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Ceramics designer-maker

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need a HND or degree in a relevant subject like 3D design, ceramics or ceramic design.

It may also be helpful if you:

  • do a pottery course at college to develop your skills
  • have paid or unpaid work experience
  • approach companies whose products match your style
  • enter competitions, exhibitions or shows
  • have a portfolio, blog, website or Instagram account

Studio Pottery and Crafts Council have more information on becoming a ceramics designer.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • creativity
  • the ability to communicate ideas through sketches or computer images
  • the ability to research and assess relevant design information
  • effective communication and negotiating skills

3. What you'll do

In large companies, you'll usually:

  • create designs for mass production
  • interpret customer requirements ('briefs')
  • work closely with clients and other production staff
  • design items using materials including bone china, hard porcelain, earthenware and stoneware
  • manage the production process and check quality

As a self-employed designer-maker, you may:

  • design and produce one-off designs
  • create items by hand using a mould or a potter's wheel
  • use hand tools to prepare the clay
  • apply chemical glazes and clay 'slips' to pots to add colour and texture
  • prepare your pots for firing in a kiln

You'll sell directly from your own studio, gallery or shop, at craft fairs or exhibitions, or through other shops or galleries.

You could also market your business online through blogs, websites and social media.

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

Freelance designers set their own fees for commissions.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

If you work for a company, you’ll usually work around 40 hours a week. You may need to work extra hours to meet deadlines.

If you're self-employed or freelance, your hours will vary according to the amount of work you have. You may need to supplement your income with another job.

You'll usually work in a studio or workshop, but may travel to visit overseas manufacturers.

You may also make research visits to trade shows or to places linked to a design theme.

6. Career path and progression

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

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Last updated: 11 September 2018