Acquiring tools will not make better pots – practicing with them will.

Every potter has a set of core tools – tools that she uses consistently in her tool kit.  But, there are also some tools that are too large to fit in most portable kits.  These are the studio tools.  Even when I didn’t have my own studio, I owned several studio tools because the art centers didn’t supply them.

Tile Bat

Tile Bat System – This is a great and affordable alternative to plastic and plaster bats.  I ordered it from Pottery Supply House; it comes with one tile so I purchased an additional box of tiles.  I sealed the tile bat (well I had my generous father seal the tile bat) with polyurethane.  I used a sharpie to mark the one corner of the bat and the corner of each tile (I used my initials since I often use the tiles in other studios); this allows me to re-align the tiles in the same orientation.  It takes a while to season the tiles and throwing with a lot of water can cause the pots to slip on the tile.  But, the tiles take up less shelf space; and, if I don’t want to undercut a pot, it will pop off the tile as it dries.  Since majority of the pots that I throw have base-diameters that are less than 6″, the tile bat is ideal.

Test Sieve – This is an indespensible tool for every potter because it is perfect for sieving a pint of glaze.  It is portable and worth carrying for glazing sessions.  I also have a set of 14″ sieve basins that I bought from PSH that are very affordable and have held up well.  But, I feel like I waste a lot of glaze if I sieve a pint because there is so much residual glaze left in the large surface area of the basin.

Dremmel tool – I stole Jeff’s dremmel (he wasn’t using it and now it is being used for a higher calling).  This is great for smoothing bottoms and edges of bisqueware or glaze-ware.  It is also handy for buffing out nicks in ribs.

Banding Wheel

Turn Table – I didn’t purchase a banding wheel until I found a heavy duty one at an affordable price.  And, when I did, I bought 2.  Some of the less expensive banding wheels are light weight aluminum and don’t turn easily.  This particular banding wheel is as good as the more expensive Shimpo banding wheels.  Banding wheels are very helpful when decorating a pot or attaching appendages (like spouts and handles).  I purchased mine from Daven’s Cermaic Center in Atlanta; I haven’t seen it at a lower price elsewhere but their on-line catalog is cumbersome.

Giffin Grip

Giffin Grip – The most controversial tool in a potter’s kit.  Apparently, this tool inspires vigorous philosophical debate.  But, as I love multiples, I find it to be a valuable tool for saving time.  It has limitations and is not the answer for every pot; but what it does, it does well.  And, although it is pricey, I believe it to be worth the cost.