Home Studio Tour

It's been a long time since my last post.   This year I've been inspired to show more of what goes into my work... a behind the scenes look at my life as a potter.  Whether "throwing" pots on the wheel or planting tomatoes in the garden, my hands always seem to be in the dirt and clay.  I hope to inspire you with a little bit of both.  I'd like to share favorite recipes alongside how I make certain ceramic dishes.  It's no surprise that my love for homegrown food goes right along with what that food is placed in.
Image by Honemade Photography
A few years ago I left my full time job as the studio manager and special event coordinator at what is now called Queen City Clay.  My personal work was starting to take off a bit and I needed the time and space to move forward.  It wasn't until the winter of last year that I moved into my home studio for good.  While the introvert side of me loves working in a more solitary space, my social side doesn't get quite the same action that it used to.  I'm hoping that with this blog I can open up to you online and get out some of these constant thoughts in my head.  If you have ever talked with me, you know that I love to talk shop and I love to hear about what's going on in your life...the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Tell me what's going on!  What would you like to see more of? What can I share with you???  I'm an open book over here and would love to help you with whatever I can on this wonderful journey we're sharing together.
Let's start with the basics... a tour around my small home studio.  Now you can get the grand view and know where I am while I do most of my creating.  Welcome to Bethany Rose Pottery - This is where the magic happens!
Most days start and end with the potter's wheel...That piece of equipment that got me hooked on clay from the very first day I sat down at the wheel during a Wheel 1 class at NKU in 2005.
Bethany Kramer handbuilding a "taco plate" serving tray.
But it doesn't stop there.  A good portion of my work is hand-built with slabs with the help of a slab roller. The roller flattens the clay out to a consistent thickness.  Handbuilding and wheel throwing are such nice compliments to each other.  The wheel can be so fast paced sometimes that it is nice to slow down and work with the clay in a more intimate way.
A lot of equipment goes into the pottery business these days.  For me I have two trusty-dusty electric kilns where a lot of the bisque firing takes place.  This firing takes the dried out clay form and turns it into a ceramic form - a chemical change that happens after 1100 degrees.  At this point the fired ceramic can never be turned back into clay.  I fire a little higher to what's called cone 04 (around 1900 degrees).
Once the pieces are bisqued, they are hard enough to hold firmly to glaze, but also porous enough the soak in a bit of the glaze so that it sticks to the form.  My glazing area consists of a repurposed countertop from my parents house, repurposed cabinets from our kitchen, and a bunch of five gallon buckets full of glaze.  When we started to remodel our house, the first thing to go were the cabinets in the kitchen.  I didn't know how I wanted the kitchen to be re-figured, but I knew that I had to have open shelves to showcase my collection of beautiful handmade pottery from friends.
Outside in the newly built kiln shed (huge thanks and shout out to my amazing family of builders for helping out the then pregnant potter during the entire construction) is the gas kiln.  After the work is glazed, it is transported on wareboards outside to the 31 cubic foot kiln.  This kiln holds a lot of work!  It's about three bisque kiln loads worth of work.  The firing takes about 12 hours and a couple of days to cool down after reaching 2300 degrees.
Last, but not least, I have a nice area to display my finished work. The cabinet comes from my Grandma and Grandpa's old house.  I love to reuse anything and everything I can.  First of all, it doesn't cost anything, but more importantly, there is so much more meaning behind it.  For me to hold on to an object, there has to be some kind of story behind it - I need that connection.  Maybe that's another reason why I'm so drawn to the ceramic arts.  Each piece has traveled on a journey.  Starting from a lump of clay to a functional item that you can hold in your hands to eat and drink out of - a wonderful continuation of the story.  Thanks for coming along with me on the studio tour.  With upcoming posts I'll try to expand on each section a bit more and give you an in depth look at my approach to creating.  See more of my finished work by clicking here. Now its time for me to get back to PLAYING IN THE DIRT!


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