The Three Main Pieces of Equipment for Potters

close-up of clay and pottery tools for modeling
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There are several pieces of equipment that potters can use in their creative process. The three most often used are kilns, wheels, and some form of equipment used to bring dry clay to a usable form.

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    Female Potter are making a bowl in the studio
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    The firing process is the most essential part of pottery. It transforms clay into a ceramic material. Although very primitive firing can be done in a pit, most pottery is fired inside a kiln.

    A kiln is basically a container in which heat is built up to the temperatures required to fire ceramics. The heat can be created by running electricity through heating elements or by burning fuels. For more information, read:


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    Potter's Wheels

    The potter's wheel is probably the piece of equipment most associated with the creation of pottery. Various styles of wheels have been used in different cultures through the ages.

    Human-powered wheels use a heavy flywheel attached to a wheelhead. The flywheel is rotated around its axis using hand or leg power, which then powers the wheelhead as the potter centers or throws the clay.

    Electric wheels are extensively used today. Electricity, controlled by a foot pedal, powers, and controls the rotation of the wheelhead. Learn more about them at:

    Thinking of purchasing a potter's wheel? Check out:

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    Clay Processors

    These pieces of equipment prepare clay for use. Generally speaking, only potters who are doing a large volume of work will need to own their own. Commercially available clays have already been mixed and pugged.

    The three main pieces of clay processing equipment are clay mixers, pugmills, and pugger-mixers. Clay mixers only mix clay body ingredients and are also used to recycle clay scraps. Pug mills homogenizes clay that has already been mixed. Pugger-mixers can do both.