Turning Earth Ceramics Studio

by turning-earth in London Borough of Hackney

We did it
On 7th August 2013 we successfully raised £13,660 with 59 supporters in 42 days

To jump start our new, open-access ceramics studio in Hackney. Like a gym for potters, it offers flexible access at an affordable rate!

by turning-earth in London Borough of Hackney

In case you aren't able to play the video, here's the essence of it:

Hello, I’m Tallie and with your help I’m hoping to open Turning Earth, an open­-access studio for part­-time potters and enthusiasts in Hackney.

Here’s the concept. You pay a monthly fee of between £100 and £155 a month (depending on your level of commitment and how much you can give up front) and this is what you get: 15 hours a week of access to our huge and beautiful studio in the railway arches in Haggerston, with a beautiful garden. Eventually we’ll have at least 16 wheels, lots of handbuilding tables, a slab roller, an extruder and a large range of tools and glazes, all of the highest quality. You get your own shelf to store your work on. Kiln firing is included. So is our amazing library of books. Cups of tea. A whole new community of artists.               

If you want to take classes, you can take those too, under the experienced eye of a master craftsman. I have partnered with up and coming ceramicist Stuart Carey, who makes really exquisite functional ware and currently teaches at the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins. Stuart is our technical director and will make sure all of our facilities are the best they can be. He believes in the highest standards of craftmanship and is eager to help people achieve their full potential. Together we will make it one of the most affordable and creative studios in London.       

We have the space, and we have the vision. Now we just need the funding to build the studio. By pledging now you’ll help fund the equipment, but you’ll also prove to our other backers that there are people out there who will use these facilities. At this stage in our development that support is absolutely critical.So please help the earth move for Turning Earth and sign up now!

Thank you.

When will we open?

Turning Earth will open in November 2013 if enough people sign up to release the funding. We're pre-selling the first month’s available spaces, so if you want to secure a place at the studio - and get the discounted price (and there are only 55 available) - then sign up now.

If you buy a space and you’re not sure of your plans, don’t worry -  you can start your membership anytime that works for you - up to a year from our opening date.

Where is Turning Earth?

Turning Earth is set to open in two large railway arches in Haggerston, 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.

What will Turning Earth be like?

The studio will be beautifully designed so that it is a bright and inspiring place to work and so we can accommodate lots of part-time artists. One of our arches will be primarily used for storage and everyone will have a large shelf in there. The other, larger arch will be a big open-plan workspace, with lots of hand building tables and wheels, as well as a slab roller and other equipment and tools. We aim to make it the cleanest and most Zen pottery studio in London, and a safe and relaxing 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 chill-out area where you can go and rest and be inspired (and drink tea).

We’ll be open 60 hours a week so you can come and go at times that suit you.

What facilities will we have?

We will 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 we’ll run on a regular schedule. We'll also have tools available for all standard processes.

Onsite we will 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 your level of commitment. The first month is £95 when you sign up to one of our contracts. Our one-month-notice contract is just £140 per month for the Earth Turners who sign up now (usually £155), our 6 month pay-monthly contract is £130 per month (usually £145), and our one year pay-monthly contract is just £125 per month if you sign up now (usually £140). Pledge at the £95 level and you will get your first month's studio use covered and the rest of your contract at one of these reduced rates.

If you want to go the extra mile in your support and get a real bargain, you can buy a block of months upfront. Three months costs £345, which works out at just £115 a month. A 6 month membership costs just £630 (so £105 a month), or you can pay £1100 up front and get 12 months of membership for just £92 a month (this one has just been added). There are only five of each of these options available.

Membership includes 15 hours a week anytime access during our opening hours (12am-10pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 10am-10pm Wednesday; 10am-8pm Saturday and Sunday).

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 will hold classes with our resident artist Stuart Carey. During the crowdfund you can sign up for a four week introductory course for just £85.

Introductory courses start in November 2013, and run on Wednesdays from 6.30pm until 9pm, and on Saturdays from 10.30am until 1pm. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you’re doing in November - your pledge is valid for classes held up to a year after we open.

