Lucky potter – I have two studios! How can it be that I still need more space?
My only studio had been based at Clayscapes, but I built a second in the fall of 2014 within my garage at home to give me additional space and options. I make functional ware at the Clayscapes studio; at my home-based studio I focus on detailed decorating and complex forms which are best completed where I can concentrate without interruption. I do not transport pieces from one site to be worked on at another in order to stay efficient and avoid breakage.
The strategic choices I make at each decision point from clay selection, to surface decoration techniques and, finally, to the firing are purposeful and precise. I primarily use two porcelain clay bodies: BMix Wood from Laguna and 621 from Standard and illustrate with black underglaze on a white canvas of porcelain slip. I really like making my own tools and adapting equipment. My pots usually starts on an electric wheel but may then be altered or combined with hand built parts. Certain designs include pieces of glass or metal wire.
At Clayscapes and at home I have access to L&L electric kilns which I use for bisque firing. For many years most of my work was finished through wood firing, but as of February 2016 I also have an option of firing up a gas kiln at my home studio.
My work schedule varies a lot. Some weeks I may not make pots at all and other weeks that may be all I do for 40 hours or more in addition to teaching more than 15 hours a week. When I am not making pots, I might be preparing for wood firing, conducting workshops, attending to shows and sales or any of the other tasks that come from running your own business.
I am in ceramics for the long term. Since my body has already been permanently effected by knee and foot injuries, I pay attention to ergonomics and am diligent in following health and safety guidelines with tools, materials and processes. I also enforce those same principles with my students and in the Clayscapes studio. If we strive for safety we may increase our longevity in the field and if we have greater longevity than we have more opportunity to INFLUENCE.
Safety is at the forefront of my decision making. There are many ways potters can endanger their own health and put out work that is unsafe for customers. Their is a lot of science to ceramic art and I delve head first into the chemistry and physics through study and relentless testing. From clay and glaze selection, to forming and firing, my making decisions result in processes and products that I can guarantee are safe.