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Becoming a Potter. Again.

Sheffield Pottery

I've been away for a while, so long I can hardly remember what clay feels like. Of course that's not really true, I could never forget that lovely squishy stuff. It's just one of those silly things to say as an introduction.

What happened to me becoming a potter?

For no fault of my own I had to leave my little garage studio at the old house and move into rented accomodation with my family. It may sound dramatic but in the grand scheme of things it's pretty boring, we are due to move into our new house in three weeks. The house is in Killamarsh, which is in Derbyshire but has a Sheffield address, dialling code and postcode. I have no clue. Suffice to say I will still be referring to myself as a Sheffield Potter. Once at the new house, all my pottery shizzle will be delivered from storage and I will start rebuilding a new studio.

This time the garage is bigger and better. Previously the garage was an old external thing in the garden, built around 50 years ago. The roof leaked and walls leaked which made for a very damp environment. It also had lots of gaps in the doors which meant spiders, snails and all sorts of other creatures could join me. My new garage is well built and should be a lot nicer to work in, it is joined to the house so benefits from a radiator and even a sink - if I remember rightly. It also has a mezzanine which will be realy useful for storing things.

Being a potter in a potting shed?

The new house also has an external potting shed - designed for gardening not pottery. I'm currently in negotiations with Helen as to whether I will be allowed to put my kiln in there. I would rather have it outside of the house and studio but she is a bit worried I might kill any plants we might grow.

Apart from becoming a potter...

During my time away from clay I've actually not thought about it too much. I think this is partly because we weren't sure exactly if our house purchase would ever happen. I've been pretty busy with Christmas with two small children, and having a poorly relative has taken quite a lot of my attention.

Other than that I've been watching a lot of Youtube about growing vegetables. Our new house has an existing veg garden which the previous owners have tended very well. Helen has had an allotment before so knows a fair amount about growing stuff and it has got me pretty excited about growing our own food. I've been a chef for a number of years so I know what to do with the produce, and I think with the size of the plot we could save a fair bit of money. We could definitely reduce our carbon emissions - food miles would be very short from the back garden to the kitchen.

It has always bothered me that I use a lot of energy to fire the kiln. With it being an electric kiln, my emmisions will be a lot less than a gas or wood firing, but it still bothers me. The new house has solar panels so I'm feeling a bit better about my impact on the world.

So my plan for this year is to grow vegetables, make some nice food and take fancy photos with my new camera, served on tableware I make in the garage.

Rebuilding my pottery studio

Before I make pots, I will need to organise the studio. First off I think the walls will need a coat of white paint to maximise the light. I've been thinking about getting some LED panels to light around the wheel area. There won't be much natural light so I'm going to have to make it as pleasant as possible with artificial lights. After that I'll need to build some shelving for ware boards, probably using the twinslot kind of system. I'll also need to build or source some work benches and storage for tools, glazes etc. Finally I'll need to get my electrician to sort out the supply to my kiln, wherever it ends up. Once all that is done I might actually be able to sit down at the wheel again. Let's hope throwing clay is like riding a bike!

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