Pottery tools can be broadly categorized into four main groups:
- shaping tools
- cutting tools
- smoothing tools
- measuring tools.
Shaping tools are used to form, shape, and manipulate the clay, cutting tools are used to cut and trim the clay, smoothing tools are used to smooth and finish the clay, and measuring tools are used to measure and gauge the clay.
The potter’s hands are the hands of a sculptor, shaping the clay into a vessel that will hold water and nourish the human spirit.
Here are some examples of pottery tools in each category:
A pottery wheel is a tool that allows you to create symmetrical and evenly-shaped pottery by spinning the clay on a rotating axis.
Paddles and ribs
Paddles and ribs are curved metal or wooden tools that are used to shape, smooth, and compress the clay.
A rolling pin is a cylindrical tool that is used to roll out and flatten the clay.
Coils and slabs
Coils and slabs are long and flat pieces of clay that are used to build and shape the pottery.
Knives and scissors
Knives and scissors are sharp tools that are used to cut and trim the clay.
Wire cutters are tools that are used to cut and remove excess clay from the pottery.
Drills and jigsaws
Drills and jigsaws are tools that are used to cut and shape holes, channels, and openings in the clay.
Sponges and chamois
Sponges and chamois are soft and absorbent tools that are used to smooth and moisten the clay.
Burnishers and smoothers
Burnishers and smoothers are polished tools that are used to shine and polish the clay.
Brushes and scrapers
Brushes and scrapers are tools that are used for applying glazes and finishes to the clay, as well as for smoothing and shaping the clay during the forming process. Brushes can be used to apply glazes evenly and smoothly, while scrapers can be used to remove excess glaze or to smooth and shape the clay. These tools are essential for giving pottery its final appearance and texture, and they can be used to create a wide range of effects and designs on the clay.
Rulers and calipers
Rulers and calipers are measuring tools that are used to measure and gauge the dimensions and shapes of the clay.
Templates and stencils
Templates and stencils are pre-made shapes and patterns that are used as guides for shaping the clay.
Compasses and dividers: Compasses and dividers are tools that are used to mark and divide the clay into equal sections.
In addition to these tools, there are also a variety of other specialized tools that are used in pottery, such as molds and casts for creating symmetrical shapes, needles and pins for adding details and textures, and kilns and ovens for firing and glazing the pottery. Each of these tools plays an important role in the pottery-making process, allowing artists to create a wide range of unique and beautiful pottery pieces.