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 mentors, under the careful eye of Stuart Carey, will load and fire the kilns to make sure everyone’s work is fired safely.

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. We will provide services for professional potters in the future, including kiln rental and gallery services, and we would love to get to know you. If you are a full-time potter and you want to support Turning Earth, then please consider pledging for a handmade throwing apron!

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: 12-10pm
  • Wednesday 10am-10pm
  • Thursday 12-10pm
  • Friday 12-10pm
  • Saturday 10-8pm
  • Sunday 10-8pm

 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.

Who are we?


Tallie is a social entrepreneur with a deep rooted love of ceramics, organisation, and interior design. She has created a merchandise line for award-winning immersive theatre company, Punchdrunk, and managed customer services for large commercial theatre projects in the US. She once worked as a corporate responsibility consultant (yawn), before escaping to California and spending her days in a ceramics studio.

Stuart is a practising ceramist with a vast knowledge of techniques, from production methods for industry to more freely creative projects. He has a 10 year education in ceramics, which culminated in a Masters Degree from the Royal College of Art. Stuart produces his own tableware range, which is now stocked across the UK and Ireland. He has also worked on commissions for internationally renowned artists, including painter Howard Hodgkin. His clients include The Conran Shop in London and Calvin Klein Homewares in New York.

Why do we need you?

Well, we've got the skills and the passion to make this happen, but we also need money to fund the studio. Since the UK went into recession, it’s much harder for start-ups to get backing from mainstream commercial lenders. But behind that cloud is a silver lining, as more and more projects are getting off the ground using innovative financing approaches, such as crowdfunding.

As a key part of this, your money will be used to help us build the studio, but it will also be a crucial tool to help us raise money elsewhere. Turning Earth is raising finance directly from investors (including via the online financing website CrowdCube). To give them confidence that there are users for this service and that it will be self-sustaining, there is no stronger support you can give us than to sign up now.

How can you help?

1. Making a pledge

We need to reach our funding goal before the 42 days are up if we are to keep moving forward. So if you'd like the studio to become a reality, please make a pledge and help us get a step closer to reaching that goal. To raise enough money to open we're going to need to sell all of the memberships and all of our course places and a bit more, so every pledge will count.

*You can always pledge more money than the pledge tier if you like, so if you're feeling especially generous you could pledge £500 for the £365 level if you wish, or even choose not to receive a reward. It's up to you.

2. Telling people about Turning Earth

Liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter will also help. Show your friends our website, or send them a link to this page. By spreading the word you'll be helping us to find other potential supporters.

What's in it for you?

1. Rewards

If you pledge £95 you'll secure your place at Turning Earth and the option to pay just £125 a month if you sign up for a year’s contract (usually £140 per month), or £140 if you take a one month notice contract (usually £155 per month and valid for a year).  Every backer will also receive the rewards listed on the right hand side of this page that correspond to the pledge amount that they have made. So if you pledge for membership at £95 you'll also receive a beautifully printed Turning Earth ‘Will-throw pattern’ T-shirt and our postcards.

The rewards will either be better value than if bought outside of the crowdfunding attempt (memberships), or exclusively available to supporters of the crowdfunding appeal (the T-shirts and platters etc).

Some of the rewards will be made once the funding is over (like the T shirts and throwing aprons) so we can't show you the finished articles just yet, but here are some examples to whet your appetite:


2. Satisfaction

The satisfaction of knowing that you were instrumental in getting the project off the ground. As a founder member and Earth Turner, yo

u'll be the reason that Turning Earth will have become a reality.

3. Opportunities

Turning Earth will create opportunities for you to develop as a potter, whatever level you’re at. Once we’re up and running we’ll be having exhibitions and a sellers’ cooperative and it will be a good way to build a professional reputation.

4. Craft

Even though the UK is famous for its master potters, right now ceramics is a dying craft in this country. Due to rising costs of living and rising fees, many art school courses are closing. People don’t know how they will make money from a career in pottery. Supporting Turning Earth is a way to keep those important skills alive, and to provide an incubator for the next generation of potters practicing an ancient craft in our modern world.

