Saturday, December 5, 2009

I think you should try it sometime...

Painting Pottery is so relaxing. Really, you should try it sometime. If you don't know what I'm talking about, there are these places where you can go and pick out a plain piece of unglazed pottery, paint it to your fancy and they will glaze it and fire it for you. It comes out looking like a normal ceramic plate or dish or mug or whatever you chose to paint. Usually it costs $5-$8 just for the paint, studio time and glazing and firing, but the cost of the pottery varies.

My first attempt was with some college friends one weekend and I had no idea what I was doing. It turned out just a little bit better than my worst kindergarten project. It was a tall mug with green and brown polka dots. Next try: a sugar and creamer set to match said kindergarten project. The results were somewhat worse than the mug. I tried to give them away to goodwill a month ago and my mom caught me in the act, saying she would take them home with her because she liked them. Ha. Now they really feel like kindergarten artwork.

Things changed for me when we painted at a studio in Lebanon, TN. Someone had created a polka dot design using small dots of paint that was cute, and not anything like a kindergarten art project. There was no worrying about staying in the lines, coating the paint evenly or even choosing colors that would layer correctly. So I tried it, and it turned out so well!
Here's a picture of what it looked like before it was glazed and fired:
And here is a picture of what it looked like after glazing and firing.

Since then I've branched out some, and I'm learning there are even more tricks to this trade.
1. You have to expect brushstrokes to show through if you do less than 2 1/2 coats of paint
2. Never plan on the colors you choose turning out as planned, pottery painting studios have rogue paint
3. Be creative with how you apply the paint. My personal favorite: dipping the end of the paintbrush into the paint and making small dots
4. Don't trust yourself to paint in strait lines, round circles or within a certain area- those tiny mistakes will show up in flashing neon lights once the piece is fired
5. The solution to this? pick a design that is forgiving: no need for strait lines, allow imperfect circles and blend the colors a little bit. It's more artsy that way... right? :)
6. If in doubt, go for a simple design. You won't regret it later. Leave the pottery blank except for a swirling design, choose a monochromatic color scheme, or even paint one color inside the piece and one color on the outside of the piece


  1. Wow that's beautiful! I used to create and paint's definitely a stress reliever. Now that I'm in the middle of final exams, it wouldn't be a bad idea to exercise my creative side too! Love your blog!

  2. Very good advice! We had this place on campus called All Fired Up...and I had to make every one of these mistakes before I learned better :)


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