Setting Up a Clay Studio

Einstein Planter 2016
Einstein Bust Planter Ceramic Clay – 2016

Earlier this year, I finally committed to the fact that I love working in ceramic clay and it was time to be a grown up and set up my own studio at home.  I had been working at Lewis Snyder’s Studio S ( for the past 5 years doing hand building.  My good friend, Kay Currie, was my instructor.  I had reached a point though that I was no longer satisfied with only doing clay 2 hours a week.  I find when I work with clay I really get lost in the work.

My husband and I discussed it and we went in search of a kiln.  At the point of making this decision, I also realized I had never even fired a kiln, let alone my own kiln.  I also didn’t know what clay body I wanted to work in – there are 100s.  The luxury of Studio S was that the clay/glazes were provided and all the firing was handled by someone besides me.  Needless to say, I had to dive into some intense independent study of additional clay education in order to fully equip myself.  I mean glazes???  What kind and what fire – low or high?  Colors and the chemistry, oh my sweet lord!!!

My kiln – “Brigid” – Celtic Goddess of Fire

Lewis helped us purchase a great kiln (Olympic MAS2327), and I went to work setting up my “clay studio” and equipping myself with all the peripheral supplies I needed to get in place. From, tools to forms to glazes and a place to wedge clay.  I discovered the amazing mecca of clayness that is Mid South Ceramic Supply in Nashville and The Clay Lady Studios (  Every single person there is absolutely amazing and so helpful.  They really took time to answer all my questions.  They had nearly everything I needed to get my studio stocked up.

My kiln took 7 weeks to be built, she is beautiful and was worth the wait.  I named her Brigid after the Celtic Goddess of Fire.  We had to reassemble her on her base and add venting when she arrived.   I also spent the 7 weeks that I waited for her to arrive, building pieces to fire, educating myself, attending a couple workshops and doing research.

I decided to work with low fire red clay and attended a wonderful two day workshop at Mid South Ceramic called “Red Handed Symposium” and also finally took a workshop from the amazing clay artist, Nelson Grice, in Birmingham, AL on how to do image transfers on clay.

clay figure7I purchased a table top pottery wheel and am a long way from mastering throwing, but I will tackle that and get the hang of it.  Practice, practice, practice on that one.  Though I was able to throw a couple pots with the help of my friend, Kay.

My first batch of bisque is glazed and I will load up Brigid this week and put the final glaze fire on the work.   That is when it all comes together.  It’s like a science experiment with lots of variables and you only really know how the study works when you pull it out of the kiln after the glaze firing.  I will let you know how it turns out.


Author: dkmagarts

Full time creative, multi disciplined artist. I love working in a myriad of mediums to tell stories of the human experience in a colorful and whimsical way. I want to teach you how to live a fully expressed creative life. Here I will share my art, offer classes and workshops and blog about being an artist.

3 thoughts on “Setting Up a Clay Studio”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: