Dream up the coolest pottery studio
November 25, 2008 11:34 AM   Subscribe

What would your dream pottery studio look like? Not one you'd build in your garage but a cool, full-service studio. Would it have...

Gas or Electric kilns?
Would you like to have smaller kilns to fire your own work?
Do you want to mix your own glazes or would you like vats of glaze provided?
Would you pay for clay that includes glazing and firing or is it better to separate those charges?
Would you want access to the studio 24/7?
Should it be open to both hobbyists and accomplished potters?
What kinds of classes and workshops would you attend?
What other things would make a pottery studio a great place?
posted by lois1950 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I am a complete hobbyist, so the kiln questions are beyond me (I had it over, it gets fired).
I like vats of glazes, and I like really good representations of the glazes look like when fire, and when layered with other glazes (on chips or something).

I like both a flat fee for clay/glazing/firing for when I have the time to make new pieces, and a separate fee for when I just want to glaze some unfinished pieces, or fire some handbuilt pieces.

I like a mix of people at varying degrees of skill, but I can appreciate a time when beginners/novices can come together. I feel less pressure than when there are a lot of advanced people in the room.

Other things
Plenty of protected storage space for drying pieces, clay and tools. It's always been a challenge at other studios. And accidents happen.
posted by kimdog at 12:01 PM on November 25, 2008


Having been to three different studios in two years, here's my two cents:
Glazes- I would love to have glazes mixed, but with EVERY combination shown on each type of clay. It's a lot of work when you're starting out, but it's definitely worth it.
Clay- I'd like to pay for clay separately... I like to have my own box, so I know that it doesn't get dirty. (Ever find hair as you're throwing? or dried out flecks?) You don't have to go overboard, though... you could limit it to 3 or 4 types available (due to firing temps, etc.)
Access- 24/7 access is really important. If you have a crazy schedule, sometimes you can only go in at 11pm. Please don't require classes- it's really annoying when you sign up knowing you can't make them. Also, it's fun to have a mixture of ability levels so you can give pointers or get ideas.
Other random stuff- Try and get a space that isn't too drafty-- it's crazy when things are drying! It'd also be great if you had some tools (well labeled as the studio's) that people could play with, especially random trimming tools. (It's fun to play with them before you go out and buy them.) Also, have some extra plastic bags hanging around. And bats! PLEASE have bats!!!

Hope that helps, and good luck!
posted by veryhappyheidi at 1:16 PM on November 25, 2008


Glazes - having vats for everyone is only good if the glazes are good, which they can be. If someone wants to mix their own glazes, you fire a few test-tiles on different clays, with various combinations of other glazes to make sure they're not runny as all get-out.

Kilns - the best studios I've worked in have gas kilns, fire to cone 10, and rockthehelloutta some porcelain. some other places work well with a larger set of clays/glazes firing electric kilns in the 6-8 range. sorta depends on the users.

Users - Given how bonkers things can get if you have low-fire clays hanging around high-fire glazes and kilns, it's probably best to figure out what the market is where you're doing this. If it were me, I'd go higher cones and keep it all at that level just to keep the riff raff lesser-temp clays from mixing in where they shouldn't be.

Clays - Charging for clay that includes the glazes and firing fees is actually the most hassle-free way to operate from a users perspective. (if people are mixing their own glazes you'll have to come up with some side-bar arrangement.) If you're doing this, though, also have a pug-mill and recycle the studios clay, selling it out at much lower prices than the "new" stuff.

Fire often! Leaving stuff sitting around on a shelf to get broken by passersby, or waiting 2 months for that vase to get fired for Helga's birthday is excruciating.

Gads, there's a ton more i can't think of at the moment...


and please please please for pete's goddam sake, tell me you're starting one in the d.c. area!
posted by garfy3 at 3:08 PM on November 25, 2008


Gas or Electric kilns?
-- Dunno. (I'm a total hobbyist, so take these from that perspective.)

Would you like to have smaller kilns to fire your own work?
-- Not for me, but maybe the people who are paranoid about others' stuff exploding onto theirs do.

Do you want to mix your own glazes or would you like vats of glaze provided?
-- Provided.

Would you pay for clay that includes glazing and firing or is it better to separate those charges?
-- Either? I'd prefer the everything-included bit, myself.

Would you want access to the studio 24/7?
-- Absolutely. That would be the #1 thing I'd want.

Should it be open to both hobbyists and accomplished potters?
-- Uh, I'm a total hobbyist so I'd want to be able to come.

What other things would make a pottery studio a great place?
-- Maybe, like a once-a-month social event so people get to know each other? As a new person at a place with a lot of long-term members, I felt realllly awkward, and it's part of why I didn't keep going.
posted by salvia at 5:13 PM on November 25, 2008


someplace to do Raku firing
posted by theora55 at 7:55 AM on November 26, 2008


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