How Hard Is Pottery To Learn?

One of the most frequently asked questions by beginners is how hard it is to learn pottery. Pottery is completely different from other hobbies such as tennis, painting, or gardening, so it’s not that strange that so many people have this question.

Pottery is not very hard to learn. Most people can learn all the basics in less than 2 hours and successfully throw a small cup on their first day.

That being said, it is pretty rare to see someone throw clay successfully on their first try. As a beginner, it’s more a process of trial and error. Meaning that you’ll fail most of the time, but sometimes you’ll get a success as well.

And the first few cups you’ll throw aren’t exactly going to win any beauty awards either. You’ll need a lot of practice before you can really say you have mastered the art of pottery.

However, with a little bit of help anyone can learn pottery, and it’s not uncommon for pottery studios to have classes for kids as young as 10 years old.

How long does pottery take to learn?

You can learn most of the pottery fundamentals in just a single workshop of roughly 2 hours.

But don’t expect every project to be successful. As a beginner, probably only 1 out of every 3 times you throw clay on the wheel (or even less!) you’ll end up with something that remotely looks like what you intended.

After all, knowing how to do something is different from being able to do it.

Most people need about 5 ~ 10 sessions before they really start to get a feel for the clay and how to control the wheel. That’s why most beginner pottery classes take about 2 months to complete.

By this time, you’ll probably have around a 90% success rate.

If you keep practicing on a regular basis, you can become quite proficient in throwing a variety of different objects within just a year. And you’ll probably be able to teach the basics to someone else as well.

However, to become really good at pottery like these ceramic artists, you’ll need years of practice and a lot of creativity.

Moreover, there is more to pottery than just throwing clay. You’ll need to learn the different types of clay, find the right glaze to prevent crazing, understand the firing process, etc.

Different types of pottery

Most people think of throwing clay on a wheel when they think of pottery. But for centuries, people have made pottery without the need for a pottery wheel.

Some common types are coil pottery and handbuilding pottery. These types of pottery are considerably easier to get started with.

So if you want some quick results, you can try one of these forms of pottery first.

That being said, really mastering handbuilding is just as difficult if not more difficult than throwing clay on a wheel.

How to get started with pottery?

If you are new to pottery, taking a beginner class or a several weeks long course is a good way to become familiar with the basic techniques and learn the entire pottery making process.

Since even small mistakes can completely ruin everything, having someone explain teaching you and telling you what to change is super helpful.

Once you have mastered the basics, you can sign up for a more advanced class or just work by yourself.

If you do choose to go on your own, you can either pay to use a community pottery studio (if available in your area) or buy the necessary equipment yourself.

If you go with the latter option, don’t worry. You don’t need to set up an entire home pottery studio right from the start.

However, since a good pottery wheel can be quite expensive when bought new, you might want to ask around to see if you can buy a used pottery wheel.

It’s also entirely possible to teach yourself how to throw the clay though books and online classes. However, in that case you’ll have to invest in the needed supplies before you’re completely certain you like it.


You can learn the pottery basics in a relatively short amount of time. Normally, 2 months is enough to learn how to throw a variety of different projects using a pottery wheel. Even kids can be taught how to work with clay in a relatively short period of time. However, like any creative endeavor, truly mastering pottery can take a lifetime.

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