Want to Learn More About Pottery to Grow Your Skills & Knowledge?

Enter your email below to get our FREE beginner friendly tips.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Potters Passion. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How to Find a Pottery Firing & Ceramics Service Near Me

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

by Jen Weisner  • Updated: September 1st, 2022  •  9 min read    Pottery Guides

Making pottery is a great hobby, and doing it from home can be even more fun because you get to have more creative freedom in your own space. If you have ever wondered if this is possible without having to purchase a kiln and all of the other necessities to go with it, you have probably done a search similar to “ceramics near me.”

The results might not be very clear, as there are many places where you can paint pottery and fire it, but the pieces are already pre-made.

Creating your own pieces is a slightly more advanced and exciting part of working with ceramics. It is definitely worth trying if you are serious about making your own pottery or even selling it.

This is where pottery firing services come in handy. They can allow you to make your own pieces, paint them to your liking, and then help you finalize them by firing them for you.

These services and other options provided are great, especially if you are just starting out with ceramics or are unsure if you want to pursue making your own pottery as a hobby or business.

They allow you to try it out before you make a big investment by purchasing your own kiln and other equipment necessary to have a studio at home. You might find that this is what you want to do in the future, and this is simply the first step before making that decision.

image of a ceramics near me service
Getty Images

What is a Pottery Firing Service?

Pottery firing services are establishments that allow you to bring in pottery that you have created with the ability to have professionals fire them in the kiln for you.

This is often one of the more difficult parts of creating pottery, so knowing you have the extra help if necessary will give you more motivation to create your own. In addition, these services allow you to drop off your pottery and request which type of firing you would like them to complete.

How Can I Find a Pottery Service Near Me?

You can search the internet to find one in your local area. There should be options, even at places that offer classes on pottery-making in general or local colleges. You should be able to locate something that works well for you as you begin your pottery-making journey. The following are some ideas that will assist you in locating a pottery firing service in your area.

1. Your Local Ceramics Shop is the Best Place to Start

There is a possibility that a local ceramics or pottery store in your area will provide firing services for pottery. On the other hand, this occurrence is happening less frequently due to retailers’ increasing emphasis on selling products rather than services. However, if they do not provide a ceramic firing service, they may be familiar with a nearby individual who does.

2. Check Out Your Local Artists Studio 

Some local studios will only provide access to their kiln to local potters who rent space in the studio. On the other hand, they will occasionally charge other local potters a fee to use their kiln. 

3. Contact Local & Colleges

Ask them if there is a ceramic firing service in the area they know of or if they have one themselves. It’s possible that a local school or college would be interested in using their kiln to generate a little bit of extra cash for the institution.

Getty Images

4. Connect Through Facebook Pottery Groups 

There are many fantastic pottery groups on Facebook. You can also search on social media to determine whether or not a pottery organization is local to your town or city. It is likely that local potters can provide assistance if you reach out through social media.

5. Join a Local Pottery Association

There is likely to be a regional pottery organization close to you, no matter where you are located. This association’s mission is to help local potters while also promoting and creating awareness of pottery in that area through the use of events and markets. In addition, joining will enable you to network with other area potters, some of whom may have access to a kiln that may be rented out or shared.

6. Invest in a Kiln Collectively

Kilns are expensive to purchase and take up a lot of room. Consider forming a partnership with other potters to split the costs involved. You would then be able to take turns using the kiln. After then, both the risk and the expense are significantly reduced. Even better, you may easily find a used kiln for sale on online marketplaces like Craigslist or eBay.

Kiln Rental Options

If you prefer a hands-on experience, kiln rental options are also available. You should be able to perform the same search online or call your local pottery shops for advice. With a kiln rental, you can rent a kiln for an hourly rate and perform the firing process yourself.

Most of the time, there are supervised options if you are still learning how to do this. If you are not quite a beginner, you might also be able to rent a kiln and do your own thing while still not committing to purchasing your own kiln for your home studio. Either way, the kiln rental option is very beneficial as you learn more about the art of making pottery.

