Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:41 PM
When I asked my first instructor about getting a wheel for home use, she advised me that the first piece of equipment to buy was a kiln . . . which would allow me to fire either hand-built or wheel-thrown wares. Unless you plan to use the community studio for firing, think about a kiln. As for clay, I'd suggest using commercial clay, especially if you've not made your own clay before and don't have the equipment for mixing/pugging clay made from scratch. Making your own is neat; but it takes time and testing. Might make more sense to use commercial until you are ready for that type of jump and commitment. Home-made glazes are cheaper than commercial, but you will need to invest up front in glaze making gear. I mostly use home-made glazes. Start with a book or two on glaze making -- a much recommended book is Mastering Cone 6 Glazes by John Hesselberth and Ron Roy (available in b/w version, ebook on ipad) -- great basic info on glazes and a great set of recipes to mix. Start with a couple basic recipes rather than overcommit yourself to ones that don't get used. I'd also suggest a good pottery reference book . . . Hamer/Hamer's The Potter's Dictionary of Materials and Techniques (expensive) or Harry Fraser's Ceramic Faults and their remedies (more affordable).
You might get more suggestions if we knew what type of wares you want to make, firing range (low fire, Cone 6, Cone 10), reduction or oxidation atmosphere, etc. and a bit about your skill level. Are you looking for tools? equipment? books? etc.