I’ve been a member of a wonderful little art studio space for about 3 years now called Radius Studio. My discovery of the studio had perfect timing – Jay and I just returned from a year living in Barcelona, I was looking around for new friends/hobbies, and this studio popped up just a block away. I have long adored ceramics, gently packing them back from my travels. Now I had the opportunity to create my own.

Mark was my studio instructor and after a couple series of lessons, I became a “working partner”. Modest responsibility hosting open studio nights gave me free access to the studio with a set of keys. I went through a series of serving bowls, rice bowls, mugs, with some random designs thrown in here and there. But as time went on, we moved further away, life got busy, and I went less frequently.

I wish life had enough time for all our passions, but it seems one has to choose what to throw themselves into. I have been an Argentine Tango dancer since 1999 and made the choice to let that activity slide to make time for the ceramics. Becoming a home-owner with a permanent stretch of land outback has made the ceramics slide a little as well.

None of this has been enough for me to throw in the towel though. I have felt too connected to the space. It was my solace when a good friend was hit by a car, holding onto life by a thread in the hospital. It was my escape from massive wedding plans and family obligations. It was my peace at the end of a stressful work day. The smell of the studio, the cool damp air, the sound of my keys in the door… it was my second home.

Unfortunately, the building housing Radius, the Red & Black Café, and the City Repair Project has been recently sold – to a developer I hear. All the tenants must go. In a perfect world, they could build the planned condos on top of the existing structure and leave the businesses in tact below, but that is not the case. The building is falling apart and I think they plan to tear it all down and start afresh. We can’t be too mad at them for increasing urban density, which prevents sprawl into rural areas. But I do feel the neighborhood is changing, getting more upscale, and perhaps there just isn’t room for a tiny little art studio.

Radius recently found a new home fairly close by, but still a little further from us. The space is bigger, there will be nicer equipment, but studio fees will be going up again. This just seems the time to move on. It’s sad, definitely. But the new plan is to save my pennies and buy my own wheel, setting up a throwing space in an unused area of our basement. I will try to work something out with Radius where I can pay them for firing and using the glazes. My only fear is that I might lose my motivation…

But the summer will end in a few months and that will be the perfect time to focus on throwing more inside, so expect some updates over the coming months on my progress getting a home studio set up. To fuel the motivation, I have constant reminders of my craft throughout the house. And of course, there’s the pile of abandoned crockery outside in our yard as well, continually challenging me to create better work.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson