Pottery studio at the makerspace

  • Hi Makerspace!
    I’m Caroline, the Kamloops Arts Council’s arts outreach coordinator. I’m hoping to help the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Clubhouse find a space where their members could go to do some pottery (in particular, wheel-throwing and firings). I was wondering if you, Makerspace, might possibly be interested in working in partnership to set up a pottery studio at your site. My idea was that the CMHA Clubhouse and myself could help get the equipment/supplies (I’m a potter and have a wheel and possibly a kiln to donate myself, the arts council has said they can do a supplies/equipment call-out in their newsletter and the CMHA Clubhouse may have some money they can contribute towards this also). Then the pottery studio could be part of Makerspace (used on the regular by your members etc), with the members of the CMHA Clubhouse having access to it as a group perhaps a few times a month (at times that you and the CMHA Clubhouse have arranged).
    Thank-you all! And don’t hesitate to get in touch - any ideas, suggestions and feedback is welcomed! outreach@kamloopsarts.ca

    [whoisin title=(If the makerspace had a pottery studio, would you use it?) iamin=(Yes I would!)]

    Let us know what you think about this offer and if you think we should move forward and find the way to set up a shared pottery studio.

  • Linux

    Absolutely in favor. Might need some discussion/navigation around the kiln, but a worthwhile collaboration!

    Learning and working on learning more!


  • I think that’s a great idea. If there was an intro to pottery workshop I would be there :)

  • I suggested that they would rent one of the rooms upstairs for $600 and setup the pottery studio, but sounds like they can not do this right now. Here is the latest reply I got from Caroline:

    I just heard back from the CMHA Clubhouse and, although they would love to rent a room, unfortunately $600/month wouldn’t be possible within their budget.

    At the moment, they have a few hundred dollars that they can contribute towards equipment. If we would like to move ahead, one option is if Makerspace itself decides it would like to have a pottery studio, then the CMHA Clubhouse and myself (through personal and arts council donations) could provide the equipment and supplies for this. Then, if Makerspace thinks this is a fair trade, perhaps in exchange for providing all of the equipment/supplies the CMHA members could be given access to the pottery studio once or twice a month, at times that work for both organizations.

    I know that we have a rule strictly against using donations for paying membership. But if their access times are specific perhaps we could make something work.

    I think our biggest challenge would be finding the space to do pottery comfortably.

    I am personally biased toward having the studio here because I am very interested in learning pottery myself. However, unless there is a significant need for having the pottery studio and it would be used by a large percentage of our members, I think we should leave it for now. If you think we should have it let us know now.

  • A kiln, if set up for such things is also useful for metal casting, forging, tempering and glass work. I had plans to build something along those lines anyway once we had a safe place to set up. Talk to @Kimberely about an intro to pottery workshop.

  • Holder

    This sounds like a great way to consolidate community resources, if only there was a way for makerspace to house workspaces for every type of craft…

  • Founder

    I really like the idea. It would be cool to get it upstairs, and its too bad that it doesn’t fit with our mandate of making our building financially solvent this year.

    How much space is required? I haven’t heard an exact notion of this, other than a list of equipment. I can fit all my tools in my bedroom, but then they would be useless without workspace.

    What about reaching out to the local pottery community. Do they have a need for more space? Perhaps there are potters looking for a studio to rent by the hour, or to run workshops out of? If the arts council does not have the budget, perhaps there are others that do, and we can create a co-op space upstairs that will cover its rent.

    I have floated this same model to some photographers I know. I know there are hourly rental photo-studios in town, but perhaps there is enough market to add another? Perhaps the allure of having cool subjects would draw in some of the market that uses the other space?

    I think I have heard that there is a co-op or hourly rental space in town for pottery? Is this true? If so, maybe contact them, find out how big the market is? Is it bigger than the resources that already exist? Or perhaps there is a group that uses an hourly space, but would be more interested in a co-op style model in a new space? Or again, perhaps there is an allure to mixing medias that KM can offer?

