My Workshop

I live in the countryside on the shores of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, on what was once a small freehold farm of approximately 3 acres. Apart from the main house, parts of which date back to the late 1700s, we have a couple of very old, different sized outbuildings which are used mainly as stores.

 

I converted what was formerly the double garage into what is now my workshop. The windows and door are recycled double glazed units I had kept back from renovations that we had carried out several years ago on our kitchen and conservatory at the main house. The builder as part of that work removed the double garage doors and built a couple of retaining walls to house the windows and doors that you see in the photo. I added the grey cladding later which I bought as part of an end of stock sale at a local building supplies.

Inside the workshop is where I have my wheel. I keep my kiln next door in what used to be an old byre/stable.

 

I stand at my wheel when I am throwing pots. Originally, like most people, I sat on a stool to throw. However after about a year my back went into a really painful spasm and I ended up basically crawling around on all fours for the best part of a week. When I finally got to a physiotherapist he said the problem was being caused by stooping and bending over the potters wheel. Ever since I have been standing whilst throwing and have not had any recurrence of back pain or stiffness since.

 

As you can see in the photos my wheel is raised about 20 inches/50 cm off the ground and rests on an old wooden pallet that I covered in roof slates left over from the renovation work. I built a couple of shelves around the wheel to enable me to have sponges and throwing tools etc to hand as I work.

Last week I finally added some left over black floor tiles to the wall behind the wheel to make it easier to clean up splashes and spills. If you look closely you can see the unevenness of the walls and how they lean outwards!!!

Work benches I custom built from concrete blocks and planking or used recycled old kitchen units. Last year I finally installed an old Belfast sink with running water. This has made a great difference to my work. Potters are constantly washing and cleaning throughout the day. Water is essential for all aspects of making a piece of pottery. Having running water available in the workshop as opposed to carrying  endless buckets of water back forth each day has made life infinitely easier!!

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