A Look Into the Studio of Ceramic Sculptor Erin Furimsky, Plus a Reminder About Our Studio Tour Video Contest!

Greetings Ceramic Arts Daily readers! Today, I thought I would send another shout-out about our Studio Tour Video Contest. In case you missed the first announcement, there’s a brand new pottery wheel up for grabs, thanks to Skutt Potters Wheels, for the potter/sculptor/amateur filmmaker who submits the most creative, fun, and informative video tour of his or her space. Think of it as the ceramics world’s version of MTV Cribs. See the complete details on the contest here!

And to get you thinking about what sorts of things you might focus on in your cinematic masterpiece, I am presenting an excerpt from the Ceramics Monthly (in-print) Studio Visit series. Today, ceramic sculptor Erin Furimsky tells us a little about her ceramic crib. Look for the complete article in an upcoming issue of Ceramics Monthly. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

The Studio
Adequate studio space was a huge priority when making the decision to purchase our home six years ago. The house is a single story bungalow with a large footprint providing for a substantial basement studio.Because my studio is in my home it allows me to work in the studio as much as I possibly can. Between teaching and having a three-year old son, it would be very hard to find large blocks of time needed to drive or bike to a studio at another location. Not to mention the motivation. It is much easier to simply walk downstairs during my son’s naptime to get some work done.My other favorite aspect is my studiomate/husband Tyler Lotz. It’s great to have him there to bounce ideas off of, but often we just work in the quiet company of each other.

Oddly enough my least favorite aspect of my studio is also the accessibility. Because my time in the studio is so precious and it is in such close proximity, I constantly feel that I should be working every chance I get. Therefore I have problems just relaxing, getting other necessary things done and sometimes feeling a real balance in daily life. However, I feel the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Ultimately, I would prefer my studio space to be above ground in a separate building, but on my property. More natural light would be lovely.

I am surprisingly simple with what I need in the studio. I do find that my banding wheel allows for me to see my work well and have good posture when working. Of course, my test kiln is used frequently and is an essential tool in my studio practice.

Body and Mind
I am an incredibly active and physical person and that is one of the elements that attracted me to working with clay in the first place. I love running marathons and also do some weight training and yoga. Those things keep my body strong enough so I rarely get fatigued in the studio. While working, I focus on good posture and I periodically stretch out my hands and wrists.I am working my way through Breaking the Mould: New Approaches to Ceramics, by Rob Barnard, Natasha Daintry, and Clare Twomey. The book is nice, because it is broken up into short sections profiling different artists from around the world. Also, I just started For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women, by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English Right. The book breaks down the constraints placed on women in the name of science from a medical, psychological, and social perspective. Coincidentally, some of the information nicely parallels the reading I have been doing about natural childbirth.

I prefer to sell my work through galleries and not-for-profit venues. I have exhibited work at SOFA Chicago, the Dubhe Carreno Gallery in Chicago, Santa Fe Clay, and other venues. I have an upcoming exhibition at Plinth Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

I find it very difficult to keep up with a website. I am not very interested in computers and do not enjoy spending long hours working on them. A friend graciously created a site for me about five years ago. Unfortunately, it was too complicated for me to update on my own. I will soon have a new site that hopefully solves that problem, will be straightforward, and easy to navigate.

Most Valuable Lesson
I have learned to be dedicated and hard working because being an artist is not easy. Emotionally, it can be incredibly exhilarating and crushing at other times. It has taught me to be in the present, because if I am not, the work suffers. I know I am often in the present and simply enjoy making, because I will leave the studio after a good day and feel complete. An exciting day in my studio can be more rewarding than getting a successful piece out of the kiln or a professional opportunity. In the end, it has taught me how important it is that I love what I do. If you do not, it is not worth doing.

To see more images of Erin Furimsky’s work, please visit www.erinfurimsky.com.

  • Beatriz Gusmao S.

    Moro numa pequena chácara situada na região da Mata Atlantica, aqui em
    Maceíó – Al. Brasil. Tudo aqui é muito dificíl, pois não temos fornecedores, e quase nenhum ceramista. Tenho que aprender a produzir tudo, desde massas, engobes, esmaltes, etc., enfim… o que isso pode trazer, e unicamente, é nos obrigar a usar melhor a imaginação…

  • Dariush G.

