Getting started in pottery can be expensive and daunting. Even primitive pottery, which does not require expensive equipment like pottery wheels or electric kilns, can be challenging for a newcomer. Where, for example, can a person buy a puki? Or what can I use for black paint?
This page offers a quick, easy list of primitive pottery supplies, both authentic and modern alternatives. To begin go to the section you are interested in using the menu below, then scroll to the specific pottery supply you are interested in to see options for acquiring natural or manufactured options.
Sections (click to jump to that section)
- Additional items (takes you to a separate page)
- How to find clay article
- How to process clay article
- Wild Clay 101 online masterclass
- Wild clay playlist on YouTube
Store Bought Clay
- Any “low fire” commercial clay can work. However if you will be firing outdoors, without a kiln then you will probably want to add some extra temper to your clay. I recommend about 20% temper to withstand the thermal shock of an open fire. Raku clays are usually well tempered to withstand thermal shock.
- Sand is often readily available from nature even within cities and makes a decent temper.
- Diatomaceous earth makes a good temper and can be purchased at most hardware stores and can be ordered online at Amazon
- Commercial grog materials are also available online, here is one source.
- Low fire commercial clays can be used as slips.
- Clays that are too course can be purified using the levigation process.
- Natural red paint is made using soft hematite (iron ore)
- Store bought hematite is called “red iron oxide” and can be purchased online at Amazon here
- Red underglaze is an easy alternative to mixing mineral paint, here is a link to Amazon
- Natural black paint is most often made with manganese dioxide
- Processed manganese is available commercial and can be ordered from Amazon at this link
- Black underglaze is an easier alternative to mixing mineral paint, here is a link to buy it on Amazon
- Naturally derived white paint is most often white clay.
- White commercial clay can work if it is relatively low fire
- White underglaze is also available and can be ordered from Amazon here
Mineral paints will need to be mixed with a little bit of clay so that it will harden in the fire properly.
- Coil Pottery Making online masterclass
- What is a puki and how is it used article
- How to make a coil pot article
- Coil pottery making YouTube playlist
- Gourd ribs are traditional in the American Southwest, I sell gourd scrapers at this link
- Commercial silicone ribs make a good alternative, here is an online source
- Metal ribs are another alternative that are sometimes used, they can be purchased on Amazon at this link
- Traditional ceramic pukis can be purchased from New Mexico Clay at this link
- You can make your own ceramic pukis using the instructions in my class that is free for signing up for my newsletter.
- Any round bottom bowl can be used if a piece of cloth is placed in the bottom first to keep clay from sticking. Here are some inexpensive plastic, round bottomed bowls on Amazon that will work
- I sell polishing stones that I have hand selected to be of the correct size and shape for pottery making.
- Various polished stones are available online but it is often hard to know if the shape or size is appropriate for polishing pottery until it arrives in the mail. Here is a link to a nice smooth stone on Amazon.
- You can really use almost anything that is smooth, the back of a spoon and engine push rods are two common options.