Carpenter, surgeon, chef or potter, the tools you use can make the difference between just getting by and being a master in your field. Imagine if the carpenter tried using a rock in place of a good solid hammer. What if the surgeon had noting but a butter knife in place of a precision scalpel? How would a top chef produce gourmet food in a tin can over a candle flame? And can the pottery artist get the results they desire with no wheel? These are the essential tools of these crafts; the basics necessary to do the job well. To stand out from the crowd of potters however, there are many more tools available that can both make your job easier and make the end results superior. To prevent you form going hog-wild and buying every gadget under the sun we take a look at some of the most useful ones on the market today.
If you are a serious potter, either as a professional or as a hobbyist, then you know the role potter's wheels play in producing your art. Whether electric or foot powered the wheel allows you to form and mold your clay with ease. If you have never used a wheel before it will take some practice before you are completely comfortable working your clay. But that is the beauty of clay; it can be formed and reformed again and again until you are satisfied with the end result. Find a wheel that works well for your pottery style and you will have an invaluable tool in your studio.
Similar to using a rock in place of a hammer, there are many objects that will do a comparable job as the texturing tools designed specifically for potters. But when you want clean, professional results, nothing beats a good set of tools. Whether you choose plastic or metal tools or even want a combination of professional tools and a few found objects, get yourself a collection of texturing tools. You will create a style of pottery that is unique and representative of you.
This last tool of the trade may seem a bit extravagant. But if you have established yourself as a professional potter or are very serious about your hobby an electric clay extruder can be a time and money saver. Moist clay can be mixed and blended quickly and thoroughly for throwing and sculpturing. You can also use it to reclaim hardened clay by missing it with water before passing it through the extruder. You will wonder why you wasted so much time in the past hand mixing clay and why you just threw out clay that had dried up.
These are just some of the tools of the trade that can distinguish you as a serious pottery artist. They are all designed to enhance your potting experience and make your art a notch above the rest. Take some time to explore what is available to you and what will work best for your needs. A good place to start is http://www.amaco.com - the website of the American Art Clay Company. Start with potter's wheels as a good basic piece of equipment to expand your studio. Then check out a few of the texturing tools available and finally maybe indulge a bit and consider an electric clay extruder.