Christmas Gift Ideas for Potters

Christmas Gift Ideas for Potters

It's always hard to know what to get someone for Christmas, but the good news is there's no shortage of options when buying for a potter.

These are taken partly from suggestions on Instagram, and partly from the list of things I want or would immediately replace if broken. I've tried to find a UK and US price and link to purchase where applicable, but I haven't hunted for the best price.

Top 5 from Instagram

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Throwing

  • Sponges - You can't beat a good sponge for throwing. I personally love the Xiem sponges (£4.32/$3.95) as they're a bit firmer, but the Mudtools sponges (£4.54/$5) are very popular too.

  • Ribs - Ribs make a great present as there are an infinite number of shapes and materials, each with it's own merit. The brands that came up most on the poll were Mudtools (~£6/$7) and GarrityTools ($10-30). If buying for a potter who already has a couple of the more traditional shapes and sizes, consider some of the stranger looking ones!

  • Wire - Having a wire the right length with a comfortable handle makes a big difference. I find the shortest Xiem wire (£6.12/$5.95) perfect for almost everything I throw. The standard Mudtools wire (£5.87/$7) is 5" longer, and might be more suited to people throwing larger pots.

  • Needle Tool - The cheap ones can be a little flimsy, so it's nice to have a more robust needle tool. I use the Xiem (£6.71/$5.95) and Mudtools also make one (£7.27/$8)

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Trimming

  • Trim Tool - There are a wide range of trimming tools at different price ranges. The most wished for was the Mudtools Do-All (£16.11/$20), but you could splash out and get a Bison ($80+)

  • Giffin Grip - The best trimming aid I've ever used. It centres and holds pieces with very minimal effort, allowing for much faster and more controlled trimming. (£214/$219)

  • Foam/Sticky Batt - A lower tech and priced way of holding pieces while trimming. Xiem do a Foam Batt (£10.20/$9.95) and DiamondCore Tools do the Sticky Batt (£69.56/$76) as well as a few other variations.

  • Trimming Spinner - A small trimming aid (£10.19/$8)

  • Carving tool - DiamondCore Tools have a range of top quality carving tools (£28.79/$36)

  • Stamping Tools - Most ceramic suppliers offer a range of cheap premade stamps, but if the potter you're buying for has a logo then you could buy them a custom pottery stamp.

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Glazing

  • Brushes - Most ceramic suppliers will offer a selection, and it's useful to have a choice when glazing. If you want a really nice brush, check out Troy Bungart (CA$60+).

  • Banding Wheel - You get what you pay for here. Most ceramic suppliers have a range, the more expensive ones will be heavier, more stable, and with better bearings (£30-300+/$40+)

  • Applicator - You can get nozzle applicators for precise work or cheap spray atomisers for about £5 from most suppliers or on Amazon. They won't match proper spraying equipment for the quality of the result, but they are a cheap and fun way to change things up a bit.

  • Glaze - A very broad category. If buying for someone else, I'd suggest looking at the brand and type of glaze they currently use (the firing temperature is the important thing here) and getting them something new from that range.

  • Stain - Stains can be used in many different way. They can be added to clay, slip, and glaze, or applied afterwards in the form of a wash to produce a huge range of effects. The most reliable brand I've found is Mason (£3.50+/$5+), you could get a small amount of a few colours and be pretty confident the recipient would find a fun use for them.

  • Lustre - These are precious metals that get applied to glazed work and fired to a lower temperature. They are very expensive (£10 per gram!) which can put a lot of people off buying them for themselves, making them a good option for a gift.

Other

  • Other Potters Work - There are so many fantastic potters out there creating inspirational work, having more of it in your life can only be a good thing!

  • Workshops - Have a look locally, see what's going on near you

  • Books - I highly recommend Clary Illian's A Potter's Workbook for improving the quality of your work, and John Britt's books for glazing. Harry Fraser's Ceramic Faults and their Remedies is a very useful reference too.

  • Hand Cream - Dry skin is one of the main drawbacks to working with clay, so anything that helps with that would be good. The top suggestions from Instagram were The Body Shop's Hemp Hand Cream, O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream, Potter's Skin Butter, and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula.

  • Massage - Pottery is physical, so a deep massage can do the world of good.

  • Apron - Everyone should form a neat queue for Faith's aprons (maybe for next Christmas).

  • Sanding Pads - DiamondCore Tools do a variety of grade (£15+/$15+), and they're very useful for finishing the bottoms of pots.

  • Harry the Potter Shirt - $12!

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For Beginners

  • Tool Sets - These are a good way to get all the basics at a very reasonable price (£16.15/$15.59)

  • Books - The Potter's Complete Studio Handbook: The Essential, Start-to-Finish Guide for Ceramic Artists (£14.20/$9.11)

If you have any suggestions for things I missed, please contact me through this site or via Instagram.

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