The Pottery Studio Re-Design

As the years go by my studio seems to have gotten more and more crowded.  The intention when I renovated our old barn in 2001 was to have a space for my wheel along with two other wheels to teach a few students a week.  Since 2001 I have added three additional wheels, and another kiln.  My classes have gone from one a week with three students, to three a week, with five students in each class.  In 2010 I had an 12 x 10′ foot addition built onto the barn for a kiln room, and have managed to squeeze five wheels, and five work tables into the original barn/studio space.  There are two small loft spaces, one is filled with packing materials and my stock of urns, the other has become my photography studio. The 800 square foot studio is filled to the brim to say the least.

These last few years I felt as though I was losing “my space” to my students.  There were just too many wheels in an unplanned space, it was time to redesign, get rid of tables and wheels that were too big, get rid of chairs and purchase stools, and just streamline the space.  This included selling two of my beloved potters wheels.  One was my first wheel I bought with my babysitting money in the 12th grade, (I cried when that went out the door.) The other was a Randall kick wheel… (if you went to Alfred University you know how much that wheel means!)  That Randall was great, but just too big for a teaching studio.  I replaced these two wheels with three more Bailey Pottery Wheels, (love those wheels).

Luckily I really enjoy building things.  I have enough patience for rough carpentry, but the detail of finished wood working doesn’t interest me… maybe it’s because I am all detailed out with my pottery!

For three weeks I kept myself very busy.  I sold one 4 x 4 square work table, and built a 3 x 8′ work table.  I then took down two large shelving units. I now had a work table to work on to build two new shelving units which fit better into the space. I took apart my 3 x 3 rolling board for recycling clay which was under the 4 x 4 old table, and built a new one to fit under the new table. I put up new corner shelves for speakers, (better surround sound… I need the good music while working). I then set the five potters wheels in their new space and built four work stations between the wheels. I set my stand-up Bailey wheel under a large window and built a little side shelf for easy access to my tools. Lastly I stretched canvas on the new work table and put up some new lighting!

One of the exciting things about the new studio design is that I have my own space, separate from the student space, and, at the same time the student space is now more spacious!

putting the shelf togethernew student shelvesnew work tableNew work tableMy throwing spaceStudent Space

October Snow Storm

New England has been hit with everything Mother Nature can throw at us the past few months… starting with tornado’s in late June, heavy rains and flooding in July, earthquake in August (no damage there), hurricane Irene in August with terrible flash floods, and now a snowstorm on October 29th!  We had over a foot of wet snow here in the valley, and powder in the hills up to 30″!!!  Lots of damage in the valley, our electric company saying it is the most damage ever in the company’s history.  The bulk of the damage was due to the leaves still being on the trees, and the weight of the snow breaking them.  Thousands and thousands of people are still without electricity four days later.  We were lucky here, just losing power for 20 hours… and grateful to have a wood stove!  We did lose our beloved Mulberry tree, and some large limbs of other trees, again grateful nothing on the house or studio!

 

From the Studio Garden

Fall in Massachusetts.  The leaves are turning their glorious colors, and the flowers are showing off the last of their beauty before the frost comes.

One of the beautiful dahlia’s from the garden entrance to my studio.

Studio Dogs in Summer

 Summer just moves at a different pace, everything seems to be slowing down around me… except me, this summer.     Oh how I wish I were a kid off for the summer, or like my studio dogs lazing around waiting for rabbits.

Here are the two cuties guarding my studio entrance on a sunny summer day.

Willow and Graham watching for rabbits.

Thoughts and Photo’s from the July One Week Workshop

It was hot… 100 degree hot… stinking hot, by 3:00 the first day we were barely all standing. Tuesday morning I put an air conditioner in my studio!  There was no other way to get through the days without an air conditioner.

What a full intensive week.  My studio can only handle four students comfortably, and my philosophy about teaching throwing is that it’s best not to have any more than five students at a time.  For this workshop I had three students, who had my full attention for five days.

The idea of a week-long workshop came about because a woman from France emailed me after watching my videos on you tube.  Sara asked if I would give a week-long intensive, at that same time a man from Texas and a woman from Canada also inquired about week-long workshops… hmm I thought, must be something to this!  I said why not.  I put it up on my website and before you knew it I was teaching two, week long workshops. (one coming up in October)

The students learned a lot in a week, and I learned to have someone else make the lunches next time, and not teach my regular night classes during that week… Wonder woman does not suit me! 

These students are from France, Long Island, N.Y. and Eastern Masachusetts!

July Workshop, Joanne, Sara, Lucy, Wendy

The Quiet of White

The softness, the silence, and the absolute stillness of the new fallen snow. 

What do you feel on one of those quiet nights of freshly fallen snow? 

I feel such absolute peace, and presence to what is surrounding me.  It is a reminder, a gift from the heavens… stopping me in my tracks. 

How could it not influnce my art?

Studio entrance in the quiet snow

The morning after

A view from the studio

 

Pottery Studio Guard Dog

My doggie Graham guarding the studio entrance. 

Before the first frost

This shot was taken last week when I knew the first hard frost was coming that night.  Sad to say all those flowers were gone the next day.  There just wasn’t enough summer in New England this year.  It really feels like we never really had a summer with all the rain.

Entering the Renovated Studio

This is the newly renovated display/glaze area of my studio…  which by the way is a barn which I renovated ten years ago.  When we originally started the barn renovations I imagined it to still have the feel of a barn… but in New England you obviously need to insulate, then sheet rock… hence nice walls, nicer than I imagined.  Now ten years later, after out-growing the space, I added the kiln room addition, and made the already nice display area into a really nice showroom for my work.

… Can you imagine that this exact space was once, (long before we bought the property) a viewing area with a railing around a 6×8′ hole in the floor to watch cock fights.  The house and barn are were built in the 1880’s.  It was a working Chicken Farm and Apple Orchard.  I hope the spirit of the old farmers are pleased with the current use of the barn.  By the way we do have chickens in the lower part of the barn… just no cock fights.

The View Entering the Studio

Lilacs in Bloom at the Pottery Studio

Entering my studio in May there is no getting around the fragrance, or the walls of lilacs surrounding you on both sides as you walk up the path to my studio door!   Here are some photos of the entrance, and a tall vase of mine with lilacs. The beautiful and meticulously done place-mat under my vase is made by local fiber artist Melinda Baughman.  Her work is made from all re-used fabric, or up-cycled as she says.  See her work and read her fun and informative blog at Autumn Olive.

100_4725Studio in Maylilacs in