Learning Design with Clay

Clay Pottery

Clay pieces are often useful items for the home. Pots, bowls, plates and mugs are all pieces that can be made on a potter's wheel. Some pieces are not quite so useful, but are still welcome additions to any home setting. A clay figurine is just one example. It is made by hand shaping clay and letting it dry. Many of these pieces are decorated by the person who created them. This is an excellent way to learn design.

Many hobbyists who work clay often have a person in mind when they make and decorate their piece. It is important to ensure that people will enjoy their gift. Taking the time to notice the area or room where the piece will be displayed is important. If an artist is making a cookie jar for a friend’s kitchen, they will want to make the colors on the jar match that room. Size is also a factor. If a cookie jar is too large to keep on the kitchen counter it will end up in a storage area.

Once the artist has determined size and color, pattern is the next consideration. What type of pattern will best fit the display area? Geometric patterns are often pleasing to the eye. If the item will have writing on it, what words will be best? There are many different ways to decorate, and the artist’s choices will determine how personal the piece will be to the recipient.

Each step in creating a pottery piece with clay should be thought out before the piece is begun. It may take a bit of time to determine each step, but it is well worth the effort when the piece is finished. Incorporating design elements from the display area makes a piece a better gift. It also helps the artist to learn how to judge size, color and pattern during the creative process.