Art remains one of the most therapeutic and fun activities anyone can sign-up for. But it becomes a challenge when you’re presented with different art forms to choose from. Seven forms of art exist and they include literature, music, cinema, performing, painting, sculpture, and architecture. But sculpture stands out in terms of its ancient origin, creative process, precision, and solid but fragile nature.
It’s understandable if you wish to take wood carving or drawing classes, but if you’re interested in something more artistically challenging and connected to nature, then you might consider the 45,000-year-old ceramic art.
Ceramics is not age-specific, so you can always enrol in a class. “What about your kids?” you might ask. Recall how playful and messy children can be around sand or water; clay and water are the basic materials used in pottery. With close supervision from an instructor, your kid would have a fun time working the clay.
This article seeks to address why you’re interested in ceramics, what education form would suit you, and where to find them. Let’s begin.
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
What’s Your Reason for Learning Ceramics?
You don’t suddenly wake up to find yourself in a pottery class… except you were abducted overnight. We all have reasons for taking courses and attending classes. Here are some common reasons people decide to learn ceramics:
- Creative reasons: every human is creative, but we all have varying creativity levels. While some use the analytical hemisphere of the brain most times, others use the creative hemisphere of the brain. It’s been proven that consistently creating works of art improves your creative ability. Pottery is an avenue to express yourself by making manifest your imaginative desires.
- Medical reasons: have you ever considered checking your cortisol level? Pottery is an escape route from stress. Whenever you feel depressed, stressed at work, or tired of being too analytical, try digging your hands in clay and moulding. For those suffering from hand osteoarthritis, pottery is subtle yet strengthening to the arms, wrists, and hands.
- Social reasons: we live in the internet age where there’s a steady decline in physical connection. Although the virtual space has allowed for faster communication via calls and social media, humans are social beings who need physical contact and interaction. Attending pottery studio sessions would provide you with a casual atmosphere that fosters interaction and socialization with other potters. It kills social anxiety, improves interpersonal relationships, and helps you have a wider network of friends.
- To preserve memories: if a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a piece of pottery worth? Pottery doesn’t decay or corrode like other materials. Some of the earliest pottery works which date back to 45,000 years are present to date. Some popular sculptures available for sightseeing in Nigeria include the Ife Head (Ife Antiquities Museum, Lagos), Awolowo’s bust, and the Nok Pottery Head (Jos Museum). These sculptures remind historians of who they were when they were alive.
- Self-fulfilment: we live in a world where we’re often compelled or convinced to study what we’re disinterested in. Take, for instance, an engineer who wanted to become a sculptor but couldn’t due to family expectations and how little sculpting would pay. After living an unfulfilled life as an engineer, he might find solace in throwing clay.
“My hands are very important to me. Craft is the honed skill and artistry with which I use my hands to turn inspiration to creation – to make something where there was nothing.”
What’s your reason for learning pottery?
Would You Opt for Pottery Workshops or Classes?
Even the greatest football stars of all time were once amateurs who played in academies, under the supervision of their trainers. How much more a skill-demanding profession like pottery? When you look at a piece of pottery, it looks pretty easy until you give it a shot. Then you’d discover that it’s more complex than mixing clay and water and firing it.
Gaining knowledge is multifaceted. While some knowledge gaining methods are niche-specific, others teach the elementary, intermediate, and pro-level aspects of making ceramics.
For a pottery student who has mastered the different types of clay and firing temperatures from online course materials, attending workshops would fast-track your learning process. Workshops are best suited for artists interested in learning or improving on specific pottery areas. For instance, you would improve your wheel throwing skills and learn the following: coil construction, hand throwing, slab construction, slip casting, and centring, as well as, pulling.
If you’re interested in learning the history of pottery, its basics, theoretical and practical applications, and an in-depth analysis of ceramics, you should consider enrolling for a degree programme under the department of fine arts. Applying for an art degree programme demands that you have the right subject combination. You can study this course at the undergraduate, master, or doctoral level. Since this is an all-encompassing study programme, you would be subjected to study the following:
- Arts Management
- Metal & Jewelry Art
- Multimedia Arts
- Art History
- Weaving & Textile Arts
"Shape clay into a vessel; It is the space within that makes it useful. Cut doors and windows for a room; It is the holes which make it useful. Therefore benefit comes from what is there; Usefulness from what is not there."
For those who don’t intend writing examinations or bagging degrees but want in-depth training, you can sign up for ceramics classes that include studio sessions. Here are some of the concepts taught in pottery lessons: hand construction, wheel throwing, clay chemistry, glazing techniques, and pottery equipment. Furthermore, courses are segmented based on levels of expertise. Check out the following:
|Ceramics for Beginners||Basic techniques of pottery |
Object moulding (vases and plates)
|Hand Building||Glazing |
Hand-building techniques- coil, slab, and pinch methods
Functional & non-functional hand building
|Ceramics for Intermediate Learners||Wheel throwing |
|Clay & Glazing||Glaze theories (creation) |
Clay chemistry (formulation)
|Ceramics Sculpting||Advanced wheel throwing |
Advanced hand sculpting
Hone creativity and technical ability
|Ceramics for Professionals||Develop a unique artistic style |
Perfect wheel throwing
Perfect hand building
Finding Pottery Classes That Suit Your Preference
Whether you’re a hobby artist who wants to learn ceramics for fun, or a prospective potter intending to make it a career, finding ceramics classes is quite easy. It’s normal to wish there were pottery classes near you from which you could choose from. But most times, the best ones are often farther than we would want them to be.
YouTube remains the go-to place for virtual learning. On this platform, there are umpteen tutorial videos on pottery you can watch and learn from. Some of them include hand building, wheel throwing, firing techniques, how to create your mini ceramics studio, pottery wheel reviews, and more. But watching tutorials is incomparable to mixing clay with your bare hands under the tutelage of an instructor.
For students interested in taking in-depth non-degree ceramics courses, classes exist all over the country. However, if you’re searching for a short-term ceramics course that teaches the basics, some renowned Nigerian pottery centres offer one-time sessions. Also, they offer brief workshops and classes that span from one to three months. Below are Nigerian pottery classes that offer short-term and long-term pottery/ceramics courses:
|Smartteee Pottery & Design||Lagos|
|Go Woman Go (pottery workshop for women between 18 and 35)||Abuja|
|WorldCat – Pottery Training Centre||Abuja|
|Nike Art Gallery||Lekki (Lagos), Abuja, Oshogbo(Osun)|
|African Artists’ Foundation (art exhibitions, workshops, and competitions for kids between 6 and 12)||Lagos|
|IAS Museum Shop||Ibadan|
“Working with clay is a tactile experience. There’s something incredibly humbling about forming earth into art.”
If you’re interested in setting up a personal studio, take some time out to attend studio sessions to know what it entails. You can also take advantage of pottery exhibitions and fairs holding in your city. Exhibitions and fairs often involve short classes where you can learn a few techniques from and they're offered at subsidized rates. Signing up for ceramics lessons is just a click away.
Take private pottery lessons with Superprof
Superprof has numerous pottery professionals you can learn pottery from on at your convenient schedule and pace. You can opt for face-to-face tutoring at your home or online classes via webcam, whichever suits you. You get the first class free with the potters on superprof, this enables you to review the instructor and vice versa till you find the perfect tutor for you.
Whether pottery is a fun activity for you or you’re keen on making a living from it, you’ve got numerous learning sources to choose from. From the numerous benefits highlighted above, you've got nothing to lose. Pottery is worth the time and effort. Get started today!