Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Work in Progress!

The Bullpen
New Year's Day seemed like a good day to do a major studio reorganzation. Some day had to be a good day to do it; though my space is reasonably large, it was getting claustrophobic. Every time I wanted to put something down, I had to move something else. Inefficient! Also inefficient: I found myself walking around my big table all the time, and another table, originally built for packing and shipping (back when I mistakenly thought Etsy wouldn't suck; moron that later) was essentially just being used to pile stuff on. In the mental way-back machine, I remembered my station at Kinko's back before Kinko's became FedEx Office: the copiers arranged in kind of a bullpen, so I could work multiple machines with just a step or two.

Another opportunity the reorg offers is to see what uses I need, that I haven't accounted for, and to what I have accorded too much space. I usually work in an orderly make/fire rhythm: make enough to fill the kiln, bisque, glaze, fire. My greenware shelves can therefore double for bisqueware waiting to be glazed. But it's January, and I am in no hurry to fire in the miserable snow and cold - although I will eventually have to - so I keep making, though my greenware shelves are full. I can add about 30% more space to these with 2 half-cinderblocks and a plank: make it so, right?

I also notice that though I have two six-foot-tall, three-foot-wide shelving units beside the wheel to hold wetware, I never, never, never, ever fill up even one of these units. Even during 100 mugs in 100 hours project, I didn't come close to needing all of my wetware space. Some of my alterations - stamping, ovalling, stretching, darting - need to be done while the ware is still quite wet, so I tend to break up the work into shorter bursts: throw for a few hours, then stop to alter and decorate. I never throw more than I can finish in the next couple of days. Some of the space alloted to wetware can go to some other purpose; like maybe housing the bisqueware that doesn't fit into each glaze firing,that piles up until there is enoughto fill its own firing.

All this efficiency feels grand, but at about halfway through, I am staring at a huge pile of stuff that has been unhomed, and will need to find its place in the new order. It isn't junk - most of it isn't, anyway - but some of it could go somewhere other than the studio, like the books, for example. They just get dusty, as I am not inclined to touch them with dirty hands. Good news: I found The Potter's Encyclopedia, of Color, Form, and Decoration, a delightful book that I used to just lay around and page through the way other people read travel books. Like meeting an old friend by chance!

Anyway. There's still lots to do, so I'd best finish my coffee before it gets cold, and get to it.


Unknown said...

Looking forward to seeing the finished product! I don't really care for my studio layout, but it's the best layout for the space. Can't wait until my fiance and I buy our own home and I can REALLY customize my studio!!

Debbie said...

It looks like, from the pitch of the roof, that your studio is upstairs. Is your kiln up there as well? What accomodations did you have to make for having your kiln upstairs in terms of support? I am considering a studio situation in a huge walkin attic with very high ceilings, but am afraid to have a 2300 degree kiln that could fall through the floor over the garage. Any suggestions?

Lori Watts said...

Debbie - My kiln is outside, under a corrugated aluminum roof, but otherwise unsheltered. I know people who have gas kilns inside the studio, but I would not be inclined to put one upstairs except in an industrial building.
If you are thinking of an electric kiln, well, they aren't especially heavy, so no worries on that score.