This week, for a change, I thought you might like to take a look at my studio behind the scenes. When I first started as a commercial artist, I worked out of a shared studio space. Although it can be exciting working alongside other artists, and of course more affordable than a private space, there is nothing like having your own studio.
These days I am very fortunate; I work from home. My studio is off to one side of the garden, where I also have space for firing, either in my electric kiln or in my gas-fired Raku kiln. From my desk I can look out over the garden and, as you can see, the dogs also enjoy the view (when they can be bothered to look up from the serious business of sleeping).
The perfect artist’s studio would have large north facing windows or skylights to give plenty of natural light without the problem of harsh sunlight and shadows. Unfortunately, that isn’t available in my studio, but lighting is absolutely critical for my work.
It goes without saying that I need to be able to see what I’m doing! But there’s more to it than that. With sculpture, because you are modelling in three dimensions, it’s essential to be able to assess shape, form and depth. The right lighting is therefore very important, and I work from a mixture of natural daylight, ceiling lights and directional spot lamps.
As you can imagine, there’s usually a lot going on in my studio. Before I can even begin an animal sculpture, I have to spend time wedging the clay to prepare it for shaping and to remove any air bubbles that might otherwise cause an explosion in the kiln!
At any one time I may have one or more animal sculptures I am currently modelling; animal sculptures waiting for glazing; animal sculptures that have been glazed but are waiting for firing; animal sculptures that have been glazed and fired but are waiting for cleaning; and finished animal sculptures waiting for photographing, packing and shipping. That’s a lot of animal sculptures and, as you can see from the image below, the studio can get a little crowded at times…
Regular readers of my blog will know that I run animal sculpture workshops from time to time. When I run workshops in Devon, I usually include a studio visit for the participants, as they are always very interested to see my work space, kiln and firing area. If you are commissioning your own animal sculpture, you can also arrange to collect your sculpture from my studio, and I am always happy to meet clients by arrangement.
Last but not least, no studio behind the scenes tour would be complete without mentioning the mending service I provide. This is a small but important part of my work, as accidents do happen and ceramic sculptures do occasionally break. In most cases, however, I can mend a broken sculpture and refinish the piece so that the break will be completely undetectable, and without compromising the strength of the sculpture.
I hope you have enjoyed this studio behind the scenes tour. For more information about my animal sculptures, including commissions, my animal sculpture workshops or any of the services I offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.