Is Pottery an Expensive Hobby?

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Many people have a knack towards pottery. But, a very common question that often strikes their mind and holds them back from practicing this art is, whether pottery is an expensive hobby or not. In short – practicing pottery might actually be expensive. But if you don’t place the cart ahead of the horse and do things after planning, you might find it a little cheaper.


Pottery requires an ample amount of time to hone the skill of throwing, firing, decorating, and glazing. The materials needed in the process are quite expensive. Based on that, there are different types of pottery works that can be made out of clay. The main types are as follows:

  • Earthenware
  • Stoneware
  • Porcelain

Since clay would be needed to make all kinds of pottery, it’s better to discuss it first:



Pottery requires clay, the primary component of all bodies. Different types of clays are available in the market that responds to fire differently, allowing each type to possess unique characteristics. The most common types of clay are:

  • Kaolin-also referred to as ‘China Clay’
  • Ball clay
  • Stoneware clay
  • Fire clay

Clay is of no use if you don’t have the required materials to get started. The basic things that you are going to need for pottery are a wheel, slab roller, extruder or a pug mill, and a kiln. The cost of buying them can easily add up to a hefty amount of $5000, which is too expensive for someone to shell out before making pottery a hobby.


Following is given a list of clays that you can use to craft out your pottery, depending on your purpose.

Type of clay Color Fire Porosity
Porcelain C6 Non-porous
Stoneware White C6-10 Porous
Stoneware Buff C02-9 Porous
Earthenware White C04-06 Non-porous
Earthenware Red C06-02 Non-porous
Terra Cotta Red C06 Quite porous
Terra Cotta Red C06-4 Quite porous





You would need a kiln to fire your greenware to ceramics. This process is inevitable because it’s like the final piece of the jigsaw. There are different types of kilns available, and the most commonly used kilns run on electricity, wood, or natural gas.


It is crucial to decide whether you can afford a new kiln, which is around $2000 or not. Firing at cone-6 or higher would require a lot of heat, which will further enhance the consumption of electricity or natural gas.

Apart from this, Glazed wares may stick to the kiln surfaces that must be removed. Maintaining the kiln’s optimum condition is as important as buying one. Hence, the cost of making even a simple plate out of clay can escalate quickly.


Earlier kilns were made out of bricks, and wood was burnt to produce the required temperature. Nowadays, kilns run on electric power that can be bought and used at home. AMACO 12505P Polymer Clay & Craft Oven one such electric kiln. Heating up such kilns requires a large amount of electricity, which can increase your expenditure.


A way to avoid these is to look out for the options offered by certain studios for public use. You can use the kiln by spending some dollars in these public studios. It can save you the cost of buying a kiln. You can also purchase used kilns from people who ended up buying those costly kilns on the very first day of their pottery class and find out a few weeks later that pottery was not their cup of tea.


Mastering the art of ceramics can take several years to finally be able to generate something good enough for people to buy. Many people do not have the patience required to excel in this field, and in turn, they discard their hobby of pottery midway and ended up wasting thousands of dollars.


The best option would be to join a reputed pottery course and learn as much as you can. Do not shell out a large amount of money before even learning how to throw. As already suggested, you can go for the used wheels and kilns, or fire the clay at public studios at a subsidized rate.





Decoration and Glazing

Glazing is a process in which the body is coated with a glassy material, usually by dipping, spraying, etc. This process is mainly done to render these wares impermeable to water, making them useful for several household purposes. Some common glazing methods are salt glazing and ash gazing.


You can’t sell out your pottery until you haven’t completed the decoration process. People won’t buy your pottery unless it’s attractive and appealing to the buyer’s eyes. The decoration is generally done by painting, glazing, carving, lithography, and embedding gold. So, use some sculpting tools such as BlackyVox Pottery and Clay Sculpting Tools to add textures to the body. The total cost of decoration is high itself, let alone the ingredients.


After decoration and glazing, the product is finally ready to be sold out. You can understand how long the process would take, and the amount of time and investment you would have to make to get these end products. Still, clay pottery produces some beautiful pieces of art, if done correctly. Cups, crockery, plates, home interiors, etc. are some of the most common objects created out of clay.


Availability of Space

Pottery is a hobby that you can’t just start out at home. It requires a large space before you get your hands into the mud for drying, firing, etc. You need to arrange space before carving out pots. Ask yourself where you are going to make the body out of clay, where you are going to dry them – be it in your garage, or any pottery studio available for public use.



By now, you must have understood why pottery is not a hobby that would be everyone’s piece of cake. Still, if you are really interested in pursuing pottery as your hobby, do not just fork out thousands of dollars yet. Attend a course where you get to learn the basics like throwing, firing, etc.


It takes really long to master the art of firing your objects. Keep in mind that firing the chemical composition of the ingredients may change, resulting in the appearance of a different color. After you have spent enough time making pottery items and feel confident, only then buy a new kiln and wheel. Pottery is an expensive hobby, so spend wisely.

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