NEW STUDIO, LEAVING THE SHED 12/20
I'll be starting 2021 with a big new project. I have joined a whole bunch of other amazing creatives at StudionAme in Leicester. So i've finally got myself a proper studio to work from and with any luck, really ramp up my making. Since the national lockdown in march i have been working exclusively out of my brick outhouse or shed as it is affectionately known. It's weird moving out of that space, its small and dingy and i have definitely outgrown it, but its still my first little studio space. I have spent many hours at work in there and it has served me well, always staying dry, if not a little cold.
I'll be starting 2021 with a big new project. I have joined a whole bunch of other amazing creatives at StudionAme in Leicester. So i've finally got myself a proper studio to work from and with any luck, really ramp up my making.
Since the national lockdown in march i have been working exclusively out of my brick outhouse or shed as it is affectionately known. It's weird moving out of that space, its small and dingy and i have definitely outgrown it, but its still my first little studio space. I have spent many hours at work in there and it has served me well, always staying dry, if not a little cold.
LEAVING THE SHED
As I say i have outgrown the space, to the point where it was stopping me from meeting existing demand for pots let alone any future demand that i may or may not have. There are also no windows in there, no natural light. It became a little oppressive, especially when really grafting and putting the hours in.
All that being said, i will miss this little space. It has allowed me to develop my passion into a small business, and is where up until now i have made my Brass and Copper series. it is uniquely my own and has a place firmly in my heart.
My new studio at StudionAme is a little piece of heaven, it's spacious and bright, with a beautiful and large window that floods the space with natural light. Having spent many hundreds of hours working in a small and dark space without a window, i can tell you it is such a luxury. I do have the keys for my studio now, however i am yet to fully move in and set up the space. This is simply because around the same time i got the keys, I was working flat out against a deadline to get all my stock made for my shop launch and as such i could not dismantle my set up in my shed and move things down to the studio. So i will be adding a blog post here with pictures of the new studio and the set up i am planning when it is a little more finished.
There is only one slight issue with the new studio, and that is a lack of running water. The previous owner of the studio had no need for water and a sink and also there is no drainage on the side of the building my studio is on. As a result plumbing in a new sink would be time consuming and costly and in my case i think it is something i can work around. After all, I had no running water in my shed and so am used to fetching water and using a large bowl as a kind of sink.
The studio owners were kind enough to lend me a sturdy Belfast sink basin, which has been fitted onto a kind of steadfast wooden trolley. Having the basin at the least will be a huge improvement on my set up in the shed as it will be much easier to contain the mess of washing up dirty tools and so on in the sink basin than it was in my plastic bowl.
So, in the morning i will simply fetch several buckets of water and pour them into a larger container and take water from that as needed throughout the day. To me, there is something weirdly romantic about this idea of fetching water by the pale, it makes me think of how potters before me would have worked before domestic plumbing was commonplace. It also helps me to be ever more conscious and conservative of and with the materials I consume when producing work.
BUILDING A SINK TRAP
the sink basin itself, I have built a sink trap, abstracted from designs you can find anywhere online just searching for a home made clay trap. The idea is that the clay in the dirty water, slurry or 'sumps' settles in the trap, whilst clean water flows out into another bucket, which can be reused for washing up or dumped down a sink. It is important to have a sink trap, as you can't simply dump clay ladened water or slurry down a domestic sink without causing costly blockages.
The design is simple and easy to build; 2 large plastic storage tubs, that you might find outside any bargain store, with a smaller bucket inside each.
The smaller bucket has 20 or so small holes drilled near the top, on only one side. The smaller bucket is propped up on a scrap wooden block, to raise the top most holes drilled in the bucket above the sides of the bigger container.
A hole is drilled into a top corner of the larger container, not too high up, as this can make your trap more likely to overflow. Through the hole, I have poked a hollow pen, attached to the pen is a little funnel, which drains the cleaner water into another identical system below it. The identical 2nd trap, drains its water into a bucket, which by this stage is clean enough to re-use or dispose of. As you can see below, most of the clay collects in the 1st bucket and container, with the 2nd set capturing and settling everything else out of the water. The funnel is to prevent water splashing and unsettling clay in the 2nd trap.
Over time, dependant on how much clay you chuck through it, clay builds up in the trap to such an extent that it must be emptied. This is a reasonably easy job however it is sometimes a bit smelly and messy. This is the only real waste product i produce, everything else gets reused or recycled. I quite like seeing the different layers that build up in the trap, almost like a record of my making over a given period of time, reminiscent of exposed layers of rock, each layer dating further back in time.
Water full of clay will cause blockages if dumped into a domestic sink; clay builds up at choke points somewhere in the plumbing of the building or the street. Fixing issues like these is always nightmarishly time consuming and expensive and something to be avoided, hence the need for a sink trap.
You can buy sink traps, but they can be very expensive and from my experience a considered DIY job is more than sufficient for me. That being said, i am not a production thrower, who may produce much larger quantities of slurry and dirty water and as such might need a professionally made sink trap.
More about setting up the new studio to come, lots of pictures and video too hopefully, To sign off, here are some happy memories from the Shed.