With an infant and a 2 year old, I did not have much time to work with clay, even though
I had installed a kiln and a wheel in my basement. This frustrated me at times, until I realized that when I was cooking, washing the dishes, or carpooling a group of tots to the nursery school, I was still thinking,planning and designing.
To give myself some uninterrupted time, I hired a sitter for about 3 hours two afternoons a
week. My basement workroom, which was about 8 by 8 feet was far from ideal. I used to joke that when I was doing laundry, I couldn’t work and when I was working, I couldn’t do laundry because the tops of the washer and dryer were used for pieces in process,but actually it was not a joke. I had shelving in the furnace room which meant that, until I learned how to prevent it , pieces dried unevenly and too fast leading to cracking or warping.
Nonetheless I was making progress with my work, entering some shows, selling a few pieces in local galleries and even doing a couple of art fairs.
I kept in touch with my friends at Pewabic and joined the Michigan Potters Association. This was an organization of about 100 people from all over the area. John Glick was the program chairperson and he had starting bringing in well known potters from all over the country to present two day workshops which were held at local colleges and were sometimes attended by over a hundred people. The MPA also had a yearly juried show at Pewabic.
I had a lot of concerns about the safety of the basement studio. I worried about exposing my family to fumes and dusts. We moved the kiln into the garage but that didn’t solve the other problems.
Finally I found a small inexpensive building not very far from the house. I was confident that I was already earning enough to pay for it on a land contract. In the back, it had a yard which became a playground for my children and a small concrete lean to where I installed the kiln. The main part of the building was about 900 square feet which gave me ample space for shelving and glazing. By this time, my youngest child was also in nursery school, so I had three short days a week that I could devote to work.
It was safe now for the children to come with me occasionally,though I tried not to overdo it so that they always thought it was fun to go there.
Even with basically the same amount of time, I found that I was producing a lot more,because I was no longer tripping over myself in a cramped space.