Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Top 10 Pottery Making Tips For the Beginner

1. Go to pottery making classes. Everyone has to learn somehow. Although it can be comforting to learn on your own it will be much more fun with others. In addition your skills will improve much quicker!
2. Don't be put off by the terminology! Pottery making uses some strange and quirky terms. It wont be long before you know green ware from biscuit ware.
3. Be prepared to get dirty - you can tell a potter by his hands and shoes! Even with an apron it is impossible to stay clean when making pottery. Your hands and shoes will get dirty! Treat it as part of the fun so dress appropriately.
4. Enjoy the experience - even if it goes wrong! It goes wrong for everyone including the experts so don't be afraid to experiment. Remember that your designs are unique and you have the chance to express your own creativity.
5. Read some simple pottery making books. Lots of pottery books are available so choose books with simple descriptions and pictures to get you started. Books,however, are no substitute for classes but they should reinforce your learning.
6. Ask questions. Asking questions aids memory so you learn quicker. Don't be embarrassed to ask even the most simple of questions. Remember you are probably only saying what many others are thinking!
7. Practise then practise some more!This probably should be my number 1 tip on the list. As with most things in life, the more you practise the more skilled you become and the more enjoyable will be the experience.
8. Develop your own style. Don't be afraid to experiment-its your chance to show your artistic flair.
9. Make some pots & give them away. It makes you feel good and you might even find a soul mate.
10. Share your experience with a loved one. Making pottery can become a real passion so don't forget to share your experiences with your loved one. They might even want to join you at the next pottery class.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Start-Up Tips in Collecting Antique Chinese Pottery

One of the most common hobbies in the world is collecting stuff. It can be from collecting pretty mundane stuff like bottle caps to very expensive antique collections. Both are equally challenging and fulfilling in their own rights. However, in a very expensive hobby like collecting Chinese pottery, the challenge is checking for authenticity. If you are a seller or a buyer, you must have enough knowledge to distinguish fakes from authentic pieces. Some people think that gaining such expertise would take decades to perfect. Well, yes and no. Yes because you need enough experience to fully become a real expert and no because you can always start today and appraise your first piece in a few months. Want to know how?
Basic Tips in Collecting Chinese Pottery
1. Start a library- If you are really decided in devoting yourself to this craft, you don't need to go buy your first piece right away. Start with creating a library all about Chinese pottery. Books about history and other things related to the craft will be essential in your study. Also, they may contain pictures that can help you get an idea of what the real thing looks like so you can easily distinguish it in the future. Having a wealth of knowledge is, needless to say, necessary in order to succeed in collecting Chinese pottery.
2. Know More- As soon as you get in the groove, you will realize that the books in your library will never be enough in terms of information. To supplement this quench for more knowledge, you can visit your local library or museums. If you decide to go to museums, you will not only gain knowledge but also see the actual pieces. Also, you can gather bits of information from online forums dedicated to antique Chinese pottery. Just beware of some information there because it may be false or have no intellectual or factual basis.
3. Learn to identify copies- These days, there are many copies of antique Chinese pottery around the market. They are sometimes created as a perfect copy of the original pieces and only thermoluminescence testing can really judge the authenticity of these pieces. As you learn, you will know of some "valuable copies" that were made to honor a certain style or period.
4. Study Chinese calligraphy- You may think this is rather out of place, but learning Chinese calligraphy is an invaluable skill that will help you in your collection. Because some Chinese pottery has certain Chinese characters written in them, you can easily check for authenticity or even the age and origin of a specific item. It will not be necessary but learning how to write and not just read will be of an advantage to you. With this knowledge, you can easily see faults in the strokes and thus be able to detect fakes easily.
Learn to read visual properties- This is one of the key skills one must have in order to prosper in this craft. When a person knows how to read visual properties like lines, cracks, chips and wear, can easily use these clues in appraising or identifying a certain item. For some, these visual details give life and character to their antiques. Seeing them is not always a bad thing unless it totally destroys the whole thing.