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!