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Production Potter  What They Do

Just the Facts


Operates production machines such as pug mill, jigger machine, or potter's wheel to process clay in manufacture of ceramic, pottery and stoneware products.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Presses thumbs into centers of revolving clay to form hollows, and presses on the inside and outside of emerging clay cylinders with hands and fingers, gradually raising and shaping clay to desired forms and sizes.
  • Adjusts wheel speeds according to the feel of the clay as pieces enlarge and walls become thinner.
  • Mixes and applies glazes, and loads glazed pieces into kilns for firing.
  • Positions balls of clay in centers of potters' wheels, and starts motors or pump treadles with feet to revolve wheels.
  • Prepares work for sale or exhibition, and maintains relationships with retail, pottery, art, and resource networks that can facilitate sale or exhibition of work.
  • Smoothes surfaces of finished pieces, using rubber scrapers and wet sponges.
  • Raises and shapes clay into wares such as vases and pitchers, on revolving wheels, using hands, fingers, and thumbs.
  • Designs clay forms and molds, and decorations for forms.
  • Moves pieces from wheels so that they can dry.
  • Pulls wires through bases of articles and wheels in order to separate finished pieces.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel
  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Ceramic Artist -- Creates art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials.
  • Etcher -- Etches a design on glass or metal by using a chemical, such as acid, to wear away the surface.
  • Model and Mold Maker -- Forms plaster models from drawings or blueprints, and constructs molds from model to cast brick or tile products.
  • Sculptor -- Creates original drawings and sculptures.