I bought a t-shirt with this quote and image by Fred Babb many years ago at an art festival. I try to follow his advice as often as possible. There is only so much learning in classes and workshops; browsing Pinterest; and exploring techniques to be done. For me, hands-on is the best method for activating the creative process and moving ahead.
I’ve used a variety of studio spaces throughout my clay journey. Each studio set-up has its benefits and leads me to where I create today.
Communal studios are available to a wide variety of skill levels and provide shared space, tools and equipment for clay enthusiasts. In addition to learning and practicing, you are often teaching others with less skills. It is a very social and fun atmosphere. This is the type of studio I used as a beginner.
Private studio space within a communal facility offers a hybrid experience. In this type of studio, expensive equipment like kilns, slab rollers and wheels may be shared. Additionally, each artist also has his or her own storage area for personal tools, supplies and work in progress. I took advantage of this kind of studio when I relocated and having my own studio space was not possible.
Personal studios are totally self-sufficient. The artist takes on the responsibility of owning, operating and maintaining all the equipment of the studio space. It affords the artist creative solitude for exploration and growth. I have found this to be the best studio set-up for me.
My first personal studio was an unfinished, unheated 10 x 15 foot space without running water. It had a separate entrance from our house. I purchased a used kiln and wheel, obtained other studio materials and eventually bought a slab roller (the same one I have today). I was ‘in business.” I learned to repair my kiln when necessary and used a space heater for the colder months. It was fantastic!
I created my second studio when we moved to South Carolina. It was slightly bigger than my first studio. I had heat, air conditioning and nearby running water! I purchased a new kiln that was housed in our garage. I discovered slatwall which was used for adjustable shelving options. I joined a co-op gallery and enjoyed creating pieces to sell in that venue.
In our latest move, my studio encompasses a full basement where I am fortunate to have a huge space to spread out with separate clay-making, glazing, firing and assembly areas. I still use slatwall for shelving and display options! I love spending time in my studio where I can work out new designs and revisit old favorite shapes. I'm fortunate that all my studio experiences have led me to this place.