    My name is Darius and I’m potter, painter & also an international chef.
    I want to move to USA and I’ve decided to rent a studio, But I need to some information about this job in US.
    In Iran that I lived gas and electricity is cheap. Of course gas is cheaper. And sometimes potters as a job can use industry gas that it’s mean they can pay less than people who use gas in their houses.
    Now point is here, having a gas kiln is economy or electricity kiln?
    Is there any cheaper industry gas or electricity for potter as a job?
    Thanks for someone who answer me and anything else to know.

    E-mail: Dariush_golmohammadi@Yahoo.com

  • Linda F.

    I loved what you wrote Jean. It’s called getting older and smarter and I too share your thoughts as I too am definitly not an old fogy but I am older and much, much wiser now. I don’t let the guilt of doing or not doing my thing influence me as it once did.
    Jean is 150% right and I hope you younger women out there are paying attention. As the saying goes,”we grow to soon old and to late smart”. But, you can turn that around now!!!!

  • I omitted to say that my studio is adjoined to our house! That is why I could empathise with you finding yours a bit too accessible in a way.

  • Thanks for sharing Erin. I totally understand about the ‘accessibility’ challenge. I am really fortunate to have a huge studio in the country in South Africa, where I have been teaching for a year and slowly have started getting my own work going. Its a lovely setting and I am truly grateful for my blessings. As I am a lot older than you with adult kids, I wondered if I had anything valuable to pass on to you. Maybe. Its taken me a while to get over that ‘should be working’ thing. Women are particularly prone to trying to be all things to all people so perhaps this is a good place to start. Its helpful to do the life-pie. Divide your life up into slices and see how much time you are allocating for your needs – emotional, spiritual& physical, and your duties – wife, mother, provider. I find counting how many hours I have spent in the studio is better than setting definite working times as one has more creative energy some days than others. If I have really worked into the wee hours, and I sleep late or don’t feel like the studio in the morning, so be it. This has helped me to deal with guilty feelings and I’ll give myself permission to do chores, read or garden for a while. I also find using ‘going to my place of work’ language helps. I actually tell my husband that I won’t be taking calls or visitors and have watched as respect for my work has grown. Then I realised its an inner attitude towards myself that is now manifesting on the outside and a routine seemed to follow where I am working pretty regularly.
    Well, I probably sound like an old fogey (I’m not!) but I am passionate about younger women claiming their space and not waiting till they are older to do so. You sound like a lovely person and your work is inspiring. Best of luck.

  • I moved from our basement to the hayloft of our bankbarn and it is PERFECT! I’m not “in” the house, so I don’t get distracted, but i’m only a short walk away. I can close up and walk out without worrying about “in-progress works” being in the way. I am the luckiest woman I know!!

  • Carole S.

    Your “most valuable lesson” makes me smile….widely! I enjoy your work…not just ‘altered’ but deconstructed & reconstructed to become new forms.

    My last studio was in my home. I am currently in limbo (waiting for house to sell) and working at a wonderful arts center. My next studio will be in my backyard….separate building….so as to not get distracted which is my problem. However, I think you have found an ideal situation at this time in your life.

  • Dear Joe, All sentebes are worth something to learn about. Which ones the last three sebtenses you are talking about? – are they – “I know I am often in the present and simply enjoy making, because I will leave the studio after a good day and feel complete. An exciting day in my studio can be more rewarding than getting a successful piece out of the kiln or a professional opportunity. In the end, it has taught me how important it is that I love what I do. If you do not, it is not worth doing”. — Its all the good.

  • I love the last three sentences. That truely is what it is all about.

  • Sofia S.

    I too work from home.It is the best way to do it!

  • Having a studio in my house was when my work really took off and when it went up several notches. Not only is it convenient for time management, but I have access to work the clay when the dryness is crutial and the same with controlling my firings because I am always there.

  • Linda M.

    I have my studio in my girl’s old bedroom. It is only 11′ by 12′. It is a small studio that I have to share with my husband’s gun cases, and trophy heads. But I plan on having one or two students to share the wonderful things I have learned over the years of playing with clay. I only have 2 wheels, but I am also interested in handbuilding sculputure, and thrown and altered objects.
    My studio is spread out into several rooms in my house. My husband works out of the home during the day, and my kids are grown, wich leaves me with the whole house to play withl
    I only wish I had the room thet ERin Furimsky has, I would have it all!

  • I am very much interested to have my own studio and alas I could work like Erin Furimsky, It must be a great experience. I m from India and a regular receiver of your daily feed. More I see it the more crazy I get about the ceramics. The kind of work the Ceramic Artists do there (in USA and elsewhere) is greative and unimaginative. It just turns me crazy. Erin Furimsky is lucky to have a stodio at home.

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