There is something magical in fired clay, the way how the surface is covered in glass and how surreal the colours sometimes look. I love to work with different materials and each one has its special magic for me.
I wanted to show you where I create my ceramic work. Metal work, polymer clay, creating jewelery, painting… I do them all at home (nope, no way I show that messiness). But my ceramic work I do, you could say, in my external studio.
I mention quite often that I am part of the Makerspace Leipzig. A makerspace is a so called community workshop. They have a kiln for my ceramic work (and actually I am responsible for the ceramic “area” there). That is also why you can see me tagging a lot of my Instagram images with #makerspaceleipzig. But I thought some pictures (and even videos! 😉 ) may give a better impression.
I love the idea of “makerspaces” or community workshops. Ours is not really old. We just celebrated the first anniversary earlier this year. I was not one of the founding members but one of the “pioneer” members, that means I already paid a monthly fee (for my husband and me) without the workshop even existing.
This was to set-up the foundation to make the community workshop a possibility. From the members fees the monthly rent, energy, water, repairs and investments are paid. In the beginning, of course, also the renovation (new walls, bigger machines and so on..). It is still a balance and thankfully we are part of an older and established social-cultural center (VILLA Leipzig) here, therefor a lot of the legislative and administration stuff is covered.
The idea behind the makerspace is to work together and share ideas, project and of course knowledge. It is not a commercial service and every one is working voluntary there without payment. This includes our official opening hours, the heading of the different areas (woodworking, electronics, textile…), the introduction into the machines and so on – all covered by our organisation team.
I took several videos (I uploaded them at youtube and put the links at the end of this post) to give you a little tour. The Makerspace Leipzig is set in an industrial area of the city since we need high-voltage current, have very heavy equipment and… especially the wood working… produce a lot of noise! Still, it is really close to the center. With the tram (I am living in germany, we have a very good public transportation system… or we take the bike ;)) it takes just three stations, not even 5 minutes from the main station.
We have several craft trades represented: Wood working and metall working areas, a fablab for electronics (and roboters and 3D printer and a laaaaaser cutter – guess what I want to learn next!), a textile area with some specials like industrial sewing machines (and vintage ones as well), a knitting machine and beautiful old weaving frames, a photo area where you can develop your own pictures, up-cycling is also included, screen printing is in the process to be set-up and we also have some craft beer brewers (germany, remember?). We also have some people giving workshops for tiffany glass or to create home accessory with cement.
Last but not least: Ceramics! Where I spend most of my time if I am not too curious to look at the other projects!
Our kiln was broken for several months and just recently got repaired! Finally, I can start playing with clay again. My to-do list what I want to try, to learn and to establish is way too long. Starting from making my own glazes to get better at throwing over at playing with metal oxides finally up to make my own version of egyptian fayence.
I forgot to add: Give more workshops. This is rather difficult for me since my day job is in research and easily transforms into an evening and night job without any warning in advance. So to set up several dates for a workshop and this at least 6 weeks in advance is quite difficult for me to realize. Sadly, because I enjoy giving workshops and we had several participants that became members of the makerspace afterwards.
The makerspace is more than just a workshop. Since we all spend our free time there not only for our own projects but for the whole idea of a makerspace, we also meet for a big joined brunch there, for barbecue or just some coffee.
I also meet a lot of really diverse people from different backgrounds, jobs and stories. Of course not everyone is everyones else best friend, but what I appreciate is that there is no real drama and the handling of the -inevitable- conflicts is done in a pragmatic and relaxed manner. My biggest worry in the beginning was that there would be some of the usual “club dramas and intrigues” that happen so often. But no, I enjoy being there even just for some small talk and coffee!
The surrounding area is a little bit strange. Not all of the industrial spaces are used anymore (or again) and most of the companies also situated in the area are closed in the evening or at the weekends. It feels a little bit surreal if one goes late in the evening to the tram station and you seem to be the only human in the whole city… and not even five minutes later you are at the loud and thriving city center!
So… and now I will leave you with some more pictures….
Yes, a lot of images but I already edited a lot of them and I liked all of the left ones too much to get rid if them.
Oh, I also want to create some tiles to decorate my area a little bit more. To maybe get away from the pure industrial feeling to a little bit more whimsical and colourful. We can see at the same time next year how far I will have come.
One of my favorite projects are actually the roboters!
Or the books (real paper ones) with electronic closures that will open only if you repeat a certain type of knocking.
We also had someone creating a shelf with gorgeous wood and the holes were filled with glow-in-the-dark resin. Needless to say, I put this on my husbands to-do list!
And here are the two youtube videos. I only used my mobile, so don’t expect the best quality.
Until next time,
PS: If there is something special you would like to see, just write it down in the comments!