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Studio planning...would you keep kiln(s) in a cement & brick room off the house or fit them into a new garden studio


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Hi community...

I am in the midst of planning a studio building for ceramics.  At the moment I have a very, very cold workshop room off my pantry that used to be a coal (ground floor, with its own door) cellar so quite raw, cement floor, brick walls.  I have various tools in there, some of my work and my kiln.  I am working in my dining room at a large table and using my credenza and window sills for putting works in progress.  This is a temporary situation and I am focusing on ceramics as an artist more and more.

I want to build a studio outside the house and have been trying to weigh up pros and cons of keeping the kiln(s) in the room off my pantry (there's nothing else in there, empty except my ceramics so it's fine to leave it in there) or having one or two kilns in the new studio - which will require some design specs to keep it safe.

I starting working with ceramics during lockdown so still figuring out my rhythm of work.  I would love to know your thoughts and experiences of having or not having things in different areas...

Thanks so much

Edited by Meredith London
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I’m usually a fan of keeping it simple while leaving your plan open for future expansion, if that’s where you want to take it. There’s some questions to ask here first. How big do you think you want to go with clay? Do you want to keep it as a hobby and enjoy yourself, or do you want to have a small side business, or do you even have an inkling that you might like to make pots for a living at some point? That will influence the size of the space, and contingencies to plan for. While lots of people do work in otherwise unused dining rooms, it’s better studio hygiene if you take it into a lower traffic area. That way the dust is less likely to get all through the house where you breathe it in all the time. And at some point, someone in the household usually gets frustrated with their spouse or parent for doing weird, messy things in shared spaces. 

In regardsto the kiln: how ventilated is your coal cellar? You may not have to worry about fire hazards in a cement room, but you don’t want whatever off-gasses out of your clay and glaze materials to get back into your house. How easy is it to run sufficient power to the cellar vs a studio outside the house? Is the studio an existing building you’ll be altering, or will it be a new build? What fits best with your budget? If you’re making work in a studio outside the house and the kiln ins in the cellar, how far do you have to transport things to get them there and back? Are there obstacles or stairs involved? Things like that likely aren’t a big concern if you’re working clay for your own sake, but if you intend to bring commerce into it, efficiency and unnecessary physical labour can become a factor. 

 

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Put the kilns wherever they'll be easiest to use. You don't want loading the kilns to become a hassle. Making pots should be enjoyable. Electric kilns can be installed safely in just about any space, so from that standpoint it doesn't really matter. IMO, the closer to the area where you make the pots, the better. 

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meredith,  potters work in some of the strangest places.   a number of years ago, one of our questions of the week topic was something like "where is your studio?"   there were all kinds of answers.  a variety of spaces were photographed and people told where they worked.   i think it was sometime in 2013,  near Mea Rhee's May conversion of her basement studio.   it came out so well that she shared it with us.   her website shows that plus a ton of great business lessons for everyone.  check it out, Good Elephant Pottery.

though i cannot find it now, one of our members completed a fabulous newly built studio in Ohio sometime  last year or the year before.  it is complete with everything anyone could dream of having.  his name is Hitchmiss but i came up with nothing when i tried a search for his name.  he has hundreds of photos of the construction and use of the studio.  hate being computer illiterate!

Edited by oldlady
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When I was in London a few years ago, I visited a pottery in Clapham, North Street Potters.   I was amazed at how they had utilized every single inch of space in that vintage building.  The kiln was in the basement (cellar? coal shed?) and everything had to be taken down the short stairs with little headroom for the bearers of pots.  They definitely made it work.  Perhaps find a pottery you could visit to get ideas on how to set up your workspace?  It is a luxury to have your own workspace at home.  I have been very grateful for that this last year.

Roberta

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17 hours ago, oldlady said:

meredith,  potters work in some of the strangest places.   a number of years ago, one of our questions of the week topic was something like "where is your studio?"   there were all kinds of answers.  a variety of spaces were photographed and   check it out, Good Elephant Pottery.

though i cannot find it now, one of our members completed a fabulous newly built studio in Ohio sometime  last year or the year before.  it is complete with everything anyone could dream of having.  his name is Hitchmiss but i came up with nothing 

Hitchmas maybe? Or 2 s's

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/21/2021 at 6:48 PM, Callie Beller Diesel said:

Everyone is thinking of Sam Hitchman or screen name hitchmss.

Here’s the thread he began 2 years ago. It’s pretty much a professional potter’s dream build.

 

It is the professional studio potters dream studio (mainly because i DID dream about it for 15+ years!!!)! I need to post a video/photos/plans for a number of the finished spaces and provide a "virtual tour"....alas, much work to be done, even during the covid era!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

From personal experience, my kiln used to be in my garage and the studio was at the back of a VERRRRRRRY long garden.  What a pain in the you know what to bring items down the path for firing.  

Got to think about what's best for you.  My kiln is in my studio (which is just an adapted garage) - i don't have any sophisticated venting system but it sits next to a door and window so when it's on i open a window/door.  Only downside is that i can't use the studio when it's on.  But that's not a big deal for me.

Key point from my rambling is to think about what you really need from your studio and then take it from there.  plan plan plan!

 

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My first studio was in a workshop at the back of our property,  it didn't have the wiring I needed for a kiln so it was in the garage.   It seemed like quite the trek carrying pots to the garage.   When we built our new house I made sure I had the studio space I needed.   I have a kiln room with a outside wall and window,  I put in a  ceiling exhaust fan and a exhaust system on the kilns, the window is nice to let cooler air into the room.  I also put concrete board on the walls around the kilns.   Now I can happily close the door to the kiln room and work in my studio,  no fumes.   Denice

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