027 – Sharing Pottery Information

MudTalk Podcast - Pottery, Ceramics, Business
MudTalk Podcast - Pottery, Ceramics, Business
027 - Sharing Pottery Information

Links to Original Discussion

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/potterymakinginfo/photos/a.10151503193013457/10154977725348457

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BalgWSUjVrb/

Share your opinion on… sharing. What should be shared? How much should be shared? Who should it be shared with?


Hello, and welcome back! We are dusting off this old podcast and tossing out a few new episodes for the new year.

Thank you for downloading, listening, subscribing and especially sharing because that is what this episode is all about. More specifically, sharing pottery information. Be sure to listen to the end of this episode to hear why Expert Clay could be a great place for you to share some of your knowledge and experience.

Also, a big thanks to… I think it was Jodie Rae of Mudslinging Pottery who showed up at my Michiana Pottery Tour stop and said “don’t you have a podcast? I really liked it.” This kind of interaction inspires me to keep going. So here is a new episode, #27.

Let me start by saying that the pottery community is one of the most generous, kind, and caring communities in existence. At least from my somewhat limited experience. You can find examples all over the place of potters sharing their techniques, tips, time, advice, recipes, and just about anything else. I hope you have experienced some part of this as well. So as you may expect, most of the responses were in favor of sharing on some level. But is that it? Should we just automatically share everything we discover or create with everyone else… for free?

Let’s hear from other potters and see how they feel about sharing. We’ll start with comments from potters that love to share.


I really appreciate when experienced potters are willing to share their knowledge and wisdom. It enables me to become [a] better potter. And I think sharing would enhance the pottery community overall. I want to thank all the people that have helped me over the years @adjustsailsdirtworks. @kyleguymonpottery


I use commercial glazes and clays, but I am always eager to share knowledge and techniques. Teaching others is where it’s at, definitely.


It’s all been done before …what makes your work unique is YOU. I’m all in for sharing. I wonder sometimes when artists are secretive if they believe it’s the only good idea they’ll ever have. I think we also have a responsibility to take info shared and make it our own-so not to try to only copy but to breathe our own life into the glaze recipe, the form, the concept, etc…but also see great value in trying to copy at times so you can master and incorporate into your own work.


None of us would be here today without the hard work, experimentation and SHARING from those who came before us.

Elizabeth esther401

I am a teacher and am used to sharing. If you share a recipe or technique, it is next to impossible to replicate it 100% since we all tend to put our own spin on things.


Sharing is caring it helps to keep our beloved craft alive and thriving with like minded souls.


Sharing your knowledge helps everyone. There is room enough for everyone to do whatever lights their fire. Even if you share everything you know the next potter will do something completely different. Pottery is love.

Camilla connell

info can be shared. But not the experience which has to be lived.


Taking information and applying it to your own work is a far cry from copying someone else. Sharing is part of how to grow and adapt as potters. Excellent topic.


Share everything. Share always. Sharing is the only way to mak e the world a better place. Nothing that is beautiful is owned by any one person, Including glaze recipes


I share. So much of what we know comes from thousands of years of trial and much error. We stand on the shoulders of all potters who come before us. We are the shoulders of the future.


There is very little in the world of art that hasn’t been shared through the generations. No matter how much one tries to duplicate someone else’s work, each of us have our own imprint making us all unique as is our work


Collaboration makes for great creativity! I am so thankful for all the potters before me who have been willing to problem solve and coach me.


I’m new at this and appreciate when people share and I often ask detailed questions. I’ve been collecting pics from many IG potters and doing my own primer and attempting to do things in the style of other artists to learn. Even if I had exact glaze recipes or perfected someone else’s technique, I’m not interested in copying someone else’s bread and butter bc I’m an artist and I’m still fleshing out my own pottery voice. I don’t want to look like anyone else. But I absolutely love trying to throw, shape, trim, carve or glaze or underglaze like all of you! And I share your work with friends daily for inspiration and encouragement just to broaden our horizons on what’s possible.


I am a beginner to this and I have my own kiln that I inherited. I get most of my info from you tube videos. I appreciate any Sharing of knowledge. I agree that even if you learn a technique or glazing application it will always be different.


