Starting My Art Grant: Proposal

I work at Big Cartel and we have one amazing perk that I’ve never seen anything quite like: the Art Grant. Combined with a more than generous vacation policy, it’s a real incentive to stretch yourself.

Step one of having an Art Grant is writing up a proposal for it. I got mine in this week, and to kick off documenting progress on the grant, I’m sharing it. I’ll keep sharing progress in this category of my blog.


I’ve been a bread-making nerd off and on for at least 10 years now. One of the first books I got and skimmed cover to cover, Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads, has a little appendix where he talks about how satisfying it is to build and use your own oven. (I remembered it has having a few more details, but instead it says to write care of the publisher to ask him more. It was published before I was born so I opted to Google instead.)

Side story: Growing up, one of the rules on sweets was “if you make it, you can eat (a reasonable amount) of it” and this is why I was really good at making both brownies and apple pie as a teenager. My apple pie recipe comes straight out of Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Pastry, and it’s one of the first cookbooks I bought myself a copy of as an adult. Leads directly to his book being the first book on bread I bought.

I really like this as an art grant project because it’s adjacent to something I know how to do – bread, but it gets me to stretch into things I don’t know at all – construction!

I love that it’s something big, fairly permanent, and usable. I love that I have no idea what I’m doing. (Well, I have more idea after researching this proposal!)

Winning Condition: Bake a loaf of sourdough bread in my own oven.

Milestones along the way:

– Build a base

– Attempt to make clay out of my own dirt

– Build the oven on the base

– Learn to use the oven

With the rainy months coming, there’s a good chance that this project will sit under a protective tarp a lot of the time. And there’s probably higher priority things I should be doing to this house. With that in mind, I’m aiming to finish by May.

I spent some time with the budget yesterday, and came up with about $560 for the whole thing

That was using Home Depot prices for many of the supplies, and I’d like to seek out some locally owned businesses to source things from when I can, which may add to the total.

My research settled on the design used in Build Your Own Earth Oven

and buying that book is step 1.

(Most of the well documented blog posts I found use his method, and it is reassuring to see several different but similar results.)

I’ll document this on my personal blog, including publishing the accepted version of the proposal.

References: seems like a good guide


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