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Inside-Out Studio A potter sheds light on his concept for a simplified workplace by Brian Dougan

During the Spring 2007 semester, behind an anonymous tract house on a culde-sac in suburban College Station, I designed and built an inside-out studio where I produce utilitarian and often highly decorated earthenware. This single-room building is protected from the elements by an interior veneer of corrugated acrylic panels while the exterior is clad by a horizontal array of rough-sawn, treated pine. When the sun goes down, the studio glows like a lantern that illuminates the neighborhood with an ethereal presence (oftentimes augmented by loud music). The scale and proportions were primarily based on the fact that only a single pair of hands were available for construction. Out of similar necessity, the project’s $5,000 budget was achieved by including a number of found objects and material donations from friends. Because the production of low-fire pottery is a rather simple process, the studio’s contents are minimal—an electric potter’s wheel, a workbench transformed from a discarded door, and shelves that cover the entire east wall. On and around the worktable are specific places for the various tools of the trade, adhering to the notion that a confined workspace must be well organized to function well. North-south ventilation flows uninterrupted via operable windows, supplemented by an oversized ceiling fan mounted to the ridge beam in the center of the space. From this inside-out lantern the pots I make, as time grants its productive grace, slowly wend their way to homes in some very unlikely places around the globe.

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images courtesy brian dougan

Brian Dougan is an assistant professor of architecture at Texas A&M University. Besides being a teacher and potter, he is a musician and basket weaver who sees a communion in all creative endeavors.

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