It looks easy, but throwing clay on a pottery wheel takes a great deal of manual strength, dexterity and talent. Pieces do not magically form, and it takes a great deal of practice to become skilled. Few people have the time to learn how to throw clay successfully, so many of them settle for painting and decorating it in hobby shops. It may seem like skipping a step, but many of the decorations and glazes are works of art in their own right.
Painting and glazing pottery has long been considered a form of art, and creating the original shape is not necessary. There are many artists who work with clay, but they do not always have the time or inclination to embellish or finish every piece they create. Some of them are more interested in creating the form, and they are happy to leave the rest of it up to another person. This is a collaboration that needs no partnership, and hobby shops often function as middlemen in this scenario.
There are thousands of different colored glazes available in the modern world, and it takes a great deal of time to learn about all of them. Most hobbyists do not have that much time to devote, but they do generally have a preferred range of glazes. They learn how the kiln firing will affect the pieces they are decorating, and they learn how to choose appropriate glazes to create the look and feel they want in their finished pieces.
It takes a good eye and a steady hand to craft a beautiful piece of pottery, and many hobbyists have achieved their skills through learning and practice. While some people consider this nothing more than a relaxing hobby, others are serious about creating beautifully hand-crafted pieces that will become gifts cherished by their loved ones.