Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Making Space in the Studio

Lately I’ve been bemoaning my lack of studio space. (Not for the first time!) I know I’m lucky to have a dedicated area to work in, but recently I’ve been feeling like most of my time in the studio is taken up with careful ‘jigsaw puzzling’ of things around me.

Back in February this year (when I got my new shimpo wheel) I took a photo of my pottery studio (blogged here). Looking back it seems very sparse and tidy! But during all this time it felt very ‘temporary’ too. Lack of table space is my biggest concern, especially when throwing – there’s no room for fresh pots! And for some reason I’ve been putting up with this arrangement ever since. Finally last week I decided to do something about it.

So I bought a set of wooden shelves. Yes, it was that simple! Any normal person would have put some up straight away. But the fact that the tongue and groove on the walls can’t take any weight waylaid me. Instead I found a set of freestanding, second-hand shelves in an antiques place for £10. They’re perfect for stacking all my tools and filing away pottery notes – stuff I don’t want cluttering the surfaces. And it’s amazing how even a small change like this can make a huge difference.

The next stage in expanding my work surface was to commandeer an old sewing-machine table we had upstairs. This is much better than my wibbly-wobbly folding table! Then for an extra bit of flexible space I’ve also re-appropriated an old piece of wood. This is about the same size as one of the tabletops, and it can be laid out on top of the wibbly-wobbly trestle table to instantly double the surface area when needed (and folded away again when not).

Adding just these few bits of furniture has transformed the space. It feels more permanent and actually bigger too – even though there’s more stuff in it! And psychologically it’s already made a difference to how I work. Instead of constantly wondering where to put something (which can be tricky if your hands are covered in clay) I can focus on the natural flow of making pots.

So overall a very successful £10 spent. I really should have done it sooner…


  1. It is funny what we put up with and finally when we step back it is so clear. I think we get the must create vibe too strong to think clearly.
    I know some organizing of my space would make a big difference.

    :-} Lorraine

  2. Thanks Lorraine! My studio is in a mess at the moment after Christmas shows!