How to Turn a Spare Room into a Pottery Studio

Interested in taking up a relaxing and rewarding hobby? Read these tips to learn how to set up your own pottery studio. It's the perfect spare room idea.

By Parinatha Sampath

 

If you’re wondering how to set up your own pottery studio at home, you don’t need to look any further. The first step toward making a good studio is figuring out how involved you want to be in this art form. Do you want to explore pottery one step at a time or dive right in and set up a full-fledged studio? Whatever the case may be, here are a few things you must know before doing pottery at home! 

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

1. Hand Building vs. Wheel Throwing: Two Ways of Making  Pottery

Before you even start thinking about the layout of your pottery studio, you need to make a decision about which method of making pottery you’re going to use. If you’ll be using the hand building method, you won’t need that much room. But if you’re going with the wheel throwing method, you’ll need a lot more space in your studio.

 

Hand building is working with a ball of clay by hand without using the wheel. While there are different techniques in hand building, none of them require any more than a few hand tools. So, if you’re a novice or have little space to work with, hand building is the way to go because it doesn’t require as much room as wheel throwing.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

Wheel throwing, on the other hand, is an elaborate (but satisfying) process in which you to throw a moist lump of clay at the wheel-head and shape it with your hands as the wheel spins. Therefore, this method requires a lot more space and infrastructure.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

2. Pottery Studio Layout

Creating a pottery studio is probably one of the best spare room ideas ever, but planning your studio’s layout in advance is most important. Two standing rules — irrespective of the method you use — include a room that’s got a good amount of sunlight or ambient light (to avoid shadows), and access to water (to wash and rinse your pots).

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

Elaborating on the studio’s layout, if you plan to hand build your pots, all you need is some space for a work table (4-by-8-foot ideally) with shelves underneath it, a mini electric kiln, a couple of shelves for your pots and tools, and a corner for glazing, waxing, and painting.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

If you’re opting for wheel throwing pottery, you’ll need one really big room or two average rooms. Then you have to invest in a pottery wheel, a good electric kiln, which is also bound to take up a lot of room, shelves across the room to store your raw material, finished pots and tools, an abundant supply of water, or space for a few buckets, and a generous amount of space for glazing and painting.

 

3. Sculpting Essentials

Scottish Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “Man is a tool-using Animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.” To achieve finesse, intricacy, and beauty in pottery, some tools are essential. Now, before you browse the Internet for tools and become overwhelmed with the innumerable options to choose from, here’s a simple list of must-have sculpting tools.

 

  • Palettes and scrapers to smooth the surface of the clay
  • Modeling tools for smoothing and sculpting
  • Ribbon tools (in a range of sizes) to trim and carve bits of clay with precision
  • Fettling knives to cut clay
  • Needles to poke air holes in your pottery before it is fired
  • Wire cutters to slice the base of the pot from the wheel
  • Sponges to keep your clay moist and smooth
  • Stencils to decorate your pots

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

4. Ventilation, Cleanliness, and Safety

Harmful emissions are released when you heat materials in a kiln, so remember to install a good ventilation system your studio, or put your kiln outside.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

Also keep in mind that dry clay, excessively moist clay, pottery glaze, and paints can contain toxic substances, so maintain them well and clean up thoroughly every time you leave the studio, especially if you’re about to eat a meal.

 

Remember to always keep your studio locked and your materials packed away, and don’t allow children or pets inside the studio without supervision.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

Clay sculpting at home can be relaxing, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Follow these tips to create a relaxing, efficient, and safe pottery studio at home.