What is Turning Earth?
Turning Earth is an open-access members’ studio, aimed at everyone, from professionals to beginners. Our beautiful studio occupies two large, glass-fronted railway arches on the Kingsland Viaduct, between Hoxton and Haggerston Overground stations. One of our arches is primarily used for storage and everyone gets a large shelf in there. The other, larger arch is a big open-plan workspace, with lots of hand building tables and wheels, as well as a slab roller, extruder and other equipment and tools. We aim to make it an exceptionally beautiful and clean place to work.
We are making the outside yard space into a garden where members can work outside on sunny days. We will also have a covered area out there where people can safely use materials such as plaster. Inside, we’ll also have a gallery, a library with a wide range of pottery books for inspiration, and a relaxation area where you can go and rest and be inspired (and drink tea).
We’re open 62 hours a week so you can come and go at times that suit you.
Membership is for everyone who has done a short beginners class or equivalent anywhere. You just need to be able to work independently.
Where is Turning Earth?
Turning Earth is located in two large railway arches in Whiston Road (just off Kingsland Road) within 5 minutes walk of both Haggerston and Hoxton stations. We are easily accessible from all over London — Haggerston station is just 11 minutes from the Victoria line at Highbury and Islington, via the new East London overground line.
If you are driving here, there are places to park on nearby Appleby Street and Thurtle Road. Please check the Hackney Council map for more information: http://www.hackney.gov.uk/Assets/Documents/ek-zone-f-parking_bay_map.pdf
What facilities do we have?
We have lots of work space, as well as a range of high quality throwing wheels, a slab roller, a spray booth, an internal glaze sprayer, a plate maker, a bottom washer, an extruder, plaster working area, a full range of glazes, and several electric kilns, which are run on a regular schedule. We’ll also have tools available for all standard processes.
Onsite we have a store where you can buy stoneware and porcelain clay, and porcelain casting slip at trade prices, as well as throwing bats, sponges and buckets.
What’s the deal?
There are a few different price structures for Turning Earth membership, depending on the length of your contract, and how much you pay upfront. The first month is £95 when you sign up to one of our contracts. Our one-month-notice contract is just £155 per month, our 6 month pay-monthly contract is £145 per month, and our one year pay-monthly contract is just £140 per month..
If you want to get a real bargain, you can buy a block of months upfront. A 6 month membership costs just £750 (so £125 a month), or you can pay £1380 upfront and get 12 months of membership for just £115 a month.
Membership includes anytime access during our opening hours, up to 15 hours a week.
With any membership plan you get your own personal storage shelf (approx 90cmx50cm), advice and mentoring from our staff, use of the equipment and up to 40 litres a month set temperature firings. The only additional thing you need to buy is clay, which we sell on-site at trade prices.
Can I do classes?
Turning Earth holds regular classes. You cansign up for a four week introductory course for just £85, an 8-week course for £170, or a 12-week course for £255.
What kind of technical support will I get?
There will always be a mentor on site who will be able to advise members both on how to use the equipment, and on the best way to carry out a project. This isn’t structured teaching, as such, but if you want advice on technique they’ll be happy to make suggestions. If you are a bit rusty, don’t worry, you are not on your own!
Glazes will be ready-mixed by our staff with test tiles so you can see how they will look on different clay bodies. Our studio assistants are on hand to pack the kilns, so you don’t need to worry about that.
Can I buy a membership for someone else?
Yes! Turning Earth membership and classes could make a great gift. Please just let us know the name of the user when you make the payment. We can provide a gift card as well. Just send us an email, and we’ll send it through to you.
Can anyone sign up?
Yes, anyone can sign up, as long as they are responsible in the studio. If you are a complete beginner, we recommend you take an introductory class, but after that, you are welcome to become a member and keep practicing at your own pace. There’ll be people on hand to help you. Everyone has to start somewhere and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll improve.
Turning Earth membership is for people aged 16 and above, but we will take serious-minded young people aged 14 to 16 on board if they are accompanied by an adult member for the first month. We cannot have younger children in the studio due to the dangers inherent in raw glaze chemicals, sharp tools, and electrical equipment.
Turning Earth is not set up to accommodate full-time potters in the studio. Having one or more production potters in the studio would tie up our equipment and make it difficult for others to have access. We want to make sure that facilities are always available for our members whenever they choose to visit.
What can I make?
Learn to throw pots, make tiles, create a full dinner service. You can even build a kitchen sink. Or you can choose to express yourself by making something abstract and sculptural. It’s your space, and it’s up to you. All you have to do is ask if you want ideas or help in realising your vision.
What are the opening hours?
These are our opening hours. If you’re a member you can come any time:
- Tuesday: 10am – 10pm
- Wednesday 10am – 10pm
- Thursday 10am – 10pm
- Friday 10am-8pm
- Saturday 10am-8pm
- Sunday 12pm-8pm
Are we a Business or Charity?
Turning Earth isn’t a charity; it’s a social enterprise structured as a for-profit limited company. This means we have a social mission and a commitment to reinvesting profits to continue to meet the needs of our users. Our primary social aim is to expand inclusion in the ceramic arts. We will do this by creating an efficiently run facility that keeps membership costs down by making the optimal use of shared space.
Being set up as a for-profit business allows us to grow a self-sustaining organisation rather than depending upon grants and government aid for support. This gives us more opportunities for growth at a time when there are so many cuts to public services.
Lesley McShea and Tessa Barrett .
Turning Earth Ceramics is the trading name of Turning Earth Ceramics Ltd, registered company number 8297052