Lights, Camera, Action: Ceramic Arts Daily Announces Artist Studio Tour Video Contest

John Bauman works in his pottery studio, while his assistant "Breeze" looks on.After we posted our recent “Studio Visit” post with Jeff Campana and Patsy Cox, we received a lot of feedback asking for video tours of artists’ studios. We think this is a terrific idea and to make it even more interesting, we decided to have a contest to find the best video tours out there. And, best of all, Skutt has agreed to sponsor this contest by giving away a brand spanking new Skutt pottery wheel to the winner!

We’re looking for creative, friendly, personable, entertaining, humorous, interesting and informative video tours of the garages, barns, basements,
warehouses, lofts, closets, and porches that enable our readers to work
in clay. Videos should focus on the interesting things that make a studio or a method of working unique. For all the details on the contest, see the prospectus here.

Today, in addition to announcing this exciting contest, I am presenting another excerpt from Ceramics Monthly’s (in-print) Studio Visit Series to get you all thinking about what your videos might include. In this post, John Bauman gives us a glimpse into his pottery studio, a “teensy” oasis in an Indiana industrial park. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

John Bauman
Warsaw, Indiana
My home and studio sit on an acre in the industrial park of Warsaw, Indiana. Actually, the house was built in 1870 and is the center of what one hundred years later became the industrial park. So it’s a very odd property. It’s on the edge of town, has a forty-acre bean field and a horse farm across the street, but a ten-acres-under-one-roof communications warehouse behind it.

When my wife, Dar, and I moved here twenty years ago, we planted trees surrounding the property. Because of that planting, when we are in the shop or the home, we don’t have so much of a sense of being in an industrial park (see panoramic shot below).

A panoramic photo of John Bauman's home and pottery studio

A panoramic photo collage of John Bauman’s home and pottery studio

My main shop is a 24 X 32 feet finished (insulated, drywalled) pole building. Immediately behind that is my first, tiny kiln building – a 12 X 16-foot pole building, now a lean-to to the third building, another 24 X 32-foot unfinished pole barn that doubles as kiln building and cold storage. Behind the finished shop is a small concrete pad. In the summer, Dar often chooses to take her work outside and work in the open air on that pad, shaded by one of the many huge maples that grace our acre.Though sometimes I wish I had a bigger kiln (and the time to assemble the salt kiln I own that sits disassembled in the back yard), I actually chose to build (and am mostly happy with) two small kilns. Because of those small kilns, I can see work from start to finish inside of a week. That kind of immediacy is nearly impossible with bigger kilns. Did I mention that I’m not a patient person?

Hands down my least favorite aspect of my shop is that the space is too
small – way too small. And that “teensyness” is exacerbated by the fact
that the office is also in the shop. At some point (currently slated
for the day after I win the Hoosier Lotto), I intend to take down the
small kiln building and double the size of the shop, building toward
the back.

A panoramic photo inside the teensy pottery studio.

A panoramic photo inside the teensy pottery studio.

My favorite tool is no longer available (the company that made them closed) but it’s a combination inside/outside caliper that was made by a company
called California Pot Tools. They are plastic calipers that slide along
an aluminum/alloy ruler (complete with 1/16-inch markings). I’ve
never yet come across any other calipers that come close to creating
the perfect fitting lids that these help me make.Oh, and my other favorite shop equipment is an old guitar and a cheap mandolin hanging on the shop wall so I can take musical breaks whenever I feel like it. I feel like it often. Actually, my first love, art-wise, is music. I’ve never been “gifted” as a musician and I’m thankful that clay came along when
it did to give me an outlet that I both loved and could make a living
with. But my love for music has never diminished. Playing through just
a few songs is sometimes just enough of an escape from the pressures of
the day to help recharge me.

Click here for the complete prospectus on Ceramic Arts Daily’s
Studio Tour Video Contest!
You could win a Skutt pottery wheel!

  • I love the space.. I teach High School Ceramics.. Someday I will have my own space again.

  • Clearly, having such a dedicated studio assistant doesn’t hurt either.

  • A great use of compact space. At least you don’t have zoning issues for commercial or industrial use of your property! I might have a set of those calipers at the studio….I’ll check. I have a pair that sound like yours but have never figured out how to use them. Ann E. V.

  • oh, this is so cool… i recently met john at the st. james art fair in louisville and you wonder about what kind of space cranks out so much beautiful work. john, i love your house and i know the feature is not a house tour but i imagine it’s great inside. i half expected to see those two dogs running around the yard in the panoramic photo.

  • My prayers were FINALLY asnswered…visits to REAL studio potters shops and environments. SPECIAL THANKS

  • What a great idea, I am looking forward to seeing potters shops from across the pond. Mac from the UK.

  • working on a video presentation of our studio in the Italian countryside near Milan, I am recently firing raku for my holiday orders and will try and submit a bit of smoke and fire to warm things up. Trying to organize working vacations for potters to come to Italy in the springtime 2010….To show what an expat does in the beautiful Italian countryside.

  • Luis, that sounds great! please keep us informed, I am soooo hungry for something like that! We live in Saudi Arabia now and I’m trying to get a kiln, clay. etc, to start a studio again but nothing here…. Would like to attend your workshop!

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