7 Simple Ways to Create Earth-Friendly Pottery and Ceramics
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Use recycled clay
  2. Choose natural glazes
  3. Practice energy-efficient firing
  4. Reduce water use
  5. Create durable pieces
  6. Minimize packaging waste
  7. Consider your studio practices

Have you ever wondered how you could make your pottery and ceramics hobby or business more earth-friendly? You're not alone! With growing awareness about our environment, many of us are looking for ways to create beautiful pieces while also reducing our ecological footprint. And the good news is—it's quite simple! Today, I'm going to share with you seven easy ways to create earth-friendly pottery and ceramics that not only respects Mother Nature but also adds a unique charm to your creations.

Use Recycled Clay

One of the first and easiest steps towards making earth-friendly pottery and ceramics is using recycled clay. If you're new to this concept, let me assure you—it's pretty straightforward! Here's how:

  • Save your scraps: Instead of throwing away those leftover bits of clay, collect them. These pieces can be rehydrated and reused, saving both money and resources.
  • Rehydrate your clay: Soak your clay scraps in water until they're soft, then, use a blender or a mixer to create a smooth clay slurry. It's a bit like making a clay smoothie (but please, don't drink it!).
  • Let it rest: After you've achieved the right consistency, let your clay slurry rest for a few days. This allows the water to evenly distribute throughout the clay.
  • Wedging: The final step in recycling clay is wedging. This process removes air bubbles and creates a uniform consistency, making the clay ready for use.

By recycling clay, you're not only reducing waste but also conserving the energy and resources that go into mining and processing new clay. It's a small but significant step towards creating more earth-friendly pottery and ceramics.

Choose Natural Glazes

Remember those shiny, colorful finishes on your pottery? Those are glazes. While they might add a pretty touch to your ceramics, many commercial glazes contain harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to our environment. But don't worry—you don't have to give up those beautiful finishes! Try using natural glazes instead. Here's why:

  • Eco-friendly: Natural glazes are made from earth-derived materials, such as wood ash, clay, and certain types of rocks. They are free from harmful chemicals, making them a more earth-friendly option for pottery and ceramics.
  • Unique finishes: Natural glazes provide a distinct, earthy finish to your pieces. The colors and textures can be unpredictable, which adds a touch of uniqueness to each piece.
  • Easy to make: You heard it right! With a little research and practice, you can learn to make your own natural glazes. It's an extra step, but certainly worth the effort for the sake of our planet.

By choosing natural glazes, you're not only making your pottery and ceramics more earth-friendly, but you're also adding an authentic, handcrafted feel to your pieces. It's like signing your artwork with a green thumb!

Practice Energy-Efficient Firing

Let's talk about firing—no, not the kind when you lose your job! Firing in ceramics is the process of heating your clay pieces in a kiln to make them hard and durable. But did you know that traditional kilns can consume a lot of energy and release pollutants into the air? Yikes! So, how can we make this process more energy-efficient and earth-friendly? Here are a few ways:

  • Use an electric kiln: Electric kilns are not only more energy-efficient than gas or wood-fired kilns, but they also produce fewer emissions. Plus, they provide better control over temperature and firing time, resulting in fewer failed firings and wasted resources.
  • Insulate your kiln: Make sure your kiln is well-insulated to prevent heat loss. This can help reduce energy consumption and make your firing process more efficient. Insulating fire bricks or ceramic fiber blankets can do the trick.
  • Load it up: Firing a partially-filled kiln is like driving a car with only one passenger—it's a waste of energy! Be sure to load your kiln to its full capacity before firing. But remember, don't overcrowd it and compromise airflow.

By practicing energy-efficient firing, you're not just making your pottery and ceramics more earth-friendly, but you're also saving on energy costs. Now, who said being green is hard on the wallet?

Reduce Water Use

Now, let's turn our attention to another critical resource in pottery and ceramics—water. It's no secret that the pottery process can gulp down gallons of water, from preparing the clay to cleaning your tools. But the good news is, there are simple steps you can take to reduce water use in your ceramics practice. Let's dive in, shall we?

