When I work in the clay studio or at home, I wear an apron my Mom and Dad gave me. It’s made of heavy cotton twill and was meant to be used in the kitchen. It’s become my clay apron because it’s quite long. It wouldn’t afford proper coverage for wheel throwing, though. At the Open Studio, recently, Sylvia was wondering aloud about wheel throwers’ aprons and whether there was a pattern for one. I tried to find a pattern, but no soap. You could use McCall’s Pattern M5366 and alter it by splitting the lower part. They’re easy to do; I’ve made several aprons, for myself and others. (I especially liked the one I made out of pillow ticking, when I was a teenager.) When I begin throwing again, I would surely like one. I noticed that Joan uses a towel that she drapes over her legs. Anyone who has done any throwing knows that you will be walking away from it with spatters of slip and splashes of water all over your pants if you don’t wear an apron. I decided to investigate and have found a number of sites that sell reasonably priced ones. They are sturdy affairs and might take a few washings to soften the fabric. These aprons would all get pretty grotty with use and you wouldn’t be able to throw them directly into a washing machine without soaking them in a bucket. Clay gums up plumbing pipes unless you have a clay trap.
StartswithClay: Story Update: Just heard about this apron yesterday and they are indeed terrific! Sold through this Etsy shop by potter Christina Blocksom, who designs and makes them. She says the one-size split-legged apron fits sizes 2-2x and custom changes can be made. Her aprons are made of “100% cotton interior decorating canvas,” are one-of-a-kind, and go for $40.00. Instead of a neck strap, they have two adjustable straps. A pocket holds trimming tools. Your name can be sewn on the apron for an extra $5.00. I think this is the only apron you’d ever need and they come in different colors and patterns
Dick Blick: Their Robert Ware line apron is sold for $20 US. Made of lightweight denim, it measures 29″ × 45″, has ties, a 9″ × 7″ chest pocket, and a neck strap. The description says the apron has extra-long leg splits. Because you can’t see it on a model, it’s difficult to know just how long it is and, of course, it all depends on your height.
The next model is the Claypron, originated by Echo Ceramics. You can buy it for $25 from them or for $27 at Seattle Pottery Supply. It also made of denim, is 48″ long and one-size-fits-all. The description on the Echo site says it is “made of top quality mid weight cotton, has two neck straps and a secure side pocket.” They say Martha Stewart wore the Claypron on her February 23, 2009 “Pot Show.” This apron is 3″ longer than the one at Dick Blick’s.
The Potters Council Online Store carries aprons, too. They don’t have split legs, but say they are made of high quality cotton twill. They have a waist level drawstring and two big pockets. They made sure 31″ long x 29″ wide. The big draw here is the catchy jingles printed on the upper part of the apron: “Live, Love, Sculpt,” “Throw Pots Not Kisses,” “Wanted, Mudslingers,” “Warning, I Throw Things.” They go for $26.
Sax art supplies sells a potter’s apron that looks very old-fashioned. It’s actually a tabard, having front and back that join at the shoulders. It is 36″ long, made of heavy-duty denim and sells for $13.75. Another feature is deep, divided pockets. They also carry a split leg throwers’ apron in the same fabric with a 42″ length for $11.55.
Note: The man pictured below is working at Van Briggle’s, which is still in existence today. Click here to go to its site.
A man in a bowler hat, vest, bow tie and apron presses the brake of a potter’s wheel with his foot, Van Briggle’s Art Pottery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, 1902. The belt-driven flywheel spins and the clay in his hands is still. Mugs and vases line interior shelves behind him; an armature is by the window. By H. S. Poley via Wikimedia Commons