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Studio Floorplan design

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Hi All,

My husband is gathering ideas to build me my dream studio for our retirement property.    I'd love any input you have on what works/ doesnt work in your studios.  He's thinking a different bay for each phase

1. wheel and wet work (roll up door maybe to be able to pressure wash out.  i really hate the clean up part of party)

2. kiln & bisque shelving

3. painting / finished piece storage

we weren't sure about making glazes , havent done that yet, and if you need isolated area as to not have dust from the chemicals around.  i have animals that we dont want to have walking through that stuff.






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welcome to the wonderful world of having a studio of your own design!

several years ago there was a discussion here of what kind of studio do you have.   lots of pictures of many different kinds of work spaces.  designs for heavy slab work with lots of flat table space, many wheel workers with gobs of shelving.    you might want to look for that somehow in the search posted at the top of the forum page.   also visit as many studios as you can to see how others have done it.   it is studio tour time so get out there and look.   ask if you can take photos and be upfront with your reasons.   a few  potters may think you are stealing their pottery designs.

check out GEPs excellent basement studio setup at her website.  find her avatar and signature to locate it.

marcia selsor has a great setup for her work which includes her recent addition of a kiln shed ( read palace) in montana.

there is also a book on studio design that you might find online or in your local library.

get wheels, lots of wheels for equipment, storage and heavy buckets of glaze.  get a really good quality mop and bucket that has rollers to squeeze the water out.   and make sure you have a sink that can handle large buckets.  

mostly, have fun working together.   

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If this is the forever setup I would do two studios with a catwalk and nice decking between the 2 and an outdoor storage. That's where we were going with ours in the NW on an acre property. I built a 300 ft studio (12x26) for everything but glaze and would make it 14 wide if doing again, it had 2 wheels lots of shelving, recirculating Cink, slab roller and bisque kiln. We used the garage for all glazing and glaze firing. I was going to build another building with a catwalk between them and more decking. Having the kilns out of the work area was great so I recommend considering that. You can also really spread out with glazing and have that area always ready to go.

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In the professional world-the studio is laid out for workflow. That is clay flows in thru the various work stations (wedging-throwing-trimming) then onto bisque and glaze fires to pricing/packing and put to sales. For hobbist I'm not sure this is as important as the end point is not the same as the qaunities are so much less.

Just lay it out for what makes sense to you depending on what you are planning on doing with clay.

You can make glazes and still keep it clean.Making your own glazes means you are learning more about the whole process and will have way more control on finished products.

Edited by Mark C.

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Agree with Mark about the flow of work; dont design your studio so that you have to move something 5 times if you could do it 2. More than sufficient lighting, adequate ventilation and exhaust, a proper method to easily and regular clean your space. I only use wire shelved carts (think restaurant shelving) for my studio; little surface area for dust to settle on, and it rolls out of the way. Oh, yea, put as many things on wheels as possible; rolling is much easier than lifting.

  Build your studio so you're comfortable; if you arent happy in the space you wont want to be in it. HVAC needs to be up on that list; freezing studios are better than hot ones, but they both suck. Have a place to store everything thats not used on a daily basis, and not just dumped into the back of a closet where you cant get to it.

Noisy equipment needs to be out of the space where you want quiet. Build more space than you need now, as you'll need it in ten years.

There's loads more design aspects to consider based upon your specific need of the space (i.e. are you full time, running 4 kilns....need 300 amps of service, or do you make a few pots a month...) but IMO that covers a lot of the big basics.

There are good books out there on setting up your own studios. Agree with the above about visiting other studios, and more than that, work in them! I have learned what I HATE about other studios by working in them. Stupid details which are easily overlooked but make a big deal.

If your setting up a full time business, you have more to think about than just studio operation and flow; you also need to consider the legal aspects of your building; does it meet local building codes, fire codes, insurance requirements. If you're setting up a business, avoid at all costs a commercially zoned operation; you wont be able to afford the commercial building code requirements.

   Im currently going through building 3200 sq feet of space for my business; this is NOT a small or a cheap task.  Draw things out on graph paper, make lists, go through them regularly. A boat load of research and preparedness will be highly valuable when you start to set things up.

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Yeah, it's all about the studio flow if your space allows for it. Even with space outdoors like I have, I'm constantly trying to improve on the flow so that I don't ave to be moving stuff around causing more physical work. But I have to adapt. Ideally in a straight line or U shaped space I'd like to wedge>throw>hand finish or slab build>dry>bisque>glaze>and load.

But that ain't gonna happen... ;) 

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