At Fireborn Studios we make our own work and teach classes. However, we frequently get requests for the following things, which we don’t currently offer:
We support the notion that, “The more potters there are, the better!” We are considering offering some of the above mentioned services in order to build a stronger community of potters. We are not sure yet what we will do.
We would like to gather more information to help us find a path forward. We need to determine what people want. Please help us by filling out the form below.
Whether you love to make pots, but have no intention of quitting your day job, or your five-year plan is to be a self sufficient, full time artist/potter with a good income, how can you do it?
Should you take classes, set up a studio at home, rent studio space, buy a building? Do your plans include employees? How will you sell?
How do you learn and grow? YouTube? Workshops? College? Classes? Do you need help? Do you need a critique? How do you connect with other potters? Do you need a sales venue? How do you develop your artistic voice and a vocabulary of forms, marks, techniques etc.?
What firing temperature and atmosphere do you want? What kind of kiln?
Whatever your goals, you may need some sort of support. What kind of support works for you at this stage in your development? Let us know.
Having a wheel at home or hand building at home is relatively easy. In the early stages of a home studio, or a fledgling business, it might make more sense to use a firing service than deal with the complications, complexities, and expenses of doing firings yourself. Especially if you want to do high fire, cone 10 reduction in a gas kiln.
The basic requirements of a home studio are a place you can get dirty, with a sink, shelving, wheel and tables. If you can put in an electric kiln and buy glazes you are off and running. If a kiln is a problem, then a firing service could be the solution.
Electric kilns can be used in a home, but they need to be ventilated room with a window exhaust fan. They also need an exhaust system like an Envirovent, to maintain negative pressure inside the kiln and draw off fumes.
To put a small, programable, electric kiln in your basement, you will need the following:
A “1027” kiln, which is a 10 brick-circumference kiln 27” deep and has 7 cubic feet of volume, lists for $3700 and sometimes can be found on sale for $2900. When you add in the other items listed above you are up around $5000 for the whole setup. Plus a wheel for another $1400. However, the good news is, with an electric kiln you can do both bisque and glaze firings! If you like the look of oxidation glazes, you’re all set. Otherwise you still need to find an alternative, like high-fire, gas reduction for the glaze firing.
Gas kilns are much more expensive, and usually much larger. A kiln like the 60 cubic foot car kiln at Fireborn, which I built myself, 30 years ago, cost $35,000 at that time. Today, a similar Geil Brand kiln costs $80,000. And that’s without the kiln furniture. Fireborn has 60 kiln shelves, 14”x28”, Advancer brand. The shelves cost another $19,000, so add that on. Plus I have kiln posts, a hood, chimney, exhaust system, industrial zoning, and more. I also have invested a lifetime of research into high fire glazes. All this is not easily duplicated.
Building your own gas, wood or soda kiln in the country is another option. Potters sometimes scrounge use fire-brick, use unique designs, and have fun building kilns. Personally, I have built 8 of them.
Renting studio space can make sense, especially if you are interested in being part of a community that encourages growth and individual expression. Our classes provide one type of community, but shared studio space is a different type of community. We are considering the option of providing studio rentals. We are also considering offering firing services. This plan is developing and evolving.
How might “open studio” work? Would you need on-site dedicated shelving? How much space would you need? Would you want to bring your own clay or be able to purchase clay? What about drying pots to leather hard, trimming, etc. What would the flow of pots look like? How exactly might “open studio” work?
Perhaps doing your own firing the near future, having your own gas kiln, or wood kiln is unrealistic, or problematic. You can’t have gas kiln or wood kiln in a city residence. You need industrial zoning for a gas kiln and a rural setting for a wood or soda kiln. Raku and pit firings are also problematic in the city. If a neighbor complains, the city will shut you down. However an electric kiln in the basement, in the city, is doable. Note, doable as a hobby only. If the city catches you running a manufacturing operation or a business in your house, they will shut you down.
And then there is the issue of glazes. Beginners are often scared of the thought of buying and mixing glazes. They want someone else to deal with all that. Intermediate potters may want to develop a palate of commercial glazes that express their own unique, creative voice, and want a clay body and firing process to suit their glazes.
Some potters like to mix their own glazes, and have recipes from college or from the web. Others like to create their own glazes. So many choices and decisions!
These are a few things to consider as you move forward.