business course run by the Crafts Council, he set up his own workshop.
Videos on the Web
- Potter / Ceramicist- from: Youtube Search
- Ceramic Artist - from: icould [UK] Video
- Potter - from: icould [UK] Video
- Potter - from: Craft in Ireland [You Tube Video]
- Ceramics Designer-Maker - from: N.C.S. [UK]
The Work - Potter / Ceramicist
Potters use a combination of traditional craft skills and mechanised processes to make pottery products. Traditional hand tools are still used in many instances, as this remains the most effective method of manufacture, but automatic tools are often used as they speed up the process. Some of the methods employed by Potters are set out below.
The most common traditional manufacturing process is 'throwing' a pot. A pottery maker throws a lump of clay onto a wheel. This is shaped by hand and by the speed of the wheel, which is controlled by a foot pedal.
'Jiggering' is a mechanised process used to make flatware, such as saucers. The clay is flattened by a thin metal spreader to form a 'batt' of the required thickness. The batt is then removed and thrown onto a rotating plaster mould. This is then either sprayed or wetted by hand, and a metal profile tool is pulled down to shape the ware.
'Jolleying' is a mechanised process used to make hollowware, such as soup bowls. The clay is thrown onto a rotating mould, which is then eased up at the sides by hand. A profile tool is brought down to shape the ware. The mould is then placed into a drying cupboard.
'Turning' is a finishing process where the turner operates a rotating machine called a lathe, on which the work has been placed. The ware is shaped using hand or automatic tools.
'Casting' is a process where liquid clay or 'slip' is poured into moulds. The excess moisture is absorbed leaving a coating of clay within. Items may be cast in sections, which the caster will assemble, using slip as the bonding agent. This process is known as 'sticking up'.
A ceramicist can be employed by a major ceramics company as a ceramic designer, or may set up their own studio and work as a potter or ceramic artist. They often work on commissions, exhibit in galleries, or are employed as educators and lecturers.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Press thumbs into centers of revolving clay to form hollows, and press on the inside and outside of emerging clay cylinders with hands and fingers, gradually raising and shaping clay to desired forms and sizes.
- Adjust wheel speeds according to the feel of the clay as pieces enlarge and walls become thinner.
- Mix and apply glazes, and load glazed pieces into kilns for firing.
- Position balls of clay in centers of potters' wheels, and start motors or pump treadles with feet to revolve wheels.
- Raise and shape clay into wares such as vases and pitchers, on revolving wheels, using hands, fingers, and thumbs.
- Prepare work for sale or exhibition, and maintain relationships with retail, pottery, art, and resource networks that can facilitate sale or exhibition of work.
- Smooth surfaces of finished pieces, using rubber scrapers and wet sponges.
- Design clay forms and molds, and decorations for forms.
- Move pieces from wheels so that they can dry.
- Pull wires through bases of articles and wheels in order to separate finished pieces.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interests - Potter / Ceramicist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
As a potter you will need to have creativity and artistic skills as well as an appreciation of colour, shape and form. An individual approach to solving design problems is also necessary. You must have the ability and the imagination to create attractive, saleable pieces of work and the practical skills needed to use the appropriate tools and equipment.
Entry Requirements - Potter / Ceramicist
Pay & Salary - Potter / Ceramicist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 21k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.