For those who have successfully turned their first clay pot, decorating it can come with a host of difficult decisions. They might have had a vague idea of what they wanted it to look like when it was finished, but they must now apply color and finish to get what they want. There is a rainbow of choices for colors to create a masterful look, and the finishing glazes available today have many different ways to enhance the final product.
Many of those creating their first piece will have a pattern in mind, so they might choose to make a stamp to coat with color. This is an easy way for them to get the look they want without having to develop the immediate skill of painting. Some people will choose a freeform rather than a pattern, so they can select the brush they want to add dabs or lines of color on their piece before firing it again.
Some glazes are applied once the decorative layer has been added, and then the piece goes into the kiln for its final firing. Others choose to have their firings done separately so they can see if the color glaze they have chosen is what they really want. They might also wish to add several layers of glaze for a deeper look to their piece. This would require them to decorate it, add a glaze and then fire it. Once the first firing is done, they can repeat the process to get the coating thickness they require.
A finished pottery piece looks nothing like the lump of clay it began as, and the person who makes it through all the stages with an intact piece should be proud of their work. It does take time to master this ancient craft, but it can be well worth the effort once they see the beauty their hands and mind have created.