A Visit to Cynthia Giachetti’s Spacious Ceramic Studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Our studio visit posts have been a hit and we haven’t done one in a while, so I figured it was about time we did. Today, we’ll pay a visit to ceramic sculptor Cynthia Giachetti’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana, studio. In addition to great photos of her spacious (but hot) studio, her work, and her canine buddy Cody, Cynthia shares insights into her career as a working ceramic artist. Look for the full article in an upcoming issue of Ceramics Monthly! Enjoy! Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


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Ceramic installation by Cynthia Giachetti.

Ceramic installation by Cynthia Giachetti.

Just the Facts

Clay
porcelain or earthenwarePrimary forming method
handbuilding and slip casting

Primary firing temperature
cone 6

Favorite surface treatment

cone 6 handmade glazes

Favorite tools
Test
kiln. Part of my process is doing many glaze tests. I’m very specific
about finding a ceramic surface that mimics the surface on
architectural or domestic found objects.

Most-used piece of equipment
my two kilns


Detail of ceramic installation by Cynthia Giachetti.

Detail of ceramic installation by Cynthia Giachetti.

Studio
I work in and own a home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My studio is in a separate 550-square-foot garage with two large barn-style doors in the front that allow for light, with a back entrance to my garden. It is very spacious and allows room for four large tables with storage shelves underneath, two sets of wall shelves for glazes and greenware, as well as my two kilns. There are also wide areas of wall space to do drawings and mock installations. Having this space is extremely important for my process, since I am a project-based installation artist. Each table in my studio is designated for specific tools and tasks, like forming, glazing, painting, restoring, and arranging. Often, I have many aspects of my projects working at the same time, and having the table spaces allows me to stay focused and organized.My favorite aspect of the studio is the size, and its location right outside the door of my home. This makes it very convenient to come into the house and take a break for lunch or surf the Internet.

My least favorite aspect is not having enough light. Also, there is no heat and very poor air conditioning. Baton Rouge is humid in the summer, so I recently installed an electric window air conditioner that helps just enough to keep me from overheating. Unfortunately, if the AC is on, the large barn doors have to be closed and this severely cuts down on the natural light. My studio goes from being open, bright, and sunny, to enclosed and cavelike, which can have an effect on my mood. Although the winters here are usually mild, I often have to close the doors to stay warm. Last winter was unusually cold with 14 days straight of freezing temperatures. I had to bundle up and clothes pin a heating pad on my back so I wouldn’t stiffen up. Walking around was difficult because I had to watch out behind me for the trailing cord. When it is cold, I’ve also glazed my work in the kitchen inside my house. Of course I dream of having a bright, slick, air-controlled studio; however, I’m very grateful to have a spacious place to work.

Paying Dues (and Bills)
I received my BFA in visual art from University of California at Davis in 2002, where I studied both painting and ceramics. I received my MFA in visual art from Louisiana State University in 2007. My work during graduate school had an emphasis on performance, materiality and process. Now I work part time at Baton Rouge Community College where I have taught 3D design, 2D design, and introduction to visual art.

Cynthia Giachetti's pomeranian Cody poses outside her ceramics studio.

Cynthia Giachetti’s pomeranian Cody poses outside her ceramics studio.

Body
My back often hurts and I find walking every day with my pomeranian, Cody, helps correct my posture and relieve tension. Being out in nature also reduces my stress level and gives me time to think. There are two lakes near my home that are perfect for strolling around. There are badgers, frogs, turtles, and many different species of birds that either pass by or make their home around these lakes.I currently have no health insurance and try to be careful and take good care of myself. I’m hoping that I will eventually find a full-time teaching position that will provide that benefit for me.

Pieces in process by Cynthia Giachetti.

Pieces in process by Cynthia Giachetti.

Marketing
I don’t have a website because it is currently under construction, but I don’t usually sell my work online. I am a member of the artaxis.org website and have a few images posted as well as a r©sum©, and artist statement. My MFA thesis show can be seen online, search for Cynthia Giachetti, “What Remains.”I sell my work mostly out of my studio and through galleries and designers. Making a product and the sales of my work don’t necessarily motivate me, although it’s nice when a collector buys one of my pieces.

