24 Aug Setting up a home ceramics studio
Setting up a home ceramics studio is perfect for artists who don’t have access to a shared studio near their home. When the world was committed to a lockdown due to Covid19, millions of people could no longer access their studio where they conduct their professional work and creative hobbies. It is truly a luxury to have extra space at home to set up a studio, however, it may not be as unrealistic as you think. In this article, I will share tips on the minimum equipment needed for a home ceramic studio, for times when you cannot get to the community studio, for whatever reason!
137° offers part-time and full-time work spaces with full access to kilns, tools and equipment whenever you need, including a team of experts to offer help and guidance.
Setting up a home ceramics studio with basic equipment: for those who are working with air-dry clay, or rely on external premises for the use of kilns.
1. Work table:
This is the most important piece of equipment for your pottery-making. Having a surface that allows you to wedge your clay, roll your coils and slabs by hand, and build your clay projects all in one place is a great way to save space in your home. The height of your work table should come to your hip area, allowing you to comfortably work the clay without causing any discomfort in your back. If you’re worried about mess, you can also buy PVC tablecloths that are easy to clean and protect your surface underneath, perfect for if you are using a dining table or kitchen surface.
2. The Wheel
There are many potters who don’t require the use of a wheel to make their ceramics, however, if your practise relies on wheel throwing, it’s obvious that your studio will be incomplete without one!
There are a couple of options when it comes to deciding which wheel to use. If you need to save space or you are concentrating on smaller pottery pieces, a tabletop wheel is a great choice, because you will maintain good control of your work, the wheel’s are light and they are portable, making it easier to store away at the end of a session.
The other option is to choose a sitting wheel, these are perfect for potters who create heavy pieces with larger amounts of clay, however they are stationary, so adequate space is required. When sitting down, you operate the motor using a foot pedal, so if this position sounds more comfortable for you, perhaps consider using a sitting wheel. Ultimately it depends on your pottery practise and what you find most comfortable to work on.
Shimpo is a popular and well-trusted brand for pottery wheels, many of which can be bought at Keramik-Kraft.
Setting up a home ceramics studio would be incomplete without storage. When it comes to storage, there are several things to consider. Where will you keep your raw clay, equipment for decoration such as glazes or coloured slips? Where will you store your pieces when they are finished and drying? Any sturdy, strong shelf, preferably made from wood, is a great place to store your equipment on. For example you might have an old bookshelf that you can convert into pottery storage. If you live in Barcelona, go for an evening stroll on the night of your neighbourhood’s ‘Dia de trastos’ where you can often find great quality, second hand furniture for free! Stack your larger pieces at the bottom of the shelf, whilst smaller pieces can be placed further up. Invest in some plastic boxes with a secure lid to store any glazes or hazardous chemicals. Try to avoid storing your precious pottery on the floor! This is how accidents happen.
4. Tools and equipment:
Some of our most used equipment, such as modelling tools, actually don’t require much space. Depending on the kind of ceramics/sculpture you are creating, you may have somewhere between 5-50 different tools. Use old jars or plastic containers to organise your tools, placing them on your shelf for easy access. You can always place the sharpest tools in a child-proof safety box, ensuring there are no accidents.
Some basic tools include the following:
• Modelling tools for sculpting
• Ribbon tools for finishing and decorating
• rolling pin
• Plaster for creating a base for wedging
You can purchase all of the tools you need online or in person at Angela Colls.
5. Cleaning area:
It’s no secret that pottery is a messy hobby to practise, which is why we tend to spend a lot of time cleaning up after ourselves. Rule number one, do not cross contaminate between ceramics supplies and food. Fill a large bucket with water and wash your equipment by hand, this will ensure that all chemicals are kept away from your dining equipment. Make sure you have plenty of sponges, both for removing excess moisture from your clay, and for cleaning up your space afterwards.
So there we are, 5 things to consider when setting up a home ceramics studio. If you wish to gain more experience and practise in ceramics, 137° Ceramic Art Studio runs a busy schedule of weekly ongoing ceramic classes, teaching hand building and wheel-throwing, decoration and finishing techniques to bring your projects to life. Check out our class schedules here.
Written by Freya Saleh