Thanks for tuning in! This is episode 23 of the MudTalk Podcast and we’re talking about setting up your pottery studio or clay workspace. In this episode there are a lot of great tips for arranging the place where you work with clay.
This episode comes at a perfect time for me because I’m putting the finishing touches on my new pottery studio at my home. I already have a plan for the basic layout. I needed to have that much before I had it built. But soon I’ll be moving all the equipment and tools and everything else in and setting up. So it was great to read through some of the comments and hear some of the tips.
It also seems there were other people that really benefited from the discussion. Just listen to some of the first few answers to the question: How do you arrange your workspace?
I don’t? Hahahaha
This is exactly what’s on my mind. I am in the process of setting up a pottery studio and have been planning what goes where.
I’m also setting up and it’s a bit tricky when the space is small.
Hi there I am currently challenged by the same question, how do I get involved and learn?
I’ll be converting my single car garage into a studio at the end of the year – love these ideas 🙂
So it sounds like I’m not the only one that loved all the responses. Let’s hear the rest of the responses and see what we can learn about arranging a clay workspace.
In our studio my wife Sarah and I have finally learned to put everything on wheels. 5 Gal buckets of glaze fit quite nicely on heavy duty house plant caddys, our really big glaze batches go in garbage cans and you can buy heavy duty caster sets for those. Our pug mill is on a cart, all the ware racks are on wheels as well. Harbor freight sells pretty decent casters for building carts with😊
We too have everything on casters. Makes for a bigger work space when needed. Also fold away tables to pop out when needed too.
Everything rolls, even my kilns are on casters. This allows me to push them close to the wall when I’m not firing. Extra pop up tables come in handy for glazing. I tried to get a good flow on my space create, clean, glaze fire but that doesn’t work so well in my small space, so flexibility is key for me.
Wheels and casters as well. Roll, roll, roll your studio.
Super fortunate that I moved from a 400sq ft to 1700 sq ft 2 yrs ago & it’s Sooooo much easier BUT more room=more mess that gets left longer -HAD to always clean and organized in smaller space. Must haves: Tons of shelving : a glaze table(s) that fits all often used buckets -height so when glazing doesn’t kill our back (IKEA Formica skinny table desk height is awesome). Bakers racks w/ covers on wheels : glaze cart(I have only one but great investment) : various heights work tables (mine are wooden horses for legs,thicker pine board on top-Masonite board or pressed board to top it-doesn’t create dust-can be flipped & so cheap I can get a new one if needed (had for 2 yrs and still good shape) Problem: 8 huge trash cans of scraps-any recommended pug mills are welcome!!!
Shelving unit and storage boxes help. My wheels face toward the wall to allow for ease of getting up and my tools are at hand and stored in pouches that I made using a length of floor vinyl that I stapled to a board and then to the wall.
If your studio isn’t cramped, then I suggest setting it up so it flows in a circle with the clay process. Starting with your throwing area with shelving, glazing area, kiln area. It is helpful to have shelves beside the kiln for pots ready for bisque and separate shelves for glazed pots. This saves lots of steps when gathering up pieces for firing. Last tip: don’t put the kiln near the door… That is your escape route in case of fire. 🔥 Hope that helps!
I just sort of created a circle. Clay storage, handbuild area, wheel area, drying space, kiln, glazing spot/packing, then display. Also I found that small indoor greenhouse (on Amazon $40) works great for small studio slow drying space
Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences and ideas. Even though there were less responses than some of the other episodes I feel like this one may be extra helpful to some of us.
A while ago I wrote an article on experclay.com about organizing your workspace to improve efficiency. I’ll link to that in the show notes.
The main idea of the article is to set up your studio to match your process so that the clay has to travel the shortest distance possible. For example, you don’t want to store your clay in one corner, wedge your clay in the opposite corner, and then have your wheel or work table in another corner. You would have to carry the clay around way too much. It would be much better to have your clay storage next to your wedging table which has your wheel or work surface next to that.
With all of this in mind, I’ll soon be setting up my new pottery studio. In fact, I am recording this episode of the MudTalk Podcast from the new studio for the very first time. I am beyond blessed because I got to build this new studio from the ground up. I didn’t have to adapt my plan to a space that was already there the way I did when I set up my work space in my basement.
For this new studio, I started with a rectangle building and walled off one end to create a kiln room / storage area / non clay work bench area. We put in some pocket doors so no space is required to swing the doors open or closed. We also created a corner office / utilities room / photo area. This separate room will be a clay free zone and a place that I can close off if needed when guests come for a visit. The big space in the middle will be for creating pots. Wheels, work tables, shelves, etc. I plan to have workbenches on wheels and folding tables so the space can adapt to what’s needed. Maybe I can even have movable counters and shelves. Then as I set up I can give each tool a specific spot that relates to my process. I’ll have to fill in those details once I get the big stuff in place.
So as we close this episode, think about your own workspace. Could it be improved? Are you making the most of your space? Is your process as efficient as possible with the way it is set up?
Thanks again to everyone who shared ideas about how to set up a pottery studio. In the next episode we will discuss how sharing on social media impacts our work. Until then, keep working efficiently in your space and stay muddy.