Pottery is an ancient form of art that originates from the Neolithic period. Almost every ancient civilization practiced it in some shape or form, using different techniques and methods to achieve a piece of art that has a symbolic function. But, why people love pottery today even after all these years?
People love pottery because it is an escape from the real world of mass production and consumerism. Individuals search for a sense of nostalgia in creating something beautiful with their hands, similar to our ancestors. Therefore, pottery is a form of expression that grounds people to the present.
To summarise the basics, pottery is the craft of making objects out of clay materials and it comprises three major types; earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware. After shaping the clay, the potter uses heat to make it waterproof before decorating its exterior. For example, decorating ceramic pieces can involve painting, glazing, and applying decorative ornaments.
So pottery is more than just wet clay on a slab, it involves several other processes that make it even more engaging. If you want to find out whether or not pottery is the right hobby for you, keep on reading about its benefits and meanings.
Why Is Pottery a Good Hobby and Why People Love Pottery?
Pottery is a fascinating hobby for several reasons; it helps you build new skills while improving your focus and creativity. Contrary to popular belief, pottery isn’t only about pots and bowls; thousands of people take up pottery to create all sorts of objects such as ceramic jewelry, figurines, and wall art. So here are some of the benefits of adopting pottery as a hobby.
1. You Can Start Small
Trying out pottery doesn’t have to be expensive, you can enroll in a beginner’s class for a start. What you don’t want to do is go all out and buy every single tool and glaze you can find. For example, when I start a new art form, I only grab one or two essentials to try my hand at it.
Similarly, you don’t have to create a huge masterpiece on your first try instead, learn the basics, get a feel of the materials and start with a small project. It might even be fun to document your progress along the way.
2. It Reduces Stress
The movement of your hands, wrists, and arms while modeling the soft clay requires you to be still, to focus on the task at hand, and to be more present. Many people have noted its therapeutic benefits as the wet clay moves and curves under their touch, some have likened it to meditation. Pottery is a great way to forget stress from your daily life and redirect any negative energy towards creating.
3. It Increases Sociability
Pottery doesn’t have to be a hobby you take up alone; you can ask your friends and family to join or try out a class. It’s also a great sensorial activity for kids and an easy way to bond with them while encouraging their creativity. You can form a community and lifelong friendships through pottery as you engage with others through the process of learning.
4. It’s Challenging
Pottery is not a boring hobby by any means, it challenges you to refine your touch, and it requires determination. You never stop learning when it comes to this hobby; there are multiple techniques to explore, different types of glazes, and colors to use to achieve a different outcome every time. Although, keep in mind that it is easy to lose track of time when you get into it.
Although, at the same time it’s something that anyone can learn. Unlike music and other forms of art, you don’t need an artistic eye or ear to enjoy it.
5. It Can Become a Business
Many people go into pottery as a hobby and end up finding their passion. Your creations don’t have to be sitting in a corner somewhere, collecting dust; instead, you can sell them and earn an income.
We are living in an era where mass production has robbed us of social relations. Most of the time, we have no idea who helped make the objects we purchase, making them impersonal. Hence, why people now seek out local, handmade products to decorate their homes.
Unlike factory-produced goods, they have a more personal touch, which is probably why clay jewelry has become such a huge trend on all social fronts this past year.
The advantage is that you can make money out of a task you enjoy.
Why Is Pottery Fun?
Modeling the clay can be very stimulating, evoking childhood memories of playing in the mud and making things from scratch. The best part is that whatever you make is a form of art, even if your first mug comes out a little uneven. I would strongly advise against throwing away your imperfect creations because that’s what makes them special.
Pottery is fun not only because it gives you the freedom to create whatever you want but also because it helps you create memories. What you end up with is a piece of your past, plus, who doesn’t like getting messy every once in a while?
However, keep in mind that pottery is not a hobby without its trials. While you may find videos and tutorials showcasing flawless techniques and results, you need to realize that pottery requires patience and a passion for learning. So don’t be disheartened if your first try doesn’t go as planned, simply keep practicing, and you will get there.
What Does Pottery Symbolize?
Pottery and ceramic objects have significance beyond utility and aesthetics, as they combine aspects of traditional and contemporary art. Every aspect of the art form carries symbolic meaning, from the materials to the symbols the potter uses. Many believe that clay represents the earth, and the water used to mould it represents the bodies of water on the planet.
It also has religious connotations; many religions believe that God sculpted the first humans from dirt, and thus we come from the earth. Many ancient cultures used pottery as a form of story-telling, similar to the decorative Greek vases that narrate the legends of Greek Gods.
Moreover, contemporary pottery symbolizes the history of art and ancient civilizations. It allows us to feel closer to the past and gives us an outlet into the lives of the people before us. When studying the Anthropology of Art, I learned how pieces of pottery from all over the world were used as markers for the evolution of humanity.
In the past, people first used pottery to carry water before creating it for decorative purposes. Now we use it to try to understand the lifestyles of these people, and how they viewed the world. Even the pieces you make today can become artifacts in the future.
1. Pottery In China
Pottery in China had great significance and highly influenced European styles of pottery. Porcelain was most prominent in the Tang dynasty and often depicted symbols of blessings such as happiness and wealth.
2. Pottery In Ancient Egypt
Artifacts from Ancient Egypt included sculptures, vases, and bowls that often depicted animal figures or scenic patterns. Their forms of geometric art were also consistent and almost without fault, symbolizing the orderliness and rigidity of life in Ancient Egyptian times.
3. Pottery In Ancient Rome
Pottery in Ancient Rome borrowed techniques from metalwork; using molds with impressions. This method was used to portray Christian motifs and mythological scenes.
In conclusion, pottery is more than just a hobby, it’s a performance of tradition and history. Pottery has several benefits that make it a great challenge and a stimulating hobby.
When deciding whether or not to take it up as a hobby, it’s best to understand what it would mean to you, your reasons for doing so, and to remember to have fun.