5. Community

You’ll join and support a

thriving artists community, a large melting pot of ideas and skills that will inspire and sustain its members.

When do I pay?

If you sign up now through Go Cardless, your money will only be taken once we meet our funding target. It works like a one-off direct debit. If we don't reach our target then you don't pay, but if we do then your money will automatically be taken from your account. Or you can pay via PayPal.

---This way there's less risk

We need to know we have enough people prepared to sign up, and then we will be able to release the total funding we need for the studio. If we don’t have enough people sign up then no one will have to pay.  This way either we get to open the studio and hence you get your reward, or you keep your money and we have to try another way. Backers simply can’t lose.

---  and everyone is motivated to spread the word

If you want Turning Earth to come to life as much as we do, you’ll help spread the word to give us the best chance of reaching our target. We will also have to work our socks off to get the word out to our users. The project must be fully funded by the end of the 42 day funding attempt or no money will change hands. It really is all or nothing.

Can we take pledges from outside of the UK?

Yes we can! You can pay via PayPal. Please email us if you have any questions!

Is there an equity option for investors?

Yes, there is an equity option if you are interested in investing. We are going to raise some of our start-up capital through the

equity-based crowdsourcing platform CrowdCube, as soon as we reach our target for member sign-ups. This way you can be sure that our projections are realistic before you commit. Turning Earth is eligible for the EIS and SEIS schemes, which may provide significant tax benefits. If you are interested in becoming a shareholder then please email Tallie at [email protected].



Got a question?

If you have any questions please get in touch!

email: [email protected]

phone: 07840 481 728

Thank you!

Tallie and Stuart


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

TE 'Will Throw Pattern' mug OR 'Throwing Hand' mug + TE postcards + thank you letter

£25 or more

£25 Reward

TE 'Will Throw pattern' t-shirt designed by Julia Skliarova + TE postcards + thank you letter

£35 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£35 Reward

Turning Earth specially made split legged throwing apron - perfect for throwing on the wheel and not getting your clothes messy, with a large pocket for putting tools in. Made to order so you can get your size! + TE postcards+thankyou letter

£85 or more

4 of 12 claimed

£85 Reward

4 week course with Stuart Carey -- Wednesday evening 6.30-9pm, beginning November 2013. http://turningearthceramics.co.uk/classes/

£85 or more

5 of 12 claimed

£85 Reward

4 week course with Stuart Carey -- Saturday morning 10.30-1pm, beginning November 2013. http://turningearthceramics.co.uk/classes/

£95 or more

37 of 55 claimed

£95 Reward

£95 covers your first month's membership when you sign up for one of our contracts AND entitles you for the following discounted rates for the duration of your contract: Annual pay-monthly contract--£125 per month; Six month pay-monthly contract--£130 per month; Month-to-month contract (one month's notice required)--£140 per month. You also get a TE t-shirt+postcards +thank you letter+ founder member listing

£345 or more

7 of 10 claimed

£345 Reward

£345 covers three month's membership. You also get a TE t-shirt + postcards+ thank you letter + founder member listing

£630 or more

4 of 6 claimed

£630 Reward

£630 covers 6 months membership. You also get the TE t-shirt+ mug+ postcards+ thank you letter + founder member listing. (If you are interested in this you may be interested in one of our 5 annual pay up front memberships for just £1100. Please email us at [email protected] for more details)

£1,000 or more

1 of 5 claimed

£1,000 Reward

Turning Earth certified and numbered Limited Edition 'Will Throw Pattern' serving platter, designed by Stuart Carey (just 5 will be made). You will also get to name one of our kilns (we'll put a plaque on the kiln and promise to use it, whatever it is! Miranda? Bob?). We'll also give you a two hour one to one lesson with Stuart Carey + Turning Earth t-shirt + mug + postcards + thank you letter + thank you on our website

£1,100 or more

3 of 5 claimed

£1,100 Reward

New reward - £1100 covers 1 whole year's membership! That's only about £92 a month, so a steal if you can pay upfront. You also get the TE t-shirt +mug+postcards+thank you letter+founder member listing.

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