Big Ceramic Store Blog
  • DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as a reference only. The hazards listed are only a small percentage of the hazards presented when working with clay, glazes, and chemicals. It is the responsibility of each/every person working with these materials to know the risks involved. Always refer to the MSDS,  accompanying reference materials, and/or OSHA, for any/all materials you will be handling.

    Working with clay and glazes in your pottery studio carries certain health risks due to hazardous materials in them. Knowing what you are working with, and how it can affect you, is an important component of being a potter.

    It doesn't matter if you are small hobbyists, or large production potter, the risks are the same... just in different doses.

    Today, we will touch on some of the most common hazards, however; you should always research each and every component of your working materials.

  • EMaybe you're just starting out, don't have room for a kiln, or just don't make enough pieces to warrant that large of a purchase, in any case... this article is for you.

    In today's post we're going to touch on a few ways to transport your greenware safely for firing at a "satellite" location. With a few tips from articles I've read over the years, as well as my own experiences, we're hoping to get those pieces from point A to point B in ONE PIECE!

    • Clay Blog Review: May 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: How To Safely Transport Greenware […]

  • I regularly attend an event that benefits kids from 1-100 with disabilities. They auction off a lot of cool stuff but one of my favorites is the paintings done by the horses and their dog named "Blue."

    As a matter of fact I have several hanging on my studio wall. They remind me, that all things great and small, add beauty to our world!

    Recently, on a social media site, I ran across paintings done by a dog... Ok, he had a little help from his humans, but it gave me an idea for our blog. Why not do it on clay with some underglaze???

    Grab your coffee, some play clothes, a fur baby, and follow me to the studio! Don't have your own fur baby? You may want to borrow one because this is really cool!

  • Giving mom a hand for Mother's Day has new meaning. This cute project is sure to brighten her day and last a lifetime. And if that's not reason enough, they can be made from self-hardening and air dry clay so anyone can make them!

    Another benefit to these little hands... you can impress or underglaze the child's fingerprint(s) into the clay for lasting identification, and when they are done they make a perfect jewelry dish!

    Ready to get started? Grab the kids and let's head to the studio!

    • Clay Blog Review: April 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: Kids Hand Project For Mother’s Day […]

  • You've just pulled a fresh batch of wares from the kiln and they are amazing, however; without the finishing touches on you pots, they may not live up to your expectations.

    A rough bottom, that scratches your customers table, is not only going to upset the customer and possibly cost you repairs, but it could ruin your reputation in a hurry!

    It only takes a few minutes with a piece of sandpaper, Grit Quick Cleaners, a Kemper SMS Tool, or a sanding disk, to make that pots bottom as soft as a baby's.

    Let me show you a few examples...

  • If you're in the market for a potter's wheels, whether you need a new one, or if you're just getting started, this is the post for you. We will discuss the different styles, manual vs. electric, and the benefits of each.

    Let's get started with the most popular wheel...

    Electric Wheel

    Electric wheels are by far the most popular for several reasons...

    1. Easy to use
    2. Versatile
    3. Forward/reverse functions
    4. Many styles to choose from
    5. Tabletop models available for portability

    So what makes electric wheels so easy to use? Well, you put your clay on the wheel head... turn it on... and press the pedal! It rotates at the same speed for as long as you want, or you can speed it up and slow it down when needed.

    If you're a beginner, the simplicity of this wheel's operation is exactly what you need! No need to worry about keeping your feet moving while you're concentrating on your hand movements.

    If you're working on a "masterpiece" and have to stand up or move around to see it from different angles, or in motion, this is the perfect type of wheel for you.

    There are a wide range of makes/models available on the market today. When you are deciding on a purchase, my suggestion is... "Don't go for the cheapest... go for the best... the one that best suits you!"

    Kick wheels

    Kick wheels are not as popular as electric wheels, however; many professionals prefer them over electric wheels for several reasons...

    1. The ability to rotate freely clockwise/counter-clockwise
    2. Without a motor, they are pretty much maintenance free
    3. They virtually last a lifetime
    4. They are perfect for trimming your pieces
    5. There is a unique feeling that goes with a kick wheel... often referred to as a "zen-like feeling"
    6. Some manufacturers offer kickwheels with motors. You simply engage the motor when you need a break, or for detailed work.

    Note: Kickwheels are very heavy making them difficult to move. They also require a lot of leg action, which could lead to knee problems in the future.

    That being said, if you want to be "one with nature," this type of wheel will help you get there!

    Specialty Wheels

    Portable Wheels are great for those that want to take them along on vacation, or if you live in different homes throughout the year. They also make a great wheel for teachers!

    Rehabilitation Wheels are phenomenal for those that cannot use a regular wheel. They are wheelchair accessible, larger than other wheels, have casters that make them easy to move into position, and lock down feet to keep them stationary for throwing.

    Whatever your wheel needs are, don't hesitate to email our Customer Support Team, or call us toll free at 888-513-5303,for additional information and answers to any questions you may have!

    • Clay Blog Review: April 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: The Potter’s Wheel – Which One Is Right For You […]

  • Do you like the look of a large "thrown"platter,  versus a slab platter, but don't quite have the skills to start with a ball of clay to make one? Well, there is an alternative method that might just be the ticket!

    We are going to make an 18" platter with a slab and large coil finished off on the potters wheel. Not only is it going to look great, it will give you a sense of accomplishment!

    Grab a cup of coffee and follow me to the studio!

    • LIZ | #


    • Joan Gibson |

      What did you do with the 16" one? The same thing but smaller?

  • A few weeks back we sent an email asking our readers what they'd like to see in our posts. One thing we were asked is how to judge the thickness on pots thrown on the potters wheel.

    Here are two simple tricks that I've used in my quest for "perfection!" Mind you... I'm still on that quest but at least I believe I've mastered the thickness issue.

    Grab your coffee and apron and follow me to the studio!

    • Clay Blog Review: April 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: Tips For Judging Base Thickness On Thrown Pots […]

    • 12 Tips for Making Pots - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Link […]

  • Recently, our toothbrush holder decided it was too old to hold it together any longer, so I decided to try my hand at making one and you get to follow along with the experiment.

    First off I will tell you, now that I've made the first one, I realize that it's not exactly what I was looking for. I think a little tweaking is needed, before I fire and glaze one for the bathroom, but this should put you on the right track for your own.

    Put on your thinking cap, grab your coffee, and follow me to the studio!

  • One of the current trends is handmade soaps. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and scents. The problem is finding a good quality, aesthetically pleasing, soap dish for those pretty bars.

    With any bar soap it's important to have a holder that allows it to drain properly and keep it from getting too soft and slimy. Besides, who likes to clean a soap dish that's been collecting all that mess?

    Today we are going to make a two-piece soap dish, that will not only look awesome holding your soap, it will bring style and personality to wherever you choose to place it!

    Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio!

    • Clay Blog Review: March 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

      […] Big Ceramic Store: Pretty Little Soap Dishes […]

    • Vickie | #

      Thanks for the little how-to... sure wish I knew what kind of clay, fired in what kind make/model of kiln or at least temp/time etc.. kind of glaze? finished item photo?? love it, but a newbie here with a million newbie questions :D

    • johnmuller | #

      Hi nice article, thank you for sharing.. handmade soap is the best one to protect the skin.

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