Most Valuable Lesson
Art can be a vehicle for hope and change. As a nation we have witnessed so much loss with the damage suffered after Hurricane Katrina, the economic crisis, and the current environmental disaster we now face on the Gulf Coast. These events are very much a part of our collective consciousness. These circumstances have challenged our belief system but also forced us as a community to come together to help one another. Through my art I have learned so much about my surrounding environment and myself, which has left an indelible mark on my spirit.



Comments
  • Cindy’s work is incredible. Baton Rouge is so lucky to have her.

  • Cindy’s work is incredible. Baton Rouge is so lucky to have her.

  • Thank you Ceramic Monthly for visiting my studio! The article looks great! Thank you for your support. I love your magazine.

    Cynthia Giachetti

  • Thank you Ceramic Monthly for visiting my studio! The article looks great! Thank you for your support. I love your magazine.

    Cynthia Giachetti

  • Cynthia’s work is amazing and beautiful, and here, in the UK, I just cannot imagine having a studio in Baton Rouge. I would love to visit some day.

  • Cynthia’s work is amazing and beautiful, and here, in the UK, I just cannot imagine having a studio in Baton Rouge. I would love to visit some day.

  • How inspiring! To me it is obvious that your joyous spirit has left an indelible mark on your work!

  • How inspiring! To me it is obvious that your joyous spirit has left an indelible mark on your work!

  • Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing your space with us. It’s always enlightening to see how other artists get their work done!

  • Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing your space with us. It’s always enlightening to see how other artists get their work done!

  • As a former Baton Rouge resident I understand your climate challenges and enjoyed the tour of your studio and your statement. Thanks you.
    Toni

  • As a former Baton Rouge resident I understand your climate challenges and enjoyed the tour of your studio and your statement. Thanks you.
    Toni

  • Your work looks light and delicate, lovely and inspiring. I enjoyed the garden-side photo of your studio. Thanks for sharing.

  • Your work looks light and delicate, lovely and inspiring. I enjoyed the garden-side photo of your studio. Thanks for sharing.

  • Beautiful work! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Beautiful work! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • As light is VERY important to me especially north light, I understand your dilema. Try putting a north facing skylight in – could just be a second hand window with proper sealing around it. Also there are small electric heaters filled with some kind of oil which give ambient heat and will keep you warm on those few freezing days. I have both in my studio, thank heavens.

  • As light is VERY important to me especially north light, I understand your dilema. Try putting a north facing skylight in – could just be a second hand window with proper sealing around it. Also there are small electric heaters filled with some kind of oil which give ambient heat and will keep you warm on those few freezing days. I have both in my studio, thank heavens.

  • The work is very delicate and beautiful. I was wondering how the flower stems are supported since there is a picture of a fixture on its side.

  • The work is very delicate and beautiful. I was wondering how the flower stems are supported since there is a picture of a fixture on its side.

  • Cynthia,
    Thank you for sharing your space and work with us at Ceramic Arts Daily. Seeing your studio reminds me of my own, especially, the heat and cold aspect of the studio. I would love to see your work and studio in person and feel the pictures do not do it justice.
    Looking forward in reading your entire article in the next CM.

    Ann here in hot and humid Maryland!

  • Cynthia,
    Thank you for sharing your space and work with us at Ceramic Arts Daily. Seeing your studio reminds me of my own, especially, the heat and cold aspect of the studio. I would love to see your work and studio in person and feel the pictures do not do it justice.
    Looking forward in reading your entire article in the next CM.

    Ann here in hot and humid Maryland!

  • Thank you for sharing your studio, it’s always interesting to see how someone else does it. I was curious to hear more about your kilns. Two? what kind? Thanks again, Ruty

  • Thank you for sharing your studio, it’s always interesting to see how someone else does it. I was curious to hear more about your kilns. Two? what kind? Thanks again, Ruty

  • Oh dear! here I am in California and I complain how cold it is…..I cannot imagine wearing that heating pad with clothes pins….oh how funny!…..but, you are truly an inspiration … there is no reason not to get out there and DO IT….thank you….I will not whine anymore!

    Sharon Zachary

  • Oh dear! here I am in California and I complain how cold it is…..I cannot imagine wearing that heating pad with clothes pins….oh how funny!…..but, you are truly an inspiration … there is no reason not to get out there and DO IT….thank you….I will not whine anymore!