    Having no idea what I’m talking about, I’d say that you could perhaps cram a pottery studio in the corner of the wood shop. However, I think that dust would be a big issue?

    Is there room in the back corner of the metal shop once it is all organized? And is there a conflict between those mediums? If the kiln is useful for forgery as @pierre suggests, then maybe that is the place being that the kiln can do double duty?

  • Hi everyone, this is Caroline - thought I’d make an account so I can join in the conversation :)

    Firstly thank-you all for your input and openness to this collaboration! It sounds like there are some great ideas/ interest for pottery at Makerspace.

    In response to Bradley Maker - I’m sorry for any confusion, I should have better explained my role in this project. I work with the Kamloops Arts Council, but if this project were to move ahead it would actually be a collaboration between the Canadian Mental Health Association Clubhouse and Makerspace (the CMHA members have expressed a lot of interest in making pottery, so I’m just hoping to help provide equipment and connect them with another group or facility that could work with them to make this happen).

    As it stands, the CMHA Clubhouse doesn’t have much space for a kiln and other equipment on site at their location - so I was wondering, if Makerspace would like a pottery studio itself, whether a partnership between the Mental Health Clubhouse and Makerspace might benefit both groups (wherein Makerspace could be provided with pottery equipment to keep and use and then the Mental Health Association members could schedule to come in as a group once or twice a month to just use the pottery studio). However, I completely understand Makerspace’s policy regarding not using equipment donations to pay for memberships fees/access to the building.

    I’m not sure if this would be a viable alternative, but I was just thinking too if there is an area outside/behind Makerspace where a kiln could be placed, perhaps we could donate a kiln that could be used by both Makerspace members and the CMHA members at scheduled times (so membership keys/access to the building wouldn’t be an issue). I know some of the Clubhouse members are very keen builders, so could possibly help build an overhang or small covering to keep the kiln dry if that would be helpful. This might also be a good way to provide a safe and ventilated area for the kiln. Then, if Makerspace would also like a studio, any additional pottery equipment donations (such as a wheel, tools, wedging/hand-building table etc), could be donated directly to the Makerspace and the Clubhouse could look at paying membership fees if they would like to access this additional equipment inside the building.

    Also, in response to the question about other community pottery studios - yes, I believe the Kamloops arts and crafts club has kilns and a full pottery studio. However, I think the arts and crafts club space is restricted to member potters who have taken a recent class at Kamloops Arts & Crafts Club, so I imagine having a pottery studio (perhaps with community workshops offered) at Makerspace would be quite a draw for the community.

    Anyways, just a few ideas and, regardless of whether this works out at this time, thank-you all so much for the time and thought you’re putting into this :)


  • There’s a spot behind the building that we discussed setting up for blacksmithing, casting, and other hot work… Currently it is uneven dirt with grass, and mostly used by random people who are not members of the makerspace to smoke, hang out, and do illicit activities. We’d like to put a stop to that.

    In order to turn it into a good hot-work area though, we’d need to grade the dirt, put down some sort of fire-protective surface, build a sheltered area, and secure it with a fence of some sort. Probably a fence topped with wire, since we’d have liability issues if we had a kiln or furnace in there… That sort of gear stays hot for many hours. We can’t have it exposed to random people going back there for a smoke and burning themselves on a glass-melting hot kiln. We also need anything out there to not get stolen or exposed to thermal shock (leaking roof etc) Dripping water into a pot of molten metal is incredibly dangerous.

    Conclusion we came to back in August when some of the MËtÄL! room folks discussed it was that it would have to wait until next summer at least. Combination of funds, time, supplies, and better use of our efforts to get the existing facilities squared away. Personally, there’s little I’d like better than to have a dedicated space with a big old-iron anvil, and a forge to bring a chunk of steel up to temperature and beat it with a hammer until I’m too tired to be frustrated about anything any more. I know of no better way to relieve stress than that. But the vulture is a patient bird, and I am prepared to wait until everything falls into place rather than rushing such a job.

Log in to reply