Feathering the nest

I struggle to create in chaos and in the same sentence, am a chaotic person. This is a problem. A big problem. Working in clay can be messy and don’t even get me started on glazing! My planets literally have to align perfectly to make the potential reward of creating outweigh the hassle clearing up.

So to make my artistic astronomy more creatively cosmic, I have implemented a number of solutions to make my creativity flow easier. Here’s a list of the problems, solutions and results:

Problem: My own studio is freezing in the winter and so I prefer to create in the main studio.  This means that I have to clear away to get it ready for classes, which is a hassle so provides me with a suitable excuse not to create. Resistance wins!

Solution: Install a wood burner in my studio (thanks North Mill Stoves) and insulate it from the outside out.

Result: I have a nice warm studio to create in. Not good enough to stop me creating though…


Problem: I have a studio full of junk. It’s crammed, cluttered and not a calm place to create.

Solution: Reallocate, dispose, recycle or give away any of the junk I don’t need or use on a regular basis. Be ruthless.

Result: The creative part of my studio only has stuff in it that helps me create ceramic artwork and is a nicer place to be.

*there is an ever-growing movement around minimalist living. My friends John and Jenny are such people and I have seen first hand what a difference it has made to their lives.  They recommended this video on the subject - https://youtu.be/GgBpyNsS-jU


Problem: I use a slab roller to create my ceramic animals. The one we have already is big and heavy and located in the main studio, which is not where I want to be when making my artwork. I could walk the 30 or so metres from my studio to the slab roller to roll out a batch of slabs, but this is a faff (especially in the cold dark depths of winter).

Solution: Invest in a slab roller that can live in my studio.

Result: Now I have my own slab roller I can roll clay and make in my studio without having to commute to and from the main studio or interrupt classes.


Problem: Glazing. It creates a sh*t storm of a mess. Glaze pots, lids, test tiles, water and brushes get everywhere! I then spend half my time looking for the right glaze pot and double the mess in the act of doing so. I also have no proper means of storing them.

Solution: Pay my brother, Brother Ben (handyman and painter decorator), to build drawers to store them in.  Also make small test tiles to stick to the lids of the glaze pots and store them in colour-coded groups to make them easier to find.

Result: Don’t know yet – it’s still on the to do list. Ben is making them very soon and I’ll make the test tiles over the next few days.

Before I finish, I just wanted to note that the irony is not lost that at least 3 of the 4 issues above are in fact just examples of resistance!

 If I was a stronger person, I’d just trudge on through and not let these issues hold me back. Sadly I’m not though, so feathering the nest is necessary and will no doubt continue for the rest of my life. 

Ho hum. At least my surroundings will be soft and warm!

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