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Monday, September 7, 2009

Inside the pottery studio

As promised in my last post this time I will show you the inside of my little studio, and, for any would-be potters reading this, explain what you need to set up a potters studio.
The first picture (above) shows the view from the little kiln room, which is seperated from the main room by a lockable door, for safety. In this pic. you can see my wheel, some of the shelving and the large work bench under the window.
The wheel is a Brent which suits me very well and is very reliable and replaced the very large wheel I had previously. The stool in front of it and the small table to it's left, I made from scraps of wood left over from building the studio. (I like to make as many of the things I use as possible; first because it's a good way to recycle reclaimed wood and secondly because if I had bought everything I've made I would be deep in debt! If you are planning a studio space for pottery or art you'll know how much cost is involved if you buy all the things you need through suppliers. For some reason they seem to think artists and craft people are millionaires!).
The table at the back is eight foot by three foot and I made it from 3x2's and some three foot by two foot slabs I found buried in the garden (don't ask me why they were buried, I can only assume the people who owned the house before us were a bit mad!).
On the right at the back above the bench are some book shelves (recycled wood again!) and to the right of the wheel are the first set of shelves for storing the pots (not made by me! But were laying around in the loft for years, so didn't cost me anything! I plan to put up proper shelving when funds allow). Oh, and a small fire to stop me from freezing in the winter.
The chilli hanging from the ceilling to dry is not necessarily important in the running of a studio!
The next pic. shows some more of the shelving and a couple of important things for any pottery. First a large bin to hold all the used clay for recycling; and secondly a black board. You will find you need to keep notes of the pots you've thrown and the weight of the clay used to produce them. Just remember to transfer these notes to paper before you wipe them off!
The other thing I should mention is that the studio is lined with sustainably sourced tongue and groove boards; behind which are two layers of insulation. Important to bear in mind if you plan to build your own studio.
More shelves (above) and the chilli again! You can't have too many shelves...oh, and a clock that you take no notice of (hidden behind the teapot on the top shelf).
The most important thing you need to make ceramics is a kiln. It should be the thing you buy before anything else. You may think that the wheel should come first, but you're wrong. Having a kiln allows you to make pots, sculpture, jewellery, glass and anything else you can think of. Having a wheel just means you can throw pots. But what's the use of throwing pots if you can't fire them?
I was fortunate to buy my kiln second hand from the nice chap who runs the Stonesplitter pottery (see links), which saved me a considerable outlay.
The final pic. today shows the rest of the kiln room. There are two important things here which have to be in any pottery: A sink! and shelving for glazes and glaze chemicals, safely behind a lockable door!
I should mention that by the main door to the studio is a fire extinguisher. health and safety in a studio is very important. If you are planning a studio space, keep it clean! Clay and glazes make a lot of mess. This dries and becomes airborne dust which although, in my case is not toxic, long term exposure will obviously affect your health.
That's it for today. Hope I haven't bored you too much! This week I plan to start posting video on youtube, which I will also include here. So watch out for the next post.

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