Daydreaming about Tiny House Pottery

This is just a fun design exploration I’ve been daydreaming about. It’s a tiny ceramics studio that measure 6′ by 6′ and is configured for a studio potter. You see before the internet took-off and web design took my professional focus, I was a studio potter. While I studied architecture in college I ended up graduating with a BFA in ceramics.

Back in the mid-90s the internet was just beginning to become interesting. Google hadn’t been founded yet and few people had heard of eBay. So to sell my pots I had to take them on the road on weekends. I lived in a 450 square foot cabin in Mendocino County, California and built myself a little 160 square foot studio that was really more like a drafty shed. My electric kiln was on the porch of the house and shared a plug with my clothes dryer.

I’m not sure why but I’ve been really longing to make pots again, but I figure 36 square feet would be just enough space. So the other night I started this drawing and added a little gas kiln and mobile tiny house showroom to round out the day-dream.

I often wonder what I might be doing now if Etsy and eBay had been booming back then. I have no regrets on the path I chose, but I can’t help noodling over what it would be like to be a potter again, even if it was just part-time. I guess that’s the nice thing about paths and life, we can follow our noses where they take us if we give ourselves the permission to dream.

Details for the potters among us

The shelves on both sides of the wheel would rest on metal brackets and easily moved around. This way I could throw a board of mugs or bowls and set it up and out of the way. Some items like pasta bowls, covered casseroles, teapots, and mixing bowls would require bats which I’d keep in the floor near the buckets.

The tiny table would be used for wedging, mixing glaze, and the little bit of hand-building I’d do (mostly adding handles). The cabinet under the table would store away my scales, tools, and smaller containers of glaze materials. The buckets on the floor would be for slop recycling, glazes, and glaze materials.

The room would be too small for a lot of production volume without some extra storage space for greenware, bisque, and finished work. But it would be a great tiny throwing station and serve my part-time studio potter needs.

The kiln I’m picturing would be an updraft castable catenary arch with a firebrick base and ceramic fiber door. Two gas burners on the opposite corners of the kiln floor wouldn’t need bag-walls as the flames would be directed up and around the inside of the arch in a nice circular motion. I’ve not done the math on the inlet and exit port sizes but I think this would be just enough for the size kiln.

The pots I’d make at first would be very similar to what I made back in the mid-90s, which were cone 10 porcelain tableware. Although this time I’d stick to a clear glaze and focus entirely on form and usability. I’d keep the work focused on just a few forms too, that would empower people to eat and cook simply… much like one would need in a tiny house. These would be:

  • Coffee/Tea Mugs
  • Soup/Ceral Bowls
  • Low Open Pasta Bowls (also usable as plates)
  • Covered Casseroles
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Teapots

As you can tell I’ve put a bit of thought into this, but really… it’s just a daydream. I’m not quitting my day job, or tiny house design ‘job’, any time soon.


12 thoughts on “Daydreaming about Tiny House Pottery

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Michael,
    Hey, ETSY and EBay are here now and so are you, so why not? Creativity is the breath of life for some folks, myself included. Take a deep breath and enjoy!

  2. alice says:

    Replace the kiln with a sewing machine and you’ve got a nice little sewing studio. This is probably adaptable for any number of hobby spaces.

  3. Susan says:

    This really resonates with me. I dream of a Tumbleweed home, and fantasize about How to Fit a Life into one. Spousenik, my beloved husband, is a man of acquisition and clutter. I house most of my existence in one room now, where I read, write, design and sew. My clothes could fit in here; there is a chair-bed. I could see a single burner plate and a small fridge to round things out. But again, how to fit a sewing life and books into a tiny dwelling. I’m working on it, with ever-growing thanks to those who keep making computer peripherals smaller. Most people seem to simply want to eat, sleep and travel in a small shelter. I want to LIVE in one, which means exercise and sewing and everything else I do, though I would happily moderate the huge amounts of cooking.

    Particularly appreciate your comments on dishes: my thoughts are soups, stews and stir-fries. All on one burner, nothing requiring more than spoon or chopsticks. Surely a less violent plan than hacking through forests of food with spear and machete…

    Keep us dreaming!

    • Lynne Muller says:

      In regard to exercising in a small space: I’ve used old window sash weights as hand weights. You can actually paint them any color you like and use pipe insulation as a hand grip in the middle. There is a hole on one end where you can insert a rope or cable and run that through a pulley. Depending on how much available space you have, use one or two. Just be sure to attach AWAY from anything, like on a porch overhang, so that you don’t end up crashing into the wall or removing a window! when you pull the weight up. Also, if you have a tile floor, put a towel or cushion UNDER the weight, so if you have a mishap you don’t damage your floor. This is cheaper than a workout bench. No old window weights? Use sand-filled handled milk cartons instead.

  4. Lynne Muller says:

    It was living in a condo that made me realize that a huge kitchen is not necessary. Preparations can be made on a nearby table instead of counter space. Unless you have a HUGE family, two burners are more than adequate. If you eat more salads, or uncooked foods, you could probably skip either the oven or microwave. A quick cup of hot tea is nice, but most people don’t know if you just put some water and (if you like,
    sugar) and one or two tea bags in a large glass container and throw it in the fridge the tea will make itself. How do you know when to drink it?
    Take it out and taste it! Most space is pliable, or can have a dual use, however I agree that doing things like making quilts takes space to spread out and think about design. My quilt-making is done on the kitchen table or spread out on my bed for better viewing.

  5. Nan says:

    Nice designs, Michael.

    On another subject, are you aware that your link to “The Daily Brainstorm” site is throwing malware warnings on my browser?

    • Michael Janzen says:

      Thanks for the heads up Nan. I’ve temporarily removed the link. It looks like they got hacked and I suspect working feverishly to remove the malware. It happened to me a few weeks ago on Tiny House Living but just took a few days to clean up once I resolved the problem.

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