Ceramics designer or maker

ceramicist potter
Produce Create

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would design and produce practical goods like cups, plates, bowls and other items made of clay for people to use.

You’d come up with ideas for kitchenware, tableware, tiles and decorative items which people will find attractive as well as useful.

You would need to be able to explain ideas through sketches or computer images. You will also need to have good communication skills.

If you work for a large company you might work with clients who will commission your company to produce goods for them. You’d use materials including bone china, hard porcelain, earthenware and stoneware.

You would interpret the product requirements, called 'briefs', and create designs that the company can mass produce. You might also oversee the production, although increasingly this now happens abroad.

As a self-employed designer-maker you would design one-off items or create just a few copies of each design. You might make the items yourself by hand or using a mould or potter's wheel. You’d also decorate them yourself with paint and glazes and fire them in a kiln.

You’d sell your creations:

  • From your own studio, gallery or shop
  • At craft fairs or exhibitions
  • Through other shops or galleries

You’d need to make sure that your products are likely to appeal to the public. You’d keep up to date with trends by carrying out research and attending trade fairs and exhibitions.

Working conditions

Hours

As a ceramics designer employed by a company, you will usually work around 40 hours a week, you may need to do extra hours to meet deadlines. If you are a self-employed or freelance designer/maker, your hours will vary according to the amount of work you have.

Environment

You will usually work in a studio or workshop.

Travel

You may have opportunities to travel to visit manufacturers (often overseas), or make research visits to trade shows or to particular places linked to a design theme.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Persuading people
  • Using computers
  • Designing
  • Being creative
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most people have a qualification in art and design, specialising in ceramic art or 3D craft design.

To enter a 3D design Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) requires National 4/5 qualifications and two Highers.

To enter a degree (SCFQ level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers at BBC. Most courses ask for a portfolio of your work.

There are currently no specific ceramics degree courses in Scotland; entry to other UK courses will usually require Highers, Advanced Highers or a relevant HNC/HND and a portfolio.

Gray's School of Art at Robert Gordon University offers a degree course in Three Dimensional Design. Entry requirements are three Highers at BBC including English and Art and Design.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration
  • ICT
  • Finance
  • Business
  • Languages
  • Social studies
  • Religious and moral education

You will also need

You normally need good eyesight and normal colour vision.