Pottery is something really special, I think everyone can agree with this. I’ve been making pottery for eighteen years now. I started in 2001 when I first moved to Florida, at a little city-operated public studio in Orlando. But I remember falling in love with clay when I was a small child roaming the hills and river of my parents’ country back yard. In the summers, I’d swim in the shallow river and dig up the clay to make full-body mud masks and sculpt busts and bowls or whatever I felt like. I remember being so sad when the rain would wash my creations away. I remember longing to one day have the tools and technology to make them more permanent.
A childhood dream is now my passion
Fast forward to now and I’ve got a full pottery studio in my home. Technically, it’s outside of my home, as it’s in the carport – a small structure next to my house that shares the same roof. Now I park my car in the driveway and the carport is (sort of) barricaded with shelves and a bamboo blind, and a cement planter guards the entrance in case anyone gets the bright idea to drive into my carport.
Inside, you’ll find my beloved kiln, that I’ve named “Malindi” after the fastest female sprinter in Canada, Malindi Elmore. I chose this name because I bought the kiln used from a guy in Yankeetown, Florida (yes, that’s a real city’s name) and it was full of Canadian newspapers, the kiln stilts are in a bucket from a Canadian icecream brand, and the kiln’s labels are in French and English. I’m pretty sure the kiln is Canadian! And the Olympic runner’s name is relevant here because the first few firings ran for 4-5 hours less than I was expecting. This thing works FAST! I’ve since learned that it fires fast because it’s so small, but Malindi isn’t a very large person anyways. You see how it fits?
My home studio
It’s been a process setting up my studio at home, but it’s been wonderful and I’m so in love with it! Despite the swarms of mosquitos, this space feels sacred to me and it’s already proven to be home to a well of creativity – not just for me, but also for my boyfriend, Mike.
Mike has been a big part of realizing this studio. From building shelves and the wedging table, to fixing the pottery wheel, and constructing a clever outdoor sink, he pretty much made this studio for me.
Check out this sink he made for me: two plastic tubs draining into each other and a hose propped for a convenient faucet.
When I first found the kiln, we spent the weekend getting ready for it, which included making this painting together on a scrap of plywood, framed with bamboo from my back yard.
My good fortunes are plenty
I realize that I’m so lucky to have all this. SO LUCKY! I’m lucky I live in Florida where it’s warm and I can make pottery outside all year round. I’m lucky to have a partner who is creative and inventive and has the time to help me set up the studio. I’m lucky that I still have my day job and I can work from home full-time while the office is closed due to the coronavirus. I’m lucky to have my health. And I’m lucky to have enough money to buy the used kiln and the clays and the glazes and pay for a new motor for my wheel.
And I’m lucky that I found a second pottery wheel when mine was broken.
So here I am, a potter with a pottery studio. I’ve been amassing a collection of my works and selling a few things to friends, but soon enough my house will be wall-to-wall pottery and I’ll have to start selling it for real.
There I go again, lucky to have so much I’ll be forced to sell it!
3 Comments Add yours
Could you please email me with your reply? Thanks.
Thank you for your wonderful Youtube pottery videos. I followed your lead and glazed some of my pieces using the shaving cream technique. I was thrilled with how they came out, but then I tried to put a coat of clear glaze over the underglaze designs, and I had a problem. The clear glaze bubbled and resisted as if there were wax on the clay. I think there must be something in the shaving cream that works like wax resist. I rinsed the piece thoroughly, but some of the shaving cream residue must be left behind on the fired clay. Have you found this? I’d be grateful for any advice.
Hi Robert – sure, I’ll reply to your email with my advice but in case anyone else runs into the issue, I’d like to post it here too!
So, yes, you’re right, the shaving cream can act as a resist for the clear glaze. I didn’t make it clear in my video and I’m not able to update it after publishing it, but it’s really important you bisque fire the pots again after applying the marbled underglaze. The bisque fire will burn off the shaving cream completely and you’ll have fresh absorbent pots again that can hold the clear glaze. Perhaps it’s time I make a marbling tutorial with step-by-step instructions! Thanks so much for your comment!