Studio Startup!

A new Series from Clay King aimed at helping potters establish an efficient and successful studio.

It physically pains me to say the following words, and I shudder to repeat them for fear of you clicking off this brand new blog in sheer disgust and incredulity that I dare repeat the phrase that in the past year the world has wrung dry, and businesses use as a verbal shield against their customers. In my own ears it grates like the sound of a child’s hand screeching across an inflated balloon- but here it goes anyways:

 2020 was the most unprecedented year in modern history.

There I said it, and I can already see the analytics bar crashing down as new readers just logged off and threw their devices across the room in exasperation. However, if you still are reading I promise I have a point!

Last year was unprecedented for us at Clay King because rather than experiencing fear and anxiety in 2020 (although there was a portion of that here) we saw and focused on something contrary to what the world at large experienced- something remarkable and wonderful for the broader clay community. We saw a surge of inspiration, creativity, and determined passion the likes of which we have rarely experienced before.

 As community studios and schools closed their doors amid lockdowns, we noticed that people finally had the time, inspiration, and resources (thanks stimulus checks!) to start their first home pottery studio.

 To put it in perspective, in 2020 we sold an incredible 2,008 pottery wheels and 3,926 kilns and kiln accessories. That has never happened in a single year in all our time serving the clay community, and it tells us one huge thing: There are a lot of new artists out there and they need help.

Introducing Studio Startup: A Guide to Establish a Successful Pottery Studio

Hi, my name is Will Donovan, veteran potter and social media manager for Clay King, and I’m proud to introduce Studio Startup, a blog series in response to the surge of at-home potters dedicated to helping new clay artists set up successful and productive home studios! We at Clay King know how hard it is to start something new, and we know how daunting it is to comb through the vast array of information the internet has to find answers to your specific studio needs. So we have decided to launch this project to curate the information YOU need to set up your studio.

In this blog you can expect to learn:

  • How to establish your home studio regardless of its size, location, and budget or experience level.
  • How to lay out your studio for maximum efficiency and productivity
  • Choosing a pottery wheel that fits your needs best
  • The process of buying a kiln, and choosing a size that will help you crush your production goals
  • Which items and equipment are essential to any functional studio
  • Practices and methods to enhance your productivity
  • Tips and ideas passed along from experienced potters for a efficient workspace
  • And much more

In coordination with the blog posts, we will also be hosting a live Q&A broadcast on across our social media posts the day after each publication to go over the blog in more detail, and answer any specific questions you have on how to implement successful practices in your own studio.

Our goal is to help new potters have access to both information, and a supportive community to help make your work, your studio, and your creativity thrive.

You’re probably wondering what qualifies us to give studio advice; you might even think that we are just a sales driven company that has a cursory level knowledge in the ceramic world or studio life- just enough to make a sale or to sound knowledgeable over an email. Please permit me to dispel those ideas right away!

Our staff has combined over 60 years of studio practice and ceramics experience across a wide range of styles and techniques.

Personally I have worked in clay for 10 years as a production potter, business owner, studio manager, teacher, and now in clay sales and marketing. I’ve been blessed by the opportunity to apprentice clay artists, juror exhibitions, and make pottery for both middle school art classes and James Beard award winning restaurants alike. I find it humbling and exciting that my pots travelled as far abroad as the fjords of Norway, the deserts of Oman, and the snows of Antarctica (seriously!). I don’t share my experiences to boast, but to assure you that you are in knowledgeable hands. When I first started making pots I remember being lost trying to sort through information on how to start a pottery; searching across the web for any scrap of blog or YouTube video clip that related to my circumstances. I am grateful for this opportunity to share my hard-learned lessons, and my knowledge to help you hone your skills more quickly than I ever dreamed of.  I only wish that this blog would have been available 10 years ago, but as they say about the best time to plant a tree, so it is also true with pottery resource blogs!

In the coming weeks here is what you can expect:

Every Wednesday a member of our staff will publish a new blog post centered on starting your own successful home studio. On the Thursday following each new blog publication at 1pm EST we will host a live video broadcast on our Instagram where we will discuss that week’s topic in more detail, and accept questions from viewers about how they can apply that information to their specific studio situations. We will also be offering special savings, discounts, and previews from upcoming blog posts through our newsletter that you will not want to miss. You can sign up to receive those here.

            We are so excited to strike out on this new adventure, and we look forward to being a resource for our clay community. I can’t express my gratitude enough for all the potters, sculptors, crafters, and makers who have supported Clay King throughout the years, and we look forward to giving back in this small way. Don’t forget to log onto Instagram tomorrow at 1pm EST to hear more about Studio Startup. There you can ask any questions you might have and propose topics that you want to learn about- we need your feedback!  Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing you in-person tomorrow!

6 thoughts on “Studio Startup!

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  1. Not only did you experience increased sales last year, but as a potter and gallery owner I had the largest 4th quarter sales in over 23 years! Whether it was due to people taking to heart “shop local” or the fact that I produced more pottery during the months of quarantine shutdown for my business – i was so encouraged that I should keep going – no matter the challenges.

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  2. I have just moved from SC to NC and am about to begin the process of setting up a studio in a detached two car garage. I have a lot of ideas and equipment, but am torn between establishing a studio and actually getting my hands back in clay. With the past year of covid issues, preparing a house for sale, searching for, buying and moving to a new house have sadly taken me away from clay. I need some focus! I am looking forward to the opportunity offered by this Clay-King Blog!

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    1. We understand the challenge of setting up a new studio. Thank you for sharing your situation, and we look forward to being able to serve in any way we can. Let us know if there’s any specific topic you need covered and we will try to address it!

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