We moved into our Studio home in October last year and began immediately renovating the space into a workable atelier. What started as a hopeful idea of a three-month project, slowly morphed into a full year saga. There were many a night we had to gently remind ourselves that the journey is the adventure.
Our atelier space had previously been a multi-coloured children’s playroom, left stuffed to the brim with old unwanted belongings. Our first week was spent emptying the trash out of the room.
Needless to say, the varying wall colours did not sit well with us. Work officially began by repainting the walls for a neutral look. The room also housed a tacky flat-pack kitchen unit that we refurbished with matt black furniture foil and new knobs. Then began the real work: making a plasterboard. It would be an utter lie to say it was a breeze finding the “right” plaster in a language wholly new to us but ultimately we succeeded. However, having little patience to make and wait for a second plasterboard we bought a cement board to serve as our wedging surface. We are very happy we did – it works like a charm. The only thing left to complete the wedging area is a wall-mounted clay cutting wire built beside it.
The plasterboard took almost two months to dry. Unfortunately, when we finally used it the plaster began to flake off onto our recycled clay as we peeled it off. We believe we messed up our water to dry plaster ratio during the making.
We also installed a sink and built a clay trap. The clay trap’s mechanism works wonderfully but our tubs don’t have lids and low and behold what a serious mistake this turned out to be when we discovered what an enormous mosquito-breeding hotbed this would be all summer long! Our tubs have also bellied out so we’re thinking of re-doing the whole contraption with different plastic tubs that have lids! You live and you learn.
We then embarked on building a damp cabinet in a draft-less area of the atelier. We designed it entirely ourselves and have yet to test it properly.
We were also forced to change the old light tubes and consequently the industrial light fixtures (the objects we had most liked about the space) when we calculated the energy consumption. They were nearly half a century old! Lastly, we set up our beloved worktable. The seemingly simplest task that incurred months of delay. The sawhorses, made by a carpenter, suffered a delay in making and oiling and sanding our wooden table surface also took us longer than calculated. However, we now have a lovely large worktable with a gorgeous buttery smooth surface that’s a delight to touch.
Other more artistic projects we did around the atelier included refurbishing an old window frame into a tool rack and pressed flower frame with a hanging plant pot incorporated onto one end. Installing a little shelf for that important cup of tea next to the wheel and repurposing an old brass bathroom fixture to hold our heat gun. We also constructed an overhead light fixture above our worktable which also serves as a tool holder. Work continues but we are largely set. It’s a great feeling to see the “end” in sight.
Throughout this journey, YouTube and the larger ceramic community have been our guides and we are so very thankful to have learned what we have through watching and reading countless videos/articles on making and fixing the endless things required in a pottery studio. Thank you for your support.
Here are a few links to the videos and/or articles we learnt from:
Simon Leach’s YouTube tutorials 1, 2 & 3
Sink clay trap:
Ceramic Arts Daily and then refined