    Sharon Zachary

  • I have received much interesting information from this web site. Thank you for giving us an insight to other potters world. Out here in the middle of the pacific……..our world is a bit small. For some reason the last video about throwing with sodium silicate would not down load on my computer. Did anyone else have this problem? Jan Bovard

  • I have received much interesting information from this web site. Thank you for giving us an insight to other potters world. Out here in the middle of the pacific……..our world is a bit small. For some reason the last video about throwing with sodium silicate would not down load on my computer. Did anyone else have this problem? Jan Bovard

  • I think the most important part of this story are the various aspects/ facets of Cynthia’s “evolution”.. How she has “navigated” to build on her studies and develop her work. Her lifestyle issues and as well as business realities are very interesting to keep in mind.

  • I think the most important part of this story are the various aspects/ facets of Cynthia’s “evolution”.. How she has “navigated” to build on her studies and develop her work. Her lifestyle issues and as well as business realities are very interesting to keep in mind.

  • The image of your light fixture brings to mind one of my favorite artists here in Philadelphia, Warren Muller. I was fortunate enough to take a workshop at Peters Valley with him a few years back. Check out his images: http://www.bahdeebahdu.com/light_sculptures/
    I look forward to seeing more of your work!

  • The image of your light fixture brings to mind one of my favorite artists here in Philadelphia, Warren Muller. I was fortunate enough to take a workshop at Peters Valley with him a few years back. Check out his images: http://www.bahdeebahdu.com/light_sculptures/
    I look forward to seeing more of your work!

  • Janice,
    I, too, had problems with the video with the sodium silicate. I was able to see some of the video, then lost it. Never was able to get it back.

  • Janice,
    I, too, had problems with the video with the sodium silicate. I was able to see some of the video, then lost it. Never was able to get it back.

  • Kay? Wow!
    Love the work of Warren Muller. Very imaginative! thanks, I haven’t seen his work before.

  • Kay? Wow!
    Love the work of Warren Muller. Very imaginative! thanks, I haven’t seen his work before.

  • If your body hurts, I highly recommend massage. Look for someone that does myo-fascial. We have specialists of all sorts, but name a muscle doctor for me. None. A myo-fascial specialist is the muscle doctor. These people go to school like a doctor and study the muscles.

    I had gotten so bad that I could barely walk and thought I would end up in a wheelchair. It took 8 months of painful massage to work out my areas that needed attention. I have learned so much, I can’t put it all here about what they do and how it works. Now, 5 years later, I only need massage if I do too much. I have even learned how to do some myself for maintenance. Diet is important, but so is making sure your muscles are taken care of the proper way. It is not a feel good massage. It hurts! But it is what you need to get your muscles back to functioning properly.

  • If your body hurts, I highly recommend massage. Look for someone that does myo-fascial. We have specialists of all sorts, but name a muscle doctor for me. None. A myo-fascial specialist is the muscle doctor. These people go to school like a doctor and study the muscles.

    I had gotten so bad that I could barely walk and thought I would end up in a wheelchair. It took 8 months of painful massage to work out my areas that needed attention. I have learned so much, I can’t put it all here about what they do and how it works. Now, 5 years later, I only need massage if I do too much. I have even learned how to do some myself for maintenance. Diet is important, but so is making sure your muscles are taken care of the proper way. It is not a feel good massage. It hurts! But it is what you need to get your muscles back to functioning properly.

  • Thank you for the VIEW of your studio, with great TABLES and LIGHT! I am figuring on making a “conversation spot” to display some of my work to ‘hopeful’ customers in my big cluttered barn, and your place gives me many ideas. Thank you !

  • Thank you for the VIEW of your studio, with great TABLES and LIGHT! I am figuring on making a “conversation spot” to display some of my work to ‘hopeful’ customers in my big cluttered barn, and your place gives me many ideas. Thank you !

  • Thank you everyone for your kind words and suggestions!

    be well,
    Cynthia

  • Thank you everyone for your kind words and suggestions!

    be well,
    Cynthia

  • I like the idea of a skylight but really a couple of large windows, that don’t have to open would be a great idea. You could use 2nd hand windows and put them in your doors! Thanks for your inspiration!
    Sincerely,
    Jean

  • I like the idea of a skylight but really a couple of large windows, that don’t have to open would be a great idea. You could use 2nd hand windows and put them in your doors! Thanks for your inspiration!
    Sincerely,
    Jean

  • Your work is wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

  • Your work is wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

  • What amazing work – I think it is wonderful! My temporary studio is in a garage here in rural Suffolk in the UK and I know what you mean by it being cold! Thanks for sharing your work.

