Breathing Life into the Clay
Working the clay over and over within their hands, the potter waits for the clay to speak to them. The feel of the clay’s dimensional form evokes a vision in the potter’s mind of what will be created. With every turn of the wheel, the potter gently guides the clay while its form is taking shape.
As the potter steps back, they are in awe of the beautiful masterpiece that rests upon the wheel. Slowly turning the wheel round and round, the potter looks at the clay form. The imperfections and wonky angles of the piece lend to the organic appearance.
The potter carefully selects the glaze for their piece. Stroke after stroke the glaze is applied. Now comes the firing phase where the piece is lovingly placed in the kiln for the final step of the process.
Anxiously awaiting to see the finished piece, the potter removes it from the kiln. As their eyes gaze upon their creation, a twinge of emotion overtakes their heart while feeling proud of the beautiful object before them.
Did the potter chose the form and shape of what the clay was to be, or did the clay take command of the potter’s hands guiding every movement?
Fired Up for the Setup!
We would all love to have that little retreat area where we can go to escape the rigors of daily life. This space should be peaceful allowing our mind to wander. For some, their “space” is their studio where they create pottery.
To set up a dedicated area for pottery, it does require an investment of both money and time. For the serious-minded potters, careful thought and planning should go into creating your studio. Equipment, materials, tools, space, and supplies are just a few factors that need to be considered in organizing the setup.
A space large enough to accommodate your needs should be planned before purchasing the things you will need. If you are doing pottery as a hobby, you may find that a small room in your house or garage will be ample. However, if you plan to pursue ceramics as a means of income, it would be wise to have a shop dedicated to your pottery.
When planning on the amount of space needed, take into consideration:
- Placement and size of the kiln
- Tool Area
- Damp Room
- Space for your wheel
- Shelving area
- Glazing area
- Storage area for clay, tools and supplies
- Sink area
Research and educate yourself on the various equipment, tools, and supplies before purchasing. The old saying of “you get what you pay for,” is very true. Cheaper not does mean better!
This will be your most significant investment in equipment. Your purchase of a kiln should be based on your production goals. The more you want to produce, the bigger the kiln.
- Decide if you want an electric or gas kiln.
- Choose a kiln based on your needs.
- Measure area kiln will be placed in before buying.
- Make sure electrical wiring or gas plumbing is installed for kiln
- Properly install kiln
- Place on concrete floor
- Have proper ventilation
- Ensure there is enough room to walk around the kiln
Your wheel will be the paramount piece of equipment for producing pieces. A few things to take into consideration before purchasing:
- Do you want an electric or manual kick?
- What horsepower do you want?
- Do you want a reverse switch?
- Wheel-head options
- Splash pan area
It is ideal to have at least a 4’ x 8’ work area that is flat. To efficiently work with clay on your table, it should be covered with heavy canvas. A DIY approach to a table is quite simple by using a sheet of plywood and stapling the canvas to the underside of the wood.
Pieces that are not finished need to be stored in an encapsulated area. This prevents the piece(s) from drying out and keeps it damp enough to continue work on it. Some DIY ideas to make a Damp Room:
- Old refrigerator (unplugged) with shelves
- Shelves with plastic wrapping around it
Make It Your Own
Your studio is your personal space where you are free to create and relax. Personalize it with bright colors, whimsical art, and soothing music. Candles not only help with the odor of the clay but creates a warm, inviting atmosphere.