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Making Clay Tools

Ceramic artists are some of the most creative people out there when it comes to their tools of the trade. Nothing is off limits as a potential clay tool and no clay tool has just one use. To prove it, we’ve gathered some of the most clever tips and techniques out there for making your own clay tools. And don't forget to download your free copy of the Clay Workshop Handbook: Knowledge and Techniques for the Pottery Studio. This handy studio reference includes valuable technical references and great clay tools to help you with forming, surface decoration and firing. Plus, it has a comprehensive directory of manufacturers and suppliers that provide ceramic equipment, raw materials, clay tools and ceramic supplies.

The Pounding Pad: An Energy-Saving Clay Tool

Posted On November 24, 2008 1 Comment

Because the process of working with clay is so enjoyable to us, it’s easy to forget that this material we love so much has some physical characteristics that, if not understood and respected, can do us harm. One of those characteristics is plasticity, which of course is a good thing—it’s what makes clay workable. Heck, if clay wasn’t plastic, it would just be dirt! At the same time, that quality that sticks all those clay particles together makes a large lump of it fairly resistant to the pressure of a human hand—or foot, or elbow or head… Over time, the stress and pressure of pushing clay around can do damage to our joints and tissue. But this is why we have clay tools. They make our studio lives easier, they make our work better (if we use them right) and they maximize the physical effort of our bodies. In today’s feature, Don Adamaitis demonstrates how to make a tool that can protect us from injury and make our working process more enjoyable. And it’s easy!

Pottery Trimming Video: The Superchuck

Posted On October 24, 2008 5 Comments

If you trim your pottery using a bisque-fired chuck—or even if you don’t—you’ll love the superchuck. Watch the video to check out what Tim See has come up with, and then make your own. We’ve included a materials list and instructions below; don’t worry, it’s short and the process is easy.—Sherman Hall, Ceramic Arts Daily

From the Laundry Room to the Clay Studio: Readers Share Clever Tips for Pottery Tools

Posted On August 13, 2008 0 Comments

Today we bring you a couple of great reader-submitted tips for ceramic tools. These tips involve items that you probably already own, but never thought to use for clay studio purposes. Following a laundry theme, ceramic artists Ken Magee of Talahassee, Florida, and Peggy Breidenbach of Indianapolis, Indiana, share ideas for repurposing tools usually used for drying clothes for use in the ceramics studio.

Plaster and Plastic Storage Bins: Essential Tools for the Clay Studio

Posted On July 16, 2008 0 Comments

Today we bring you a couple of tips from Ceramic Arts Daily readers about two essential items for any clay studio: plaster and plastic storage bins.

Gallery and Spout Sizing with Corks: A Great Tip for Getting the Right Fit

Posted On July 14, 2008 0 Comments
Today’s tip addresses a question sent in by a Ceramic Arts Daily reader. This reader wondered if we had any tips for judging the size of a hole on a piece of pottery that is designed to receive a cork, stopper or clock movement. Well, it just so happens that New York potter Lili Krakowski… Read More »

Readers Chime In: More Pottery Uses for Old Credit Cards and Other Quick Tips for the Clay Studio

Posted On June 25, 2008 1 Comment

Today, readers share more good ideas for using old credit cards in the ceramic studio, plus a host of other great ceramic tips!

With these simple tools, you can make your own custom extruder dies.

Custom Dies for the Clay Extruder: Another Pottery Use for Old Credit Cards

Posted On June 23, 2008 4 Comments

With these simple tools, Daryl Baird shows you how to make your own custom extruder dies.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling: Making Roulettes to Add Texture and Depth to Your Pottery

Posted On June 11, 2008 1 Comment

Ceramic artist Andi Fasimpaur explains her simple technique for making roulettes, or rolling stamps, for decorating pottery and ceramic sculpture.

A New Squeeze: Old Glue Bottles Make Great Clay Studio Tools

Posted On June 9, 2008 0 Comments

Paveen Chunhaswasdikul repurposed an empty glue bottle to come up with this all-in-one tool to use when adjoining two pieces of clay.

Low-Tech Silk Screens: An Easy Way to Repeat Images on Ceramic Art

Posted On May 21, 2008 2 Comments

Today’s feature comes to us from Ceramic Arts Daily subscriber C.A. Sanger of Waterville, Kansas. She was inspired to send this technique when she read Brad Menninga’s article “Making Custom Silk Screens for Ceramics,” which ran a couple of weeks ago. Sanger offers this tip as a way to make simple silk screens with inexpensive materials you might already have around the house or studio. Be sure to try combining this process with the technique explained in Susan Kotulak’s feature “From Flat to Round: Screen Printing Glaze Patterns onto Pottery.” I am sure it will open up new creative directions in your work!