In October 2020, I created a home pottery studio. I had always planned to have a studio in the garage, but two things really propelled it forward: lack of studio space in Denver and the pandemic. I got a wheel and started making things, but kilns were backordered by months. I became a member at a ceramics art gallery while I waited for my kiln to arrive, but I was turned off by the lack of masks and the way they looked down on me for making functional ware.
Once I had my kiln, I started firing things and trying out glaze combinations. When I had been a member at a studio back in California, they made their own glazes, so I had never really had to think about it. Back then, I had bought a few just to experiment with, but waiting 1-3 weeks for things to be fired put a dent in my experimentation – it was difficult to keep up with my notes and compare them with the finished product.
It turns out that experimentation is my jam! I love trying new combinations and methods of application – underglazes, overglazes, lusters…even multiple firings and different temperatures. Now that it’s March 2021, my experimentation is getting more focused and I have a few things that are regularly selling in my Etsy store.
If anyone is reading this and thinking of creating a home studio, here are some important things I’ve learned:
- ventilation is key – get a good vent for your kiln, have a good way of circulating air if doing lusters
- clean a lot – the silica in clay is toxic, so clean with water and don’t trim dry
- keep things organized – how many times a day do I look for my scissors? Many.
- take copious notes – on firings, glazes, techniques…everything!