    Sincerely

    Mariam

  • What amazing work – I think it is wonderful! My temporary studio is in a garage here in rural Suffolk in the UK and I know what you mean by it being cold! Thanks for sharing your work.

    Sincerely

    Mariam

  • Lovely stuff, Cynthia. I share the heat with you here in Gonzales. It was nice to see such nice work from someone local for a change. Maybe someday I can see your work in person? Fran

  • Lovely stuff, Cynthia. I share the heat with you here in Gonzales. It was nice to see such nice work from someone local for a change. Maybe someday I can see your work in person? Fran

  • Oh dear, it looks like I have missed the video as it may have been removed. I also live in an exteme climate with temperatures ranging from -6deg C to 45degC. Maybe yours is worse? I also have a quadruple garage space with barn doors. In summer I hang wet hessian in the open doorways and find that together with fans it works quite well but I also rely on good fluorescent lighting, even with the doors open. I am loathe to put in windows in my doors both for aesthetic reasons as well as the fact that they will let in the heat. (We don’t have double glazing as a rule here!) Then in winter I have a rather strange fireplace but it cost me next to nothing. It is a 40 gal drum which has the bottom cut out and raised on bricks. A grid has been welded to the bottom of the drum. Then a little hinged door has been cut to stick the firewood in. It has an old pipe for a flue and heats my studio so well, I prefer to be working there at night rather than being in the house on a cold night. Luckily for me my husband is a builder but its not that difficult to make or install if someone handy is willing to help. My dog used to love it!
    I live in a picturesque little town called Barrydale, in South Africa, 3 hours from Cape Town. You may be interested to look at a thriving chandelier business we have here which uses recycled junk, by the name of Magpie. In 2009, 2 chandeliers were bought from the Rockefellar Centre and are hanging in the White House – I believe in President Obama’s daughter’s bedrooms. Here is the link if interested http://www.magpiehomefineware.co.za/
    I’m hoping I find the video of your studio! The comments are enticing!

  • Oh dear, it looks like I have missed the video as it may have been removed. I also live in an exteme climate with temperatures ranging from -6deg C to 45degC. Maybe yours is worse? I also have a quadruple garage space with barn doors. In summer I hang wet hessian in the open doorways and find that together with fans it works quite well but I also rely on good fluorescent lighting, even with the doors open. I am loathe to put in windows in my doors both for aesthetic reasons as well as the fact that they will let in the heat. (We don’t have double glazing as a rule here!) Then in winter I have a rather strange fireplace but it cost me next to nothing. It is a 40 gal drum which has the bottom cut out and raised on bricks. A grid has been welded to the bottom of the drum. Then a little hinged door has been cut to stick the firewood in. It has an old pipe for a flue and heats my studio so well, I prefer to be working there at night rather than being in the house on a cold night. Luckily for me my husband is a builder but its not that difficult to make or install if someone handy is willing to help. My dog used to love it!
    I live in a picturesque little town called Barrydale, in South Africa, 3 hours from Cape Town. You may be interested to look at a thriving chandelier business we have here which uses recycled junk, by the name of Magpie. In 2009, 2 chandeliers were bought from the Rockefellar Centre and are hanging in the White House – I believe in President Obama’s daughter’s bedrooms. Here is the link if interested http://www.magpiehomefineware.co.za/
    I’m hoping I find the video of your studio! The comments are enticing!

  • Oh my God!!!I felt in love with Cynthia’s studio!!!!!!

  • Oh my God!!!I felt in love with Cynthia’s studio!!!!!!

  • 我真的很喜欢,我希望和你们釉更多的交流,有机会我会把我的工作室和我做的陶艺给你们看看,一起讨论

  • 我真的很喜欢,我希望和你们釉更多的交流,有机会我会把我的工作室和我做的陶艺给你们看看,一起讨论

  • I realize that I am months behind in commenting only I just found this post today. What a great studio space and your work is so amazing. Very inspirational. Also, I love that your dog Cody shares your studio with you – I’m very happy to have my dog Dante keep me company in mine.

  • I realize that I am months behind in commenting only I just found this post today. What a great studio space and your work is so amazing. Very inspirational. Also, I love that your dog Cody shares your studio with you – I’m very happy to have my dog Dante keep me company in mine.

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