Tools of the trade

by Abigail Percy on May 25, 2006

in Ceramics+Wood+Glass


Wire loop tools, cutting/scraping tool, wooden sculpture tool, cutting wire.

Handtools that potters and ceramicists use are real simple and can often be made by hand. I also have a whole batch of old plastic cards that gets a second life in the workshop. But what I most often use are buckets of all sizes and colours.


Bamboo knife, wooden paddle, callipers, dipping tool.

I did my ceramic training at Central St Martin’s in London and although I’d had ceramics as my main hobby for a long time there were many tools that I’d never heard of, let alone knew what they were for. I was all exhilirated at all the possibilities they held in store for me.

Next year, it’ll be 10 years since that first exitement and the tools feels more like extensions of me… Sometimes it strikes me how beautiful they are and how many I still have the opportunity of getting to know.


Metal and wooden ribs, natural sponge, sponge on a stick, metal carving tool, wooden sculpture tool.

I received two potter’s fair tips’ from Canada (thank’s Mary!):

The Potter’s Market – this weekend!

1001 Pots, July 14th – August 13th.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tisra May 25, 2006 at 2:37 am

I had to comment on the Potters’ Fairs. My mom was a hobby potter for my whole life. She was always enrolled in the community college’s pottery classes so that she could use the kiln and the glazes etc. Every year, the community college held a fair for the art department students. They sold their work, many of them just to cover the expensive supply fees. Often, she would take home pieces that the artists were going to throw away because it wasn’t what they’d envisioned (the glaze didn’t turn out the color they had wanted, or it warped a bit…). “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. You might check to see if any local colleges have similar things in your area.

2 Jess May 25, 2006 at 8:10 am

My aunt is a serious potter, and I was a hobby potter in high school, I found that old dentist’s tools worked really well for both handbuilt and thrown pottery – get in good with your dentist and you’ll have all the tools you could ever want.

3 laffers May 25, 2006 at 10:20 pm

when i started taking pottery i was so struck by how simple the tools are. i loved that idea, because even though they are so simple, and really you need so few of them, they can help create such beautiful and diverse things.

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