There is a great resource called Kiln Share if you are having trouble locating a pottery shop in your local area. This website allows you to search for exactly what you are looking for in the general area you live in.

There are even options to connect with local artists who happen to rent out their personal kilns. This is great if you live in an area that does not have many pottery shops or other artistic establishments.

No matter where you are, there should always be an option for you to be able to fire your own pottery and marvel at your unique creations.

What to Expect From a Pottery Firing Service

There are a few different ways you can fire your pottery to give it the perfect look or finish you desire. This is what makes working with ceramics so interesting. Not only are you shaping the clay to make a unique piece and painting it to fit a certain style, but you can also change its appearance by deciding on which type of firing process you select. The following are among the most commonly offered firing services  when making pottery.

Bisque Firing

This type of firing is commonly used when a piece is first going through a high-temperature kiln. When you use a bisque firing process, this almost turns the pottery into something similar to glass in the sense of its fragility.

This is typically done first because it gives the clay a smoother surface and allows for the glaze to have something to adhere to when you fire up the kiln again. If you are not going for a very polished look, you might stop at this point because this is still a great way to create unique pottery but might not be as useful.

For example, you likely would not only use a bisque firing to create plates and cups because this will not make very durable products. However, using this type for decor pieces or more abstract pieces can work out very nicely. Since this is a very fragile state of being, you will need to be extra careful after firing your pottery using the bisque process.

It needs to be incredibly dry before entering the kiln, and then it must be loaded into it with precision and caution. After the kiln is turned on and closed, it slowly heats the piece to a high temperature. This slowness is essential for this method because this is going to extract any additional moisture that has been left behind in the clay.

If the piece is heated too quickly, steam will be created. This can cause cracks or even full-blown breaks. In addition, the clay will eventually burst because of the excess moisture trapped inside and not enough time for it to evaporate in the kiln.

Getty Images

Glazing

The glazing process is known as the second firing step. It is recommended if you want a durable piece of pottery that can withstand long-term use. It is somewhat self-explanatory. A glaze is applied after the bisque firing process is complete, and the piece is put back into the kiln for another bake.

Because there are countless glazes you can use, there are many different benefits when using a glaze firing process. For example, you can change the physical appearance of the pottery by changing it with color or other decorative features. There is also the option of adding waterproofing, which is essential if you plan on making pottery you intend on using for eating or drinking.

To do this, you must apply the glaze after the bisque process is complete. Then, the piece needs time to dry completely. After this, it can be carefully loaded into the kiln and fired up again. It is important that pieces do not touch the inside of the kiln if numerous pottery pieces are being glaze fired.

When it heats up, this can cause the pieces to melt together and ruin one another. If this happens, they will be permanently fused, and the only way to separate them is by breaking them apart and ruining the creations.

This heating process is also a slow one. The main difference between glaze firing and bisque firing is that the former requires a cooling period. Once the pottery has reached maturity, it is slowly cooled. Only once it has cooled completely can the kiln door be opened.

Opening it too soon can ruin the glaze firing process because the outside air can damage the glaze and even cause crazing or micro-cracks in your piece. The glaze firing process is the final step when creating pottery, and it turns the ceramic into something very strong and durable compared to its original fragile state.

Conclusion

You can now enjoy the process even more, knowing that there is much more to search for than just “ceramics near me.” Whether you want to use a pottery firing service to do it for you or take a more hands-on approach by renting a kiln, you can enhance your experience and truly gain more knowledge about pottery as a whole.

Making pottery should be fun and enjoyable, no matter why you are making it. These ceramic creations are long-lasting and unique, showcasing your creativity. Understanding your options in your local area is a great way to motivate you to continue with the art form.

Jen Weisner discovered ceramics during het time at University and has been making pots ever since. Jen has her own pottery studio where she teaches, designs and sells her own projects. Outside of the office and studio, she is a talented painter of landscapes, would-be runner and an enthusiastic cook.
Want to Learn More About Pottery to Grow Your Skills & Knowledge?

Enter your email below to get our FREE beginner friendly tips.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Potters Passion. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Keep Reading