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The Making of an Art Studio

Before my life with Josh, I knew very little about ceramics. As a child, I used to go to a pottery store to paint cups, plates, and bowls and then pick them back up later, with my pottery all shiny and colorful. Mom, I know you still have a ton of pieces I made! But I realized as I started throwing pottery, there was so much more that goes into making this little piece of art I held.


A quick note: ceramics and pottery mean the same thing and sometimes get used interchangeably.


Josh and I sat down a few months ago and began to brainstorm our vision of a ceramics studio. Josh had been interested in ceramics most of his life. He started to get more seriously involved in his junior year of high school, using his ceramics and photography portfolio to get him accepted into SCAD in Atlanta for his undergraduate. What that meant to me: he knows a heck of a lot more than I do! As we brainstormed, I followed his lead on ideas, asking a million questions so that I could learn as we went.


Soon, February 2021 was upon us; we were ready to place our order. We needed to find a place that would furnish our studio (our throwing wheels, our kiln, etc.) and supply our studio (clay, tools, etc.). After a bit of searching, we landed on Carolina Clay Connection. Though their website may not be much, we knew they were a reputable source that has been around since 1995. So we placed our order. Upon ordering, we were told the same thing as everyone else: kilns were in high demand, and it would be months until a kiln would be ready. Well, bummer. It was a bit of a setback, but it wasn’t about to stop us!


The Heavy Haul


Soon, a month rolled by, and the first part of our order was ready! At this point, we were pretty thankful we invested in a pickup truck. We drove out to Charolette and loaded over 2,500lbs of clay into the truck bed, some glazes, and a few other smaller items.


Our Ford F-150, straining to carry the clay
Our Ford F-150, straining to carry the clay

The truck bed isn’t usually supposed to be that close to the tires! Carefully we drove back to Pittsboro with only minor scares.


After a month, Carolina Clay Connection had received more of our items. It was enough to warrant a drive to pick everything up. Once again, we hauled ourselves to Charolette. This pickup was quite exciting! We arrived at the store and browsed the shelves while the store prepared our large order. For two guys that love ceramics, this was our candy store, and it was a challenge not to spend our allowance! It didn’t stop us from picking out some new tools to trim, stamp and decorate our artwork.


Glazes Galore


Part of the fun of going to a ceramics store is getting to see all the glazes available. A glaze is a mixture of powdered

Rows of glaze tiles indicate how a clay will look with a specific glaze after kiln firing
Rows of glazed tiles show case color, texture and shine

minerals and water, applied to ceramics in various forms such as painting, spraying, etc. When people go to a store and paint pottery, they are painting glazes onto the pottery. What makes glazes so remarkable is how they change in a kiln. Often, glazes can be one color before firing, but after the extreme heat of the kiln, be a completely different color or texture.


Since glazes can change color and texture in the kiln, ceramicists will have small tiles with each of the unique fired glazes. This allows them to see the final color and texture. What makes this process fascinating is that a glaze isn’t a “one size fits all.” Glazes can look different depending on many factors, including the temperature of firing, how long it’s fired, and more. We had chosen our glazes and clays, so creating a tile board to showcase what the glazes look like became relatively high on our to-do list, despite it being a time-consuming process.


Finally, we were ready to load up the truck and head home. We added another 300lbs of clays to the 2,500lbs we already had, plus our brand new throwing wheels, stools, additional glazes, and other tools and accessories. It was time to head home, less weighed down than the first time, and continue working on our studio.


The Making of the Studio Today


With most of our supplies now in, our studio is starting to take shape! The glazes, tools, clays, throwing wheels, stools, and much more are ready for use. Unfortunately, the kiln still isn’t here! But, we aren’t fretting…. at least not right now! Josh and I are taking this time to make sure we are organized. There’s a lot we want to do, and we are aiming to ensure we execute our dream in a way that will be successful. We want Rudy Duo Studio to shine from online webinars and virtual classes to in-person sessions.


We can’t wait to open our doors to the community and create an artistic space that’s fun, educational, and cool. We are open-minded and love to try new things. We hope you find the studio to be as awesome as we do!

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