Despite its rich arts scene, Bristol is lacking professional studio space for ceramicists. Clay Shed’s creators – Steve Sales, Alice Shields, David Chilton and Louise Blois – hope that they will fill this gap with an old cabinetmaker’s warehouse that they have been transforming since late September.
They say the unit has potential, but after being untouched for the last ten years it is an expensive process. Kilns, for example, cost upward of £3,000 and must be purchased for the Clay Shed to become fully functioning.
“Running classes and providing opportunities for people to experience clay is an essential part of Clay Shed’s ethos,” Steve told Bristol24/7. The team are looking into running classes as creative outreach opportunities, offering free programmes or working with schools, but emphasised the need for funding.
They say they also hope to use the space to further develop the area’s creative scene by inviting visiting artists and critics, and hosting artistic demonstrations.
The renovation plans for the building involve creating personal studios, glazing and kiln facilities, a communal kitchen and 24 hour access. The friends hope this will foster a new creative community in the former industrial building.
So far, £2,375 has been raised but the team hope to get £12,000 by December 17.
They are also using this as an opportunity to give people experiences with clay, by offering limited edition rewards in exchange for donations of £25 or more. The £100 ‘Oh My Love’ reward, a romantic pot throwing session for two, has so far been the most popular with half of the rewards already claimed.
For a £1,000 donation, supporters can claim the ‘Bull in a China Shop’ experience. A china shop will be recreated in the studio, and organisers promise “the opportunity to vent your anger on a range of ceramic wares to a soundtrack of your choice”. Hammer, goggles and horns are included.
Find out more and contribute to the Clay Shed crowdfunding campaign by visiting www.crowdfunder.co.uk/clay-shed-bristol—a-professional-ceramic-studio#start