Turning Earth occupies two large glass-fronted railway arches on the Kingsland Viaduct. One of the arches is a 1,500 sq ft communal work space, with lots of natural light. This contains large work benches, a range of high quality throwing wheels, a slab roller, a spray booth, an extruder, and a plaster working area. All our members have storage space in the second arch, which also houses a classroom area, glaze area, and four of our five kilns. A gas kiln will be added shortly in our outside shed. Take a virtual tour of the studio by looking through our online gallery, 'In the studio'.
Membership includes: bisque firing and up to 40 litres of glaze firing (the size of a large kitchen bin). We have a range of studio clays available at discounted prices in our shop, and a large variety of glazes.
Work area: Turning Earth runs a communal workspace. Members can use the workspace for as long as they need on any given day as long as they stay within their weekly allowance.
Tools: A wide range of tools is available to use in the studio. There are communal tools available for most standard tasks, including throwing and handbuilding tools, water buckets, sponges, and paintbrushes. Members are encouraged to collect their own tools as they develop in their practice.
Personal Storage Space: Each member has his or her own storage shelf (w90cm x d45cm x h45cm) in the studio, which is adequate for most users. However, if large pieces or moulds need to be stored for a long period of time, it is possible to rent additional storage space in our shed, for a small extra monthly fee.
(Whilst we hope that it will never be an issue, Turning Earth cannot be responsible for your personal items. We recommend you do not leave any valuables or items of personal significance in the storage area.)
Kilns: Turning Earth has five high quality kilns, including four electric L&L 28T top loaders, and an electric front loader. A Rohde top loading gas kiln will be added shortly.
40 litres of stoneware (oxidation) kiln space per month is included in the monthly membership. It is rare that people need to go over this but if you use all your free space, additional work is fired at 50p a litre for members. Only pieces made by members with clay bought through us can be fired in the studio firing. Allowances don’t roll over.
Our studio assistants load the kilns so you do not need to know how to do this, but you must know how to prepare and glaze work for the kiln so that it will not cause kiln damage. The cost of damage to the kiln caused by incorrectly prepared work is passed onto members.
If you would like to fire at a different temperature, you can hire a kiln for the purpose. You need to arrange this in advance and carry out appropriate test firings to prevent damage to the equipment.
All work that goes through the communal firing is measured and labelled with the member’s name, the clay body, and the glaze used.
We fire every day, so work goes through the studio quite quickly. However, we do advise that it can take up to two weeks for pieces to be fired at times when there is a lot of demand. If you have a commission with a tight deadline you might want to hire a kiln and this should be organised well in advance.
Non-members that need to hire a kiln could contact Jo Davies Studio.
Clays available to members include:
Draycott stoneware (an off-white, smooth throwing body)
Sanded buff stoneware (a grogged stoneware, good for handbuilding)
Staffordshire stoneware (a light buff throwing body, with a slight natural fleck)
Grogged pink stoneware (a warm toned clay, goes pink in reduction)
Fine vulcan black (beautiful dark clay body for both throwing and handbuilding)
Medium vulcan black (similar to the fine, more highly grogged)
Craft crank (a coarse handbuilding body)
JB porcelain (a smooth white plastic porcelain)
Only clay bought from us can be fired in our inclusive membership firings. This ensures that only the right temperature and composition clays make their way into our kilns, to prevent damage to equipment and other members’ work.
If you would like to fire a different clay (for example, an earthenware body) you can hire a kiln for a separate firing, but these clays must be kept separate from the studio firing.
Glazes: Turning Earth provides 16 different glazes in different colours and textures. These are all stoneware-fired glazes and suitable for the standard firings provided as part of your membership. Use of the glazes is included in the membership fee.
To protect the equipment and other people’s work, if you would like to fire your own glazes, these must be test fired and approved by the studio manager before use in a communal firing, and then clearly labelled.
Glaze must be applied correctly before we will fire it, and there should be at least a half centimetre clearance around the bottom of each item unless it is placed on a member’s own firing bat. This is to prevent damage to the kiln shelves from running glazes.
Wheels: Turning Earth has 16 new style Shimpo Whisper wheels. These are - true to their name - extraordinarily quiet, and can maintain a smooth speed even when centering a heavy load.
Our wheels are all drilled at the standard US drilling position of 10 inches, which means that you can use standard bats - such as the Wonderbat model if you have them.
Plaster facilities: A plaster area is located at the back of the studio for people wanting to make moulds for slip casting.
Plaster is available for sale at the studio. Giuseppe, our resident plaster technician, regularly teaches both one-to-one and in small groups, for those makers who have never practiced before or who want to improve their skills.
Please note: it's really important that no plaster gets mixed with the clay work in the studio (it will explode in the kiln) and that everything is disposed of correctly.
Glaze booth: Turning Earth has a glaze-spraying booth and compressor for use by advanced members.
Using a glaze spray booth enables you to create a uniform coating, especially while glazing larger items. It also allows you to achieve a smooth finish while using a blend of glazes on different parts of your piece.
Each member must go through a health and safety induction before using the booth. You must have the correct safety equipment to use this.
Other Facilities: We also have an extruder with die plates, a slab roller, a pug mill (this is potentially dangerous, so used by trained staff members only), eco-friendly cleaning systems, waste disposal, and measuring systems.
Turning Earth Store
Members have exclusive access to the Turning Earth store. Clay, plaster, wheel bats and tool kits are available to purchase onsite.
We have a lovingly tended garden, which is a great place to work in during the summer months. It's also a convenient place to go if you need to work with dry materials (with a protective mask, of course).
We have two large tables on wheels that can be moved outside at your convenience.