As a ceramic artist and potter my most important workplace is my studio. Without that, I will have very limited opportunity to work.
Anyone that would like to become a potter will be faced with the task to put up a clay studio or will have to rely on community studios to be able to create their pottery.
I had to restart and plan a studio several times in my life, of which the last one was a revamp of my old studio in Saltillo Mississippi where I started out in 2002 after we emigrated from South Africa to the United States. A potter’s studio is never perfect but is like a kitchen; always a work in progress.
In this blog series beginner potters may find some tips to help them set up a studio.
Earning money by selling pottery and art services
The very first thing any aspirant artist or craftsman have to consider is whether they want to earn money or if they just want to create work as a hobby. Pottery can very quickly accumulate to the point where even a hobby potter will have to reconsider the purpose of their creations.
I had to make several considerations of whether I want the public to visit my studio and buy pottery from my showroom or if I only want them to buy online.
Other options I had to consider is whether I want to do workshops, exhibit my work in galleries and high end shows so that art collectors can discover me there.
The Location of a pottery studio
Creativity starts with planning the studio
Yes, I can lose track of my surroundings and get so clumsy that if I do not have order around me, I will land in trouble! It so happened that I landed a few times on my rear, as I fell over a bucket or bag of clay in a misplaced spot. I have misjudged the placement of my stool many times. I would walk backward, with the intent to sit down while smearing the last slip away where I joint or altered a pot and end up sitting on the floor!
A few times I kicked against something and the object would either fly across the floor, or like this one time when I kicked against a full and open bucket of glaze, I ended up cleaning the whole floor! Have you ever dumped a bucket of glaze on a studio floor? It is no fun to clean.
Fortunately I did not get hurt, not yet! I always landed on the soft anti- fatigue carpets that cover most of my studio floor; one of the best investments I have ever made.
So how do we prevent accidents like these ones I just described above? How do we make sure that we do not waste time and energy, when we have dishes or mugs or fine translucent collectors’ items to make? How should we plan so that it is easy to move around, especially if we have limited space? How do we use our space effectively if we do have the luxury of a large building? Whether we have a large or small studio, it is crucial that we organize our studios or work spaces in the most effective way possible.
I like to use the concept of a work triangle, similar to kitchen design. The distance between certain areas in a studio should be designed to help keep the traffic in the workspace to a minimum. Other than a kitchen, a studio may have more areas to consider than a sink, refrigerator and stove.
It is a good idea to make a list to pinpoint the needs of the potter. When a small space is available certain work areas may have to be set up for dual purposes, while if the space is large there may be too much space available. The thought that one may have too much space may sound ridiculous, but unnecessary space may need too much maintenance and use too much electricity, not even to speak about the unnecessary distances to walk that may drain energy and time. Instead of wasting time, energy, electricity and maintenance, it is possible to convert the extra space to money by renting a part out to a person with a complimenting business.