An Insider’s Guide to Practicing Pottery

Wondering how to get started? We asked a local expert.

HANDMADE POTTERY is trending right now, and it can be rewarding to make it with your hands. So we asked Colleen Volland, the owner of Cream City Clay, how to get started. 

1. Consider a Class

To grasp the basics, Volland recommends a beginners series in handmaking or wheel-spinning pottery practices. If you want to give it a quick try before committing, consider a one-off like Cream City Clay’s couples night out. “That gets your hands into it enough, where you can decide, ‘Do I want to take another class?’” 



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2. Aim Low

“Gravity wants to have its way with your clay,” says Volland, so it’s best for beginners to avoid tall items. Start with something short, like a cylinder, which still offers a bit of a challenge. “Then you’re rewarded with the easier thing [such as a bowl] later.” 

3. It’s a Practice

You don’t need an art background to give pottery a try. “I’ve had many people come through my doors who say, ‘I have never done art before’ … and they love pottery.” It takes time, patience and a willingness to make something, throw it out, then make it again. “That’s the funny thing with ceramics – there’s never a guarantee,” Volland says. But that’s also what makes it so rewarding.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s October issue.

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Allison Garcia is the Digital Editor for Milwaukee Magazine.