Information/tips/advices from the experts here on Insta, youtube and other magazines have helped me a lot. I’ve ventured into ceramics in my midlife, with family and other responsibilities I’m unable to join a school/college to pursue BFA/MFA. So in my situation, any information shared by other experienced potters is very valuable. I learn by reading, practicing and experimenting based on those information. I’m grateful to all the potters who’ve been generous in sharing the process info/advice!!


The warmth and sharing spirit of the ceramics community are things that really drew me in, before I ever got my hands on clay. I stumbled upon YouTube videos of potters sharing their techniques and decided to take a class in college. I’ve been hooked ever since!


Sharing is one of the best things about our community. I hate it that some of us feel threatened by sharing recipes and techniques – nothing is sacred except our love of the medium!


I used to be a pastry Chef so that was also a common question in the kitchen. Sharing recipes is up to you but I think everyone has their own personal twist on how they will use the end result. From my personal experience if you give 2 chefs the same recipe it will never come out exactly the same.


Also reading these comments makes [me] love the ceramic community so much. Such a nice change from typical internet comments ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


I had a potter friend say to not share info was not “potterly”. I agree. Teaching is very much part of who I am.


I’ll just say this…think about where you would be as a potter if no one had shared their knowledge with you.


I have always shared what took me years to learn and perfect to others. This long before Internet. I recently decided to work with porcelain and a potter I met on IG has been so very helpful sharing her firing schedules and glaze recipes. I think it’s the neighborly thing to do. Think of it as ” paying it forward”. 😊❤️❤️


I share freely. No one can truly copy me and pottery is not easy to make so why not! I recently asked a potter on IG what she was mixing into her clay because what I tried had not worked. She responded that she wanted to keep it her little secret. I assume she felt threatened which is just sad for her. I asked a different potter who posts a lot of similar work. He was very “potterly” and shared freely!


It was “The kindness of strangers” that helped get me on my feet when I started working with clay. Kiln, wheel, first set of glaze ingredients and the first basic recipe when I decided I wanted to make a glaze. From there I was able to research, test and do. I will never forget the generosity and so I pay that forward to the next curious soul who might genuinely have an interest. Sharing is good. Spoon feeding is bad.

Queerly clay

I belong to a ceramic co op. I’ve learned a lot from other members. I’m also use to sharing whatever I can to help others in the co op. So, as far as I’m concerned sharing is great!

Cathy H

I was inspired by all the beautiful unique local pottery on a recent trip to Nova Scotia… I would love to try my hand at it and would welcome any advice and information.

Steve H

Share, but to those that take information, please do not attempt to copy work but rather reinterpret.

Leah G

Happy to share recipes, techniques, tools, ideas. I get as much and more than I give.

Verna L

Share away, no one else’s interpretation will be exactly the same anyway

Michelle C

Just took a glaze testing workshop with John Britt. Share! No one will get the same results because of how the kiln fires, what kind of clay they’re using, the source of the elements being used. And he said he can lose 50% of a Firing when he knows what results he wants. Share away!

Anita R

I agree with sharing! There are an infinite number of variables including but not limited to type of clay used, how thick your work is, glaze application, availability of materials and their substitutes, differences in the brand of kilns and how worn their elements are, the pots and the glazes on the pots next to that piece with the borrowed recipe, and common human variations such as what you consider a cream consistency when you prepare the glaze. Like the glaze guru, John Britt said himself….so many variables…..have at it….good luck reproducing the same results! Besides even their shapes are going to be different so the glaze or combinations thereof are going to look different. Don’t be stingy….you ride the coattails of many that have come before you.

As you have heard, a large majority of these responses were in favor of sharing. I don’t know if there have been any official studies done, but the pottery community in general seems like a generous group. There seems to be less competition, more collaboration, more sharing, and more people that are willing to help each other than many other communities. And I am happy to be a part of it. But there were a few comments about situations or certain content that some people may not want to share.


