Ceramics designer-maker

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Ceramics designer-makers design and create products made from clay.

Salary range: £16,000 to £30,000

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How to become a ceramics designer-maker

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • workshop courses with a private studio
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University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • visual arts
  • 3D design and craft
  • ceramics
  • fine art

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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College

You could do a Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design at college. You’ll need to check that the course covers ceramics or pottery before you start.

An interest in art and crafts is usually more important than qualifications to join a course.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More information

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Work

You could start as a design studio assistant and specialise in ceramics through workshops and training on the job.

Other routes

You could attend workshops and training courses offered by ceramic artists and design studios. These can help you to develop your skills and make contacts in the industry, which could lead to work.

Courses vary in length and are often open to all abilities.

More information

Career tips

You’ll need to put together a portfolio of work that you can show to potential employers and course providers. You can also develop your own blog and website or use social media to market yourself as a designer and get your work recognised.

Further information

You can find out more about working in ceramics from Creative Choices and the Crafts Council.

You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to work on your own
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In a large company, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • interpreting client requirements (‘briefs’)
  • working closely with clients and production staff
  • creating designs for mass production, using materials like bone china, porcelain, earthenware and stoneware
  • managing the production process and checking quality

As a designer-maker, your tasks may include:

  • designing and producing one-off designs and sets
  • using hand tools to prepare the clay
  • creating items by hand using a mould or a potter’s wheel
  • applying chemical glazes and clay ‘slips’ to pots to add colour and texture
  • preparing pots for firing in a kiln
  • checking quality and removing rejects
  • marketing and admin tasks for running a business

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in a workshop or from home.

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Career path and progression

With experience you could become a senior designer, or you could go freelance or set up your own business.