Job Description:

Ceramicists design and create products made from clay.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

In large companies, you’ll usually:

  • create designs for mass production
  • interpret customer requirements (‘briefs’)
  • work closely with clients and other production staff
  • design items using materials including bone china, hard porcelain, earthenware and stoneware
  • manage the production process and check quality

As a self-employed designer-maker, you may:

  • design and produce one-off designs
  • create items by hand using a mould or a potter’s wheel
  • use hand tools to prepare the clay
  • apply chemical glazes and clay ‘slips’ to pots to add colour and texture
  • prepare your pots for firing in a kiln

You’ll sell directly from your own studio, gallery or shop, at craft fairs or exhibitions, or through other shops or galleries.

You could also market your business online through blogs, websites and social media.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work on your own
  • ambition and a desire to succeed (drive)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Ceramicist, specific qualifications are not mandatory, but a good general education and certain subjects and skills can be beneficial in preparing for a career in ceramics and pottery. Ceramicists are artists who create pottery and ceramic art through various techniques such as hand-building, wheel-throwing, and glazing. Here are some relevant subjects that can be helpful:

  1. Art and Design: courses in art and design can provide you with a strong foundation in artistic skills, creativity, and an understanding of various art forms. This is particularly important for a career in ceramics.
  2. Design and Technology (Optional): Courses in design and technology can introduce you to materials, techniques, and tools used in ceramic art, which can be valuable in ceramics production.
  3. Mathematics (Optional): While not directly related to ceramics, basic math skills are useful for measuring and calculating aspects of pottery, such as proportions and dimensions.
  4. Science (Optional): A basic understanding of scientific principles can be helpful in understanding ceramic materials and their properties.

Post School

You’ll usually need a Higher National Diploma (HND) or degree in a relevant subject like 3D design, ceramics or ceramic design.

It may also be helpful if you:

  • do a pottery course at college to develop your skills
  • have paid or unpaid work experience
  • approach companies whose products match your style
  • enter competitions, exhibitions or shows
  • have a portfolio, blog, website or Instagram account

Working Hours and Environment:

If you work for a company, you’ll usually work around 40 hours a week. You may need to work extra hours to meet deadlines.

If you’re self-employed or freelance, your hours will vary according to the amount of work you have. You may need to supplement your income with another job.

You’ll usually work in a studio or workshop, but may travel to visit overseas manufacturers.

You may also make research visits to trade shows or to places linked to a design theme.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become a senior designer, or you could go freelance or set up your own business.