I think info for sure can and should shared. I could have Steven Hills base glaze recipes, but will probably never recreate the same quality, nor is that my intention. My one issue is make sure that an artist is credited. There’s a lot of time, research and development that I would love to see acknowledged


It’l help a lot of new enthusiasts who are excited about new beautiful glazes.

Perhaps sharing an interesting find you had with experimenting with glazes but keep your bread and butter close to you :>


Sharing is amazingly underrated, we have a fear for loosening our grip onto intellectual property, but with pottery is somewhat an illusion to maintain from the get go. We must share and grow together and by sharing we enriched all our lives. However if there is a particular body of work that is a brain child or a long standing thought that you dream about daily in your dreaming they should be kept safe. Share enough to empower others but not too much to be disempowered by the thorns in sheaves of wheat 🌾


I don’t think it’s fair to have to give away glazes I’ve spent hours and hours formulating and reformulating. I do love the generosity and support of sharing in our community though. I like trading glazes because it shows reciprocity


As a newbie potter who has benefited mightily from the kindness of other potters, I think it depends. It’s one thing to say it’s glaze A over glaze B from such and such book, but if someone has spent weeks tweaking and testing a recipe, I can understand why they may want to hold that close for a while. I certainly take no offense. And personally, I prefer being pointed in a direction rather than being told the answer outright, as I usually learn so many other interesting things along the way!

So not everyone is in favor of sharing EVERYTHING. And I think that is okay. If you have something you don’t want to share, that should be your own choice. It reminds me of the time I attended a Chris Gustin workshop a few years ago and he talked about not sharing. Now, obviously, he was doing a workshop so he was definitely sharing techniques and thoughts. But If I remember correctly (it has been a few years so my memories are a little dusty)  he had developed hundreds of his own glazes for a ceramic tile business But he doesn’t share the recipes. The ceramic tile industry is probably a little different than our community of handmade pots but his main reason for not sharing is that giving away recipes would give a shortcut so people don’t get to learn about formulating their own glazes. He wants others to go through the learning process so they will be better potters. Like the old saying about teaching a person to fish instead of giving them a fish.

And if you are a great teacher or have some very valuable content I think it is okay to charge a reasonable fee for your knowledge or services. Some potters supplement their income through teaching or creating content and I think it is always good to support those people when possible not just expect free handouts all the time.

There were a couple responses that stuck out to me personally so I saved them until the end here:


I think that sharing is at the core of what it means to be a potter. The more we share as a community the more we all stand out. Not very many other groups of people are so open and kind to others with information. Plus, there is little reason to keep something a secret. Someone, somewhere is already doing what you are doing, so it isn’t just special to you. No one is going to take the same information and end up with the exact same result, which is what makes clay such a fun medium to play in!

There were some other similar comments to this one and I love them all. I feel like overall, the pottery community is above average when it comes to being generous and helping each other. There are probably multiple reasons for this but I wonder if there is something about clay that draws a certain type of person that is more willing to share?



Exchange is a great thing! Everyone can learn from everyone and everyone has something to contribute👍🏼😊

I love this comment! This sums up what Expert Clay is all about. As of now (2022), I’m the only one making content. And it has been a while since I’ve even done that. As you may have noticed, I took quite a break from the Mud Talk Podcast. Working on my own studio, trying to teach full time while gradually building a foundation for a pottery business, spending time with my family… Not to mention a little pandemic just making things anything but normal. Here and there I’ve rebuilt ExpertClay.com and added some new content. And I will be looking for other contributors that want to share their knowledge, tips, shortcuts, research… whatever you think may help someone else.

Many people have developed unique ways to make pots… or skills outside of working with clay that can really help us as we pursue a creative life. If you have an idea about something you would like to share go to expertclay.com to see how you can contribute content and find an audience to share it with.

It could be written articles, podcasts, video workshops, online courses or almost anything in digital format. I have created a couple courses that are available now and I’m planning some more workshop style video courses for the future.

So go check out expertclay.com. We are just laying the foundation for now but I’m excited about what we could build on it in the future.

That does it for this episode. The next episode will be about our favorite pots. Until then, keep creating, keep sharing, and stay muddy.

Leave a Reply

Shopping Cart