Best birthday gift for a hobbyist potter?
October 6, 2010 11:31 PM   Subscribe

Gift suggestions for the hobbyist potter (ceramics)?

My mom has been doing pottery since she was in her twenties, but its a hobby activity. She has a kiln and a wheel in the house, but takes a class at the local college to use their materials and stuido space most of the time. She's not doing this to make money, more for the enjoyment and for gifts to give.

She really enjoys it, but its stressful for her to travel and make the school hours especially when working 40+ hours a week. I'm really proud of her for taking time to relax and do something she enjoys so I'd like to get a birthday gift that keeps the fun going.

She enjoys throwing bowls and jars, making lasagna pans and platters by using a form to shape them, and has in the past has done some relief tiles by carving plaster molds.

Her birthday is coming up, and I'd like to get her something fun for her hobby. She has a subscription to Ceramics Monthly, which she enjoys for the ideas. What is the must-have tool you love the most? Or the extra you're glad you splurged on? Anything new and exciting to try, as far as a new technique or idea?

Probably looking for something in the under 100 dollar range, but if its really cool I might spend more
posted by gilsonal to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A good heavy-duty banding wheel is very useful for applying linear bands around the circumference of pots, and can also double as a wheel for when she's hand-building and doesn't want to tie up the potter's wheel. And they can be had for less than $100.
posted by motown missile at 12:45 AM on October 7, 2010

A book on different techniques for fancy glazes?

A good friend of mine does pottery as a hobby and she loves anything to do with beautifully-coloured or interestingly-textured glazes.

She particularly likes raku glazes.
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 1:03 AM on October 7, 2010

I should admit up front I know bugger all about pottery, but this list suggests some innovative gadgets that professional potters love.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:08 AM on October 7, 2010

the people at the compleat sculptor are super friendly and knowledgeable, they might have a recommendation for you. 800-9-SCULPT
posted by kimyo at 2:44 AM on October 7, 2010

Texture tools are fun for clay people, I have a friend who loves The Steve Tool. They are not expensive, and there are a lot of choices. I have bought some wooden stamps from MKM that I use a lot.

Clay Times is a good magazine too. I like Ceramics Monthly, but I get bored with it. And I know a lot of potters who do too.
posted by chocolatetiara at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2010

A Giffin Grip, or Calipers made (by Giffin too). The Giffin Grip is a centering tool used for triming the bottoms of pieces, and calipers are used to measure lid dimensions. (the latter being much more affordable.)
posted by Alpenglow at 7:42 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

the steve tool is for texturizing pieces. if she's not into that, then it would not necessarily be money well-spent.

i would recommend some pottery books, like the 500 series. they are great idea books which could be inspiring.

500 figures in clay

500 plates and chargers

etc. the above links will take you the amazon pages, where you will find other listings for the 500 series. cups, teapots, etc....depending on what she's into.

texture mats are also cool

the tools of an artist are a very personal thing. what about an online gift certificate at a ceramic supplier? the idea book, related to her area of interest, with a gift certificate inside, would most likely be a very welcome and thoughtful gift for a ceramic hobbyist.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:50 AM on October 7, 2010

here is a ceramics magazine out of europe that is guaranteed not to be boring. i have no idea how to sign up for the english edition, but here is a place to start:

neue keramik (new ceramics)
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:59 AM on October 7, 2010

well, there is a link on that page to sign up for the english edition of new ceramics....runs between $59-78 depending on shipping speed...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:01 AM on October 7, 2010

okay, one more opinion and then i promise i'll stop. before buying a set of calipers, make sure it's something she'll use. not everyone uses calipers. the giffin grip is more likely to be something that will be used. it is more than $100, though. i've seen it online for around $169. get the giffin grip version 10 if you decide to go in this direction.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:03 AM on October 7, 2010

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