Tips and Tricks: Spouts

By Vanessa Norris

Artist website

How do you make a spout that both looks good and pours well? Disclaimer: I have by no means landed on a perfect answer but instead compiled a list of tricks/helpful hints gathered from established potters, trial and error, and the internet. Good luck!

When throwing or handbuilding your piece, you need to consider how the water will flow from the form. If you’re making a shape with a large belly, will it pour well? Where could water possibly get stuck? How big do you want the form to be? Once you have your desired shape, you should also think about where you want to attach the spout. It helps to start with a template. When I’m working on a form, especially for the first time, I like to make extra pieces to experiment with--pieces that will likely end up in the reclaim bin. It allows me to take risks I might not normally take.

All in all, it is a combination of factors that contribute to a good-looking, functional spout. Take risks and remove yourself from the round! Don’t forget to share your favorite tips and tricks with us in the comments below!


  • A groove in the middle of the spout (which travels down into the form a bit) often helps direct the flow of water.

  • An edge on the inside lip of the spout gives the water a stopping point when tipped back to the standing position.

  • Sometimes using a matte or semi-matte liner glaze reduces drip problems because water droplets cling better to a non-glossy surface.

  • The spout can’t rise too far above the form unless it starts further back along the rim (more toward the handle). If it is too high, liquid will spill from the edges before it even reaches the spout.

Vanessa Norris

Deborah Schwartzkopf

Rat City Studios is the workspace of Deborah Schwartzkopf, Seattle based studio potter and instructor. Her mission is to engage and build community through clay – one person, one neighborhood, and one experience at a time. In service to this pursuit, she offers studio assistant positions for emerging artists, connects people through social events, instructs classes and workshops, and maintains a lively career in the ceramic arts!