It's 2020 (which is just wild in itself-what happened to October, November and December??) and I'm officially settled into my new studio. Once the contractors started working, the total process of being able to move in and start actually working in the space took about 6 weeks. I can't believe how fast time has passed, and every time I walk in the door, my heart does a little flip and a huge surge of gratitude and love for this place overwhelms me.
Building out a clay studio in a small 400 square foot commercial space, I very quickly learned, is not so easy and takes a good amount of capital... a LOT of capital actually if you are in a location that has to be to code. I learned all about building codes, scheduling building inspections, how to build out a kiln space in a room where the kiln sits right under the fire sprinkler. (I probably had a dozen nightmares about either burning down the building or having the sprinklers destroy everything in the space!) In the end, everything functions like a dream- I haven't burned anything down and was able to finish out my busiest year ever here.
One of my favorite things about this space is that it is nestled in a little complex that also has a Japanese fondue restaurant on one side of me and an Argentinean Tango Studio across the courtyard. While I'm cozily tucked into my little studio working, the merry sounds of laughter, cooking, tango music and dancing waft down the corridor. It's absolutely wonderful.
Because I have a day job that keeps me very busy, and practice martial arts in the evenings, I work late in the evening and early in the mornings - "baker's hours"- and managed to get it together enough to have a couple of gatherings over the holidays with my previous studio's studio mates and my best girlfriends.
But now I'm looking towards the next steps--- which are to actually be open to the public (sometimes!) and to start hosting workshops, potentially once a month to start. There's a Nespresso maker and a little fridge for wine and drinks ready to go.
And somewhat miraculously, one of my bandmates and best friends has moved into the space right across from me. (!) She'll be doing encaustic paintings and we will start planning out some really fun, special events for the year.
More to come.... I'm really excited to see what the year ahead will bring. And if anyone who might read this is thinking of opening a studio and has questions, feel free to contact me and I'm happy to share what I've learned through the process.
Holy moly! Moving into the work phase!
I had no idea how much work would be involved in building out a studio space-- but here we are, ready to start the work! The city permit has been approved, and here is my contractor and sub-contractors, planning out the details for kiln and sink installation. I have an architect and engineers, a whole team of people who've been involved in this process. Who knew?
It's a sweet, intimate space with big windows and wonderful light. My Pinterest board of ideas is exploding, but my designs are due this weekend, so in the wee hours of the morning, I've finally settled on colors and furniture ideas--
I love white - beautiful Scandinavian white - with rustic touches and decor- black pendant lighting, a huge table by the windows for making, packing & shipping, workshops, coffee time, and gatherings.
My biggest inspirations are these images here.
Very exciting, a bit overwhelming.... it looks like this is happening!
"Every artist was first an amateur." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever thought of a design or product that you thought you would love to have, but then when you searched for it, it didn't exist? Then maybe you thought about making it yourself, even though you weren't quite sure how to do it?
That's how I ended up with my first clay experience late in 2011. I really wanted a shiny white log for my fireplace. Five years later, that log ended up getting picked up by Anthropologie in their winter collection!
Never in a million years did I expect to fall head over heels in love with the process of creating a finished piece of ceramic work. Skip ahead to today, August 2019, and I've just signed a lease for my own ceramic studio, which will eventually also be the home of workshops, events and a small retail space.
While traveling to visit family in Germany, as well as during visits to the beautiful cities around Scandinavia- Bergen, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen- I discovered beautiful little working studio boutiques where the artists work, sell, and in some cases host workshops. Each one I discovered along the way touched my heart in a way that made me realize, "this feels like home. I want this."
Opening up my little Etsy shop in 2013, I started selling my early designs, hoping there might be people out there who enjoyed my quirky little sponge holders and yoga mermaids. To my absolute delight, people bought my work! And over these last years, as orders double every year, I've discovered that ceramics is no longer just a hobby-- it is my passion, and about half of my work these days is customized work for individuals- functional pieces that have special meaning for my customers.
The new studio will be an avenue for expansion, and hopefully a fun gathering place for creative spirits to come together and try their hand(s) at making some fun pieces of their own!
I'm an accidental ceramicist. I never thought I'd end up working with clay, and simply keep learning as I play. It has come to be that my biggest inspirations are my customers, whose enthusiasm and endless ideas inspire me every day.