How Long Does Pottery Take?

I often get asked how long it takes to create a piece of pottery from start to finish. This, however, can actually become a fairly complicated question.

You don't want to fire a kiln only half full; it is a waste of energy and leads to uneven heating in the kiln. Because of this, it can take longer than the below averages, depending on how much studio time the potter is able to put in to create enough work to fill the kiln.

Generally speaking, when everything is going as fast as possible in the studio:

  • Wedging, throwing, any wet decorative work --- one day
  • Drying to soft/medium leather-hard for trimming, smoothing and signing (trimming included) --- one to three days
  • Drying to Bone Dry --- count on one to two weeks (depending on how humid or dry the weather is)
  • Stacking the kiln, pre-heat, bisque firing, cool down, unloading --- three to four days
  • Glazing (functional ware) --- two to three days
  • Stacking the kiln, glaze firing, cool down, unloading --- two to three days

So as you can see, it can easily take three and a half weeks minimum for a lump of clay to go to finished pot. This is especially something to consider when doing holiday or special occasion pottery.