  • Reuse clay scraps: Instead of washing clay scraps down the sink, collect and recycle them. This not only saves water but also reduces clay waste. You simply need to let the scraps dry, crush them into a powder, and rehydrate them when you're ready to use again.
  • Opt for dry cleaning methods: When it comes to cleaning your tools and work area, try using dry methods as much as possible. For instance, you can wipe down tools and surfaces with a dry cloth or sponge before using any water.
  • Collect and reuse water: Set up a system to collect water that's been used for rinsing tools or hands. This gray water can be reused for tasks like wetting your clay or cleaning up after a pottery session.

Remember, every drop counts! By reducing water use in your pottery and ceramics practice, you're not just creating earth-friendly pottery and ceramics, but you're also contributing to water conservation. And that's a win-win for you and the planet!

Create Durable Pieces

Let's face it, pottery and ceramics can be fragile. You put your heart and soul into every piece you create, so it can be disheartening when your work chips or cracks prematurely. But did you know that creating more durable pieces is not only good for your art but also for the planet? Let me explain.

  • Quality over quantity: When you focus on creating quality, durable pieces, you reduce waste. It means less broken pottery ending up in landfills and more long-lasting, cherished items in people's homes. So take your time, perfect your techniques, and let each piece be a testament to your skill and patience.
  • Choose the right clay: Different types of clay have different durability levels. Stoneware and porcelain, for instance, are known for their strength and durability. So, consider what type of clay is best suited for your project. Remember, the goal is to create earth-friendly pottery and ceramics that can stand the test of time.
  • Proper firing is key: Underfiring or overfiring can weaken your ceramics, making them more prone to damage. Always ensure you're firing at the correct temperature and for the right duration. This will help your pieces reach their maximum strength and durability.

By creating durable pieces, you're not only enhancing the lifespan of your pottery and ceramics, but you're also playing a part in reducing waste. Now, isn't that a beautiful way to contribute to earth-friendly pottery and ceramics?

Minimize Packaging Waste

As someone who crafts beautiful pottery and ceramics, you know all about the thrill of wrapping your creations for delivery. But let's pause for a moment and think about all that packaging. Sure, it protects your art, but it also contributes to waste. So, how can you, as an artist, minimize packaging waste?

  • Reuse, recycle: Before you rush to buy new packaging materials, consider what you already have. Old newspapers, used bubble wrap, even discarded cardboard boxes can serve as excellent packaging materials. By reusing materials, you're already on your way to create more earth-friendly pottery and ceramics.
  • Opt for recyclable materials: If you must buy new packaging materials, go for those that are recyclable. Kraft paper, corrugated cardboard, and biodegradable bubble wrap are all excellent choices. Not only do they protect your work, but they also give your customers the chance to continue the cycle of recycling.
  • Minimalist packaging: Excessive packaging not only costs more but also leads to more waste. Adopt a minimalist approach. Use just enough material to protect your pottery and ceramics adequately. You'll be surprised how much waste you can reduce by simply cutting down on unnecessary packaging.

Remember, every little effort counts when it comes to minimizing waste. And by reducing packaging waste, you're making your pottery and ceramics more earth-friendly. Now, doesn't that feel good?

Consider Your Studio Practices

Creating earth-friendly pottery and ceramics is not just about the final product. It's also about how you create it. So, take a moment to reflect on your studio practices. Are they as green as they could be?

  • Use energy-efficient lighting: From detailing your designs to showcasing your finished products, good lighting is key in a pottery studio. Opt for energy-efficient alternatives like LED lights. They consume less energy and last longer than traditional bulbs, making your studio a little greener.
  • Organize your work schedule: Do you run your kiln at half-capacity or leave your wheel running when it's not in use? Organizing your work schedule can help minimize energy use. Plan your firings to ensure the kiln is full each time, and switch off equipment when not in use.
  • Recycle waste clay: It's easy to discard those little bits of clay left over from your pottery sessions. But remember, clay is a natural resource. Instead of throwing it out, recycle it. You can easily rehydrate dried clay with a little water and use it again.

Taking a closer look at your studio practices can reveal surprising opportunities to make your pottery and ceramics more earth-friendly. And the best part? These changes not only benefit the environment but can also save you money in the long run. So, why wait? Start making these changes today!

If you're passionate about creating earth-friendly pottery and ceramics, don't miss out on Meghan Yarnell's workshop, 'Pottery Basics: Everything You Need To Know.' In this workshop, you'll learn valuable tips and techniques that are not only environmentally friendly but will also help you perfect your pottery skills. So, why wait? Join the workshop now and start creating sustainable pottery!