Author: Tammy Jo

Pottery Wheel Burn Out – Finding Inspiration Again

“I wanted to reach out to ask you all a question. But have any of you ever had extended periods where even the thought of throwing seemed like a chore, so you just don’t throw? I have only thrown twice since last September…”  T. Cooke
~ Hobby Potter Life Group Member

I’m so glad you shared this question with the group! I was going to share my answer directly with you in the group feed,  but believe there are so many people who have experienced or are experiencing this same dilemma. 

First, you are not alone in seeking space from the wheel.  In my own experience, I began throwing with a strong desire to just learn and grow on the pottery wheel, not handbuilding. So I started the 365 Days of Clay Cups project to do just that.  On my 10th anniversary, I did the whole 365 Cup process a 2nd time in 12 videos but condensed it into a little over 30 days. That event helped me realize something … my focus on throwing had truly changed. I was done throwing for throwing’s sake…but what do I do now?

(What I’ve been Up To!

It was time to take a break because I had no desire to throw (partly because of physical reasons), but mostly because I had lost enthusiasm thinking about sitting down to throw. Since it was my hobby and not my profession, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to throw if I didn’t want to.  But what I didn’t expect was the guilt I felt not throwing…as if I had betrayed some sort of “calling” with over 500 videos to my name! 

“It’s not about the wheel, it’s about what you want to make…”

Of course, this isn’t true, but I came to the conclusion that there was so much more I wanted to do with clay but needed to release the idea I MUST throw. It then became okay that the pottery wheel itself took on a more utilitarian aspect, and embracing that I had the skills to use it when it was needed.. this realization was so FREEING!

“What DID I want to make with clay?”  
I’m LOVING this new freedom to spend time watching more diverse clay and art videos, reading more technical ceramic magazines, and talking with inspirational clay creatives. Taking time to rebuild the desire to create and explore in clay has found me in a place I never would have imagined just learning the wheel.

Be it handbuilding, throwing, or combining the two will require me to ask the RIGHT questions! What is it I want to make in the studio today? 

What would you love to create with clay? Seek inspiration so you have created the spark to move you forward again. 

I would love to hear about your experiences with rejuvenating your love of clay! We can always be a light and inspire each other! 

I Made Underglaze To-Go Kits!

This is what I have been doing in my studio as of late….making these super convenient underglaze To-GO Kits like crazy!

This simple and easy-to-use underglaze storage box idea came from a video I saw from Lisa Schutte Koester from Wild Acorns Pottery.

These kits have allowed me to really play with color and has saved so much time (since I’m not opening and closing bottles), space (one of these can hold a minimum of 26, 2oz bottles of underglaze! 

Since posting this video Lisa contacted me and let me know there are other types of containers that are 100% sealed on Amazon, which would save even more time because they wouldn’t need to be sealed! 

I’ll be sharing more videos in the future of fun explorations and experiments I’ve trying over the last year or so.

I’M BACK….so let’s get to it!

Tammy Jo

Ceramic Birdhouse – Ceramic Projects

We did it! If you have been following along on the Hobby Potter 10 Year Anniversary project journey, CONGRATULATIONS! 

This final installment in our monthly projects is a birdhouse/birdfeeder, which if you think about it is a perfect December project. (Full-on winter in about a month and little birdies would be thankful for a fresh new space!)

Most people think of a birdhouse being a “handbuild” style project, but you will find a link to both wheel-thrown and handbuilt instruction videos.


Keeping today’s blog post short so you can get to it! 

Next blog I’ll have a special announcement to make, and hope you will be here with me for that!

Enjoy this project and be sure to take a quick second and follow the Hobby Potter journey on Instagram and Facebook 

Wishing you Love, Joy, Peace, Safety and Health ….now get to that clay! 

Tammy Jo

Making A Glazing Box For In-Home Use

I should have done it years ago! Since glazing has always been designated to my barn/garage/studio…and I’m a “messy potter”, it never occurred to me that on bad weather days I could be indoors enjoying my clay journey! 

What are my concerns about glazing in my living space? 

Before I share all that I put in my kit, I had to be sure the space I was working in would not harm my family or animals. Let’s face it …glazes are NOT paints, they are chemicals that are harmful if ingested or inhaled (fumes from lusters, and dust from dried glaze.) So that means METICULOUS area protection and cleaning up after the fact. 

So, What’s Inside! 

So not that was all figured out … here’s what I grabbed for in-home glazing time.

Since I choose to facilitate the most sit-down, time-intensive activities to the coziness of my home, it’s all about designing and underglaze! (I left all the dipping glazes and glazes for mass glazing out in the studio). 

Tammy Jo’s Glaze Box Checklist

  • The Container: 6QT Plastic Container (Home Depot $1.78)
  • Colors of the Rainbow Underglaze: 2 oz Bottles
     Red, Orange, Green, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Black & White. I save empty 2oz underglaze bottles in case I need to mix colors and store them.
  •  Filled Fine Tip Bottles -Pens – Tips
    The fine tip pens (for over and underglazes) are one of the best Amazon buys I’ve ever made. The cap has a needle included so the tip is cleaned every time you close it! The squeeze bottles are great because they come in a variety of tips sizes. An added perk is that these tips are also interchangeable with the pens.
  • Chalks & Choxils & Underglaze Pencil 
    I admit … in my love to underglaze I usually forget I have these wonderful tools, so in the box, they went!
  • Plastic Cups from Apple Sauce Containers 
    Kids eat applesauce, I have leftover containers! These are the perfect size for mixing glazes on the go.
  • Black Underglaze Wash (in a feta cheese container)
    Pre-mixed wash saves me from myself and the mess I could possibly make mixing it on the fly. 

  • Small Wooden Skewers | Palette Knife | Variety of Brushes |Sponge
    These tools have great versatility applying, removing, mixing, scratching through for design, and adding freeform designs… I love them!

Depending on my project, I may eventually add a small bottle of clear glaze so I can finish the process instead of waiting to dip everything out in the studio. 

Now, this is just what I put in my mobile Glazing Box, think about your glazing process and what tools can you compact down so you can enjoy clay in your own home! 

Getting Creative With Platters & Stamps

Hopefully, you have been inspired to take advantage of all the possible projects you can do for the coming holidays!

This month we will be exploring platters, trays, and adding stamps for either texture or for applying underglaze designs.  

Download PDF Project Details

We are getting close to the FINAL PROJECT! It’s been a great year providing these springboard project ideas and watching the beautiful unique results. 

I will keep you posted on what next year has instore! 

Thank you all for joining me and hope these projects have been helpful to your clay journey 😀 

Love & Blessings, 

Tammy Jo

Making Bowls & Layering Glazes

 Here we are only 3 more projects away from finishing out 2021! Random selection brought about the most basic of clay forms and techniques… a bowl with layered glazes.  As I always say, it may sound simple, but I can only see  ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES! 

CUP-O-RAMA fundraiser!
If you haven’t it’s never to late to Make a Cup, Sell a Cup and Donate the proceeds to your favorite charity!

Truth be told, the fact that the possibilities and variations of these projects are endless, it what keeps me excited about my clay journey…even after 10 years. 

DIRECTIONSDownload PDF  Instructions 

  1. CHOOSE 
  2. WATCH the video links Instruction & Techniques
  3. MAKE & SHARE your journey somewhere online
    ** If you post to Instagram use the hashtag  #hobbypotterproject and tag me @hobbypotter so we can find and encourage each other!

Love & Blessings as you enjoy your journey!!    ~ Tammy Jo