Thursday, May 20, 2010

Now What????

As many of you may know, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from College for Creative Studies one week ago today. Now begins the huge task of making a living making pots.
My senior thesis show was a big success. I sold lots of pieces, and I am really proud to say that a prominent ceramic collector purchased a couple of my pieces. I’m told this means I’m on my way!
But to where? It’s only been a week and I’m already feeling lost. It’s as if I was dropped from the ceramic studio into this small house in the middle of nowhere without all the tools necessary to really get my business off the ground. Sure my professors prepared me by providing me with all the intellectual and technical skills required to make my ceramic art. However, with student loans set to come due I find my self at a loss as to how to acquire the mechanical tools necessary to produce.
Till now I have worked in a space typically used for a pool table in the middle of the lower level of my modest home. The floor is littered with plastic mats typically used under desk chairs. The mats do a marginal job of protecting the carpet from wet clay and glazes. When necessary I have sprayed my glazes outdoors using a portable compressor and old wooden stump with a banding wheel perched on top. I share my “home studio space” with my teen daughter’s computer, TV, couch, and my husband’s bench press, weights and piano. My “home studio space” has served me well as a part time clay artist. During my time at CCS I had a space that worked wonderfully as an addition to my small home studio space. I freely admit that as a student, I was spoiled with a great school studio equipped with all I could ever need: spray booth, salt and reduction kilns – everything. Not to mention a wonderfully supportive mentor and teacher. (Geez - its’ only been a week and I’m already homesick for that studio.) Of course I will still be teaching once a week at CCS and I will be able to get some things fired there. However, the student work will come first, as it should. As a professional, I may not have the luxury of waiting until I can “fit” into a firing. So, the question is what to do next? All of my glazes are formulated for a salt or reduction atmosphere, which means I have to purchase the equipment to build a gas kiln. The gas kiln needs a platform so I also have to have a concrete slab installed. We will need a bigger pig (propane tank). (Reminds me of "If You Give A Mouse a Cookie"). Where will I put the kiln? I will need a separate studio as being in full production means that I will expose my household and its inhabitants to clay dust and ceramic chemicals. It is not safe for me to continue to create in my home without a properly ventilated space. The studio should be adjacent to the kiln but where? How will I finance such an endeavor?

Stay tuned…

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