Handmade Clay Tools

One of the things I love about working with clay is how hands on it is.  While the whole process is time intensive, and does require a lot of equipment, like a potter’s wheel, and a kiln, the actual process of forming the clay is immediate and tactile.  It’s about pushing and prodding mud with your hands until it turns into what you want it to be.  Even the tools I do use for this part of the process are simple and straightforward.

My absolute favorite tools that I have are these below that my grandfather made me when I was in college.  He made them out of scraps of black walnut wood that he had left over from something else he had been making, and they are simple and beautiful. I use them most often when I’m throwing, holding their edges along a pot to form a straight side, or cut in an angle. I don’t often wash the clay off of them to be able to see the pretty grain of the wood, but I love knowing that it’s there.  My grandfather passed away in 2012, so they are particularly meaningful to me now, and remind me that we shared a love of making things, him out of wood, and me out of clay.