Why Is Handmade Pottery so Expensive?

Throughout history, various civilizations have used clay as a surface layer of earth to prepare dishes and vessels in which to store water, wine, or prepare food. As a result of mixing the clay with water, it was easily shaped by the hands and was thus useful in various civilizations.

As a result of mixing the clay with water, it was easily shaped by the hands and was thus useful in various civilizations. 

Because it is a natural material in which food can be prepared and stored, pottery is a real investment in your kitchen and a way of preparing food for your loved ones. Harmless to the environment and degradable to the smallest part of every dish, clay dishes are a real investment in a healthy way of preparing food.

There are many advantages of preparing food in clay pots since the ways of preparing pots are different: they can be baked at “low” temperatures, from 1100 degrees Celsius, at slightly higher temperatures that go up to 1400 degrees Celsius, or “glazed” at slightly lower temperatures. The great advantage of glazed clay pots is that the glazing gives it an additional protective layer and protects it from damage, crumbling, and crushing of the clay with which you made your pot. 

Is it Expensive to Make Your Own Pottery?

If you are interested in making objects or vessels from clay, you can find a lot of texts on this blog. They contain numerous tips on the composition of clay, how to make vessels. Some of our previous blog posts can answer your questions about: 

  • what kind of oven clay pots are baked in
  • what is a kiln and 
  • at what temperature are they are baked?

If you happen to be interested in making earrings and other pieces of jewelry, we also have a post about it. But in case you are going to make your pots, feel free to continue reading the rest of this story that we have prepared for you. Making food in clay pots helps your family’s health, so you are on the right track. Price varies not only by the type of clay from which you want to make the dish but also by the type of oven where you plan to bake them. 

These are just a few things, but let’s get started:

  • “Lower temperatures” are still far higher than those achieved by your household oven, as temperatures are between 1050 and 1100 °C, after which they enter the melting phase, and clays baked at “high temperatures” reach their hardness at baking temperatures above 1240 °C.
  • The clay goes through different stages of firing. The first baking, after the object is made and dried, is called “biscuit” and the temperature, in that case, is between 950 and 990 °C. Then you can paint the object and put it on glazed baking which can be at “low temperature” up to 1100 °C or at “high temperature” around 1240 °C.

Because of all that we have mentioned, it is clear to you that making and baking clay pots is expensive. These ovens are expensive and inaccessible, and kitchen ovens cannot reach the temperature that bakes the clay, completely dries out the moisture from it, and makes it firm to make meals in it. Everything can be bridged by renting clay baking ovens. If you still decide to do the whole process of making and baking yourself, the details below can be interesting.

You might be interested in: 10 Pottery Tools You Need to Own! (For Beginners)

How Do You Price Homemade Ceramics?

Before you put a price on your product, you need to keep a few facts in mind. Even if you decide to do the whole process of making pottery, that you have invested in the construction of a workshop, the purchase of kilns in which it is possible to bake clay, you must include all costs in the price of your product.

Include all investments in the price of your product:

You need to anticipate equipping and investing in your pottery workshop. Some craftsmen set aside monthly amounts, which they call “equipment budget”, for maintenance costs or in case of new purchases, repairs, and the like – if they need it.

If you just began your work, calculate all your costs for the month and include them in your final product price. If your earnings are less than your expenses, you are in serious trouble at the end of the annual cycle.

These costs include raw materials, utensils for making dishes, consumption of electricity, water, and everything that reduces your balance at the end of the month. If you are renting a workshop space, take it into account as well. You may own the place, but if you pay for insurance, be aware also of taxes and contributions you have to make to the state every month. 

It is possible to divide the total cost price into a price per court so that you can determine the unit price of the product, especially if you bake a similar type of dish.  

Some other questions you need to think about and offer yourself answers to the questions:

  • What is your price per hour or day?
  • What is the purpose of each piece of dishes you make, glaze and bake?
  • The principle of the free market:

This legality largely determines the price of your products, since if you can’t achieve the required pieces, it’s time to raise the price. Discounting may thin out orders that not everyone can afford, but it also tells you which customers appreciate your products. Take action on discounting your pots if they’ve been sitting on the shelf for a while.

How Much Can You Earn by Selling Your Ceramics Online?

Selling any product is easier now than at any time in history. Once you make your product out of clay, you can sell it through social media channels, by constantly communicating with your target audience. For this, sometimes you don’t even need a store with a shop window and the address of the store, possibly a postal code for receiving important mail and notifications, a place where possibly dissatisfied customers will return, which we clearly doubt will happen.

However, communication in the modern period is a kind of double-edged sword, because product placement, photography, writing descriptions, and answering all inquiries must be done by yourself. 

You also need to be: 

  • a potter, 
  • a photographer, 
  • a good digital marketing manager, with knowledge of the basics of digital social media marketing, 
  • a good trader, 
  • negotiator, 
  • accountant, and 
  • financially literate. 

Which is hard when you start without special knowledge and start-up capital. When the business develops, you can hire a member of your family, friend or agency to do all the other work for you, and you are left with the creative process of making clay objects and vessels.

According to the information that makes clay pots, the price varies in relation to the attractiveness of the product and the experience of craftsmen: for beginners, the hourly rate is from 10 to 15$, for medium experienced potters between 15 and 25$, while for masters the hourly rate costs over 30$. It all depends on the time invested in building the skill, the way you work, and the connections you have, in terms of previous work, exhibits in galleries and pottery shops, how much your products are in demand.

Can You Make a Living as a Potter?

If you know about how many pots you make for one month or week, you can start today by setting your goal. The next thing to think about is your personal financial goals. When you pay all your expenses, like rent for your place, material, utilities, and other important details.

A simple rule for estimating how much you should spend is the 50-30-20 rule.

This means that no more than 50% of your income should be spent on basic things, such as rent, utilities, food, and transportation costs. The other 20% must be allocated to investments in the future, at least this percentage must be focused on financial obligations such as pension contributions, emergency savings, loan repayments, and credit cards. The remaining 30% is used for non-essential but necessary things such as wardrobe, going out, holiday gifts, travel. Make sure this amount does not exceed 20% of income and stick to it. When a higher payment is due, we can relax and start spending outside the planned limits.

When you think like this, you can easily predict the amount of money you want and how to make that amount of money.

  • How much money do you want to make by making and selling pottery?
  • Is it just you or do you have a family that counts on your income?
  • Are you comfortable with making money at the workplace and want making clay pots just a hobby? Or are you somewhere in between?

After a little thought and offering answers to the mentioned questions, you will be closer to the answers to the dilemma of whether you can live as a pottery manufacturer, as well as how much time and money you are willing to spend to get into this business. The decision is yours alone, but we are at your disposal with the information we have published on our blog.

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