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The home studio life – PART 1: Is it really possible to set up a studio in a tiny apartment?

June 7, 2022

So, is it possible?

Yes, of course. I did it!

How did this all start?

As we all experienced, the whole world made some pretty major shifts whenCOVID-19 grew into pandemic in March 2020. My life did not escape the effects of the global response: I lost my job and I was unable to attend the clay studio where I had been creating my work. After two months of absence, I was able to go back to the studio, but on very limited time basis each week. Since I didn’t have anything else going on at the time, the idea of having a home studio was growing every day.

Clay studio in a small apartment, really?

I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my partner. On first consideration, it seemed really impossible to fit a wheel, a shelf and other pottery supplies in our space. But after stretching our imagination, and some vocal support from my partner, I decided to go for it! First, we claimed a location in our apartment for the studio: a 3’ x 3’ piece of floor which faces a window. It is located right beside our kitchen, so access to water is very convenient. It’s only slightly bigger than a telephone booth, but it’s enough!

What kind of equipment can you fit in a tiny studio?

The centre piece of my setup is a Shimpo VL-lite wheel. Most of my work is thrown on the wheel, so this is a crucial feature. It is my first wheel and I am pleased with it. Its legs sit on a sturdy low table so that I can work while standing, or while resting on a stool. A wood shelf from IKEA is the second most prominent feature of myspace. It has many shelves and extends nearly to the ceiling. The last major component of my working space is a wall of tool storage, opposite the shelf. The final result is a well-lit, functional(small) space.

Some things to consider when work in a small living area.

Working in a small space, there are certainly different things to consider than at a conventional studio. For example, I don’t have a clay trap: I only use a simple bucket (though I do know other home-studio users who have constructed a clay trap from some stacking plastic containers and hoses). Because I work in my living space, I have to clean the wheel area and floor very often. Vacuuming and mopping are frequent occurrences near the wheel. I cannot stock supplies in the same quantity as if I had full studio and I do not have a sufficient facility to mix my own glazes, so I purchase small jars of glaze. It’s more expensive, and storage requires some flexibility and creativity (clay is stored under the sofa and coffee table), but it is manageable with a bit of diligence and discipline.