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Functional Pottery

If you are a functional potter, you've come to the right place. Here, you'll find loads of articles on making functional pottery. Whether you enjoy coil building, slab work or throwing on the potter's wheel, you'll find a wealth of information on pottery techniques; from forming to finishing. And, if you haven't already, be sure to click on over to the Free Gifts section of the site to download your free copy of Contemporary Functional Pottery: A Discussion of Handmade Pottery by 11 Working Potters. It is a great learning tool for those interested in functional pottery. The projects are presented in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step format. The photos pretty much duplicate what you'd expect to see at a pottery workshop or a demonstration -- all the key steps are included. And if you're serious about functional pottery, don't miss Robin Hopper's seminal book Functional Pottery.


Print bowls, 4½ in. (11 cm) in width, thrown porcelain with stamped decoration, darted, raw glazed, fired to cone 10 in a soda kiln

Pots That Function in Use—and in Storage

Posted On June 4, 2014 8 Comments

In today’s post, an excerpt from our brand-new free download Contemporary Pottery: Functional and Conceptual Considerations for Handmade Pottery, Gay Smith explains how to think about pottery design from the perspective of the end users and how they see handmade pottery fitting into their lives —- and their cupboards.

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Jennifer Allen Shares her Insights on Making a Living as A Potter

Posted On September 9, 2013 11 Comments

As part of our Working Potter series, successful potter Jennifer Allen shares her approach to the handmade pottery business.

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More is More: The Elegant Yet Convivial Pottery of Lorna Meaden

Posted On July 4, 2012 6 Comments

A couple of months ago, potter Lorna Meaden came to to town to film a DVD. Post production is in full swing on that DVD now, and it’s looking like it will make its debut towards the end of July. To help whet your appetite, I thought I would share this article from Ceramics Monthly a couple years back. Lorna’s pots have a lovely combination of elegant ornamentation with more jovial elements such as the harlequin-esque decoration or her chop mark – a casual “Lorn.” Read one to learn more about Lorna’s motivations and influences! 

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Cooking with Clay for Slow Food and a Healthy World

Posted On June 27, 2012 13 Comments

A potter establishes a line of ware to reflect her social values regarding how food is produced and consumed.

The line of jars stretched down the road to the pottery, and each customer was allowed in, one at a time, to select the jar they wanted

One Hundred Jars: A Potter Fulfills a Personal Challenge and has a Hugely Successful Sale to Boot

Posted On February 20, 2012 0 Comments

A while back some beautiful large jars by North Carolina potter Daniel Johnston graced the cover of Ceramics Monthly (see cover here). At the time, Daniel was in the midst of a personal challenge to make 100 large jars in his wood-burning kiln. The challenge resulted in some remarkable pots and a wildly successful sale. I realized that I had never shared the story of this interesting project in the CAD blog, so I thought I would today, along with a video from the sale.  Plus, you can check out Daniel’s methods for constructing and glazing these monster pots right here.

Photo of Victoria Christen hard at work in her pottery studio.

Working Potter Victoria Christen Discusses her Road to Success

Posted On December 28, 2011 0 Comments
I always find it fascinating to talk to other potters about how successful bodies of work came about. Victoria Christen started out as a sculptor, but after taking a break from sculpture and making some small pots, she came to realize that she really enjoyed the pace of making pots. She found it freeing to… Read More »
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The Pots Behind the Mask: Using Vinyl Masking and Sandblasting to Create Textured and Patterned Wood-Fired Pottery

Posted On November 14, 2011 24 Comments

David Bolton uses vinyl sign masking that he cuts with a (surprisingly affordable) sign cutter (a device that hooks up to a computer just like a printer – instead of printing it cuts the image). To ad some depth and texture, David applies the masking, sandblasts the surface, and then applies the underglaze. And he finishes it all off with the unpredictable surface that only an atmospheric firing can create.

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Ryan Fletcher’s Tapas Micros Project

Posted On August 12, 2011 1 Comment

Kansas City artist Ryan Fletcher collaborates with chefs and caterers to explore the use of ceramics in supporting the visual and functional aspects of serving food.

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Pottery Video of the Week: Tony Clennell Demonstrates How to Pull Great Looking Handles for Pottery

Posted On July 15, 2011 19 Comments

In an excerpt from his DVD Get a Handle on It, potter Tony Clennell shares his expert advice on handle pulling. Tony shows us that, with a little practice and patience, great-looking pulled handles are within any potter’s grasp. Watch the video!

Paul Donnelly’s cup, showing an elegant and well-balanced handle.

Tips from the Pros: How to Get a Handle on Handles

Posted On January 26, 2011 28 Comments

In today’s post, Paul Donnelly takes us through

his handle-making process. It’s a great alternative to pulled handles

because it cuts down on the mess and the drying time, and still makes

lovely, elegant handles. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.