Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Messy Studio Tour

Since I have postponed Wednesday Beads until sometime Thursday, I have decided to bite the bullet and give you a studio tour. I have been reluctant to do this because unlike many of my blog friends neatness is not one of my qualities.

This is our large detached garage, and my studio occupies one quarter of the space on the ground floor. The second floor is just storage, but it would make a beautiful studio space, but that is not in the plans right now. I find the older I get I am more content with what I have, thank goodness.

No, it is not snowing right now in Upstate New York, this is just the only outside picture I could find of my studio space.

This is what I have been working on the past several days. These mixed metal pieces are made using a "soft solder" technique I learned earlier this year in Stephanie Lee's e-course, Homesteader's Metalsmithing.

I have just applied patina to these pieces and the next step would be buffing them up with the Dremel. When I make these pieces I need to put away the glass and enamel for at least a week, because they involve so many steps and so much time. If I don't take them to the finished stage, I will have half done pieces floating all over the studio. See I do have pockets of organization.

These next two photos show some other organizational solutions, that hopefully will make my studio space run a little more smoothly.

This is how I store my glass frit. I purchased these small pyrex bowls at TJ Maxx, I think they have them at Marshall's also. The glass frit is crushed glass, my favorite supplier is Val Cox. As you can see I don't need a lid for every container I stack them to keep out the dust.

This way if I need to use frit, I just grab a container. There is no pouring frit from one container to another, which for safety reasons cuts down on airborne glass dust that is not good for my lungs.

This is a similar solution I use for my enamels. Enamels are glass as well, but they are ground to the consistency of powder. Since the powder is so fine I need a cover for every one of these containers. Again I am not transferring powdered glass from one container to another, which is minimizing airborne glass.

I have one torch that I use for my enameling and glass work, and I found that set up and clean up between different projects took up a lot of my time. My solution for this was to set up a dedicated a cart for my enameling projects (photo below). That way when I am ready to enamel I just pull up the cart, it saves me a lot of time. I also have a similar cart for all my glass tools, when I am ready to play with glass.

I wanted to show one of my most important tools in the studio. That is my ventilation hood it sucks up the enamel and fumes from my torch and then that suction pulls fresh air from the outside into my workspace. Before my own studio space I rented torch time at a local studio. After working 3 hours at the torch I always left with burning eyes and a sore throat, not a good sign. I have not had any of those issues with my set up.

Here is my messy metal smithing table. I have to get another one of these workbenches, they sell them at Sam's Club. You can see my tanked O2 in the corner for my torch, and my containers of brass stampings that I use in my enameling and mixed metal pieces.

Usually lampworkers use tanked propane as the fuel for their torch. In order to keep my studio space warm in our long winters, I have a furnace in the room attached to my studio, and unfortunately heavy propane gas + furnace pilot light = boom. So I have to use natural gas as my fuel choice, however the psi of natural gas from the gas company is not high enough for my torch. The solution to that problem is the gizmo below, it is called a booster, and that is what it does, it increases the psi of the natural gas.

So I have no propane tanks to change, and right now I have a strong friend that changes out my O2 tanks. Another advantage of natural gas is that it is very clean, so my glass and enamel colors never get carbon build up on them.

That was a long post for me, hope you enjoyed it. I hope someday I will have some "after" pictures, I would really like warm up the place and make it a little more cozy.

Stay tuned tomorrow for new beads in the shop, check the blog and facebook for a specific time.

Looking at the schedule, next week's Wednesday Beads will probably be on Thursday as well. Then I think we are done with the school recitals for the summer.


Rebekah said...

All your work is gorgeous! Thanks for the studio tour, it's always fun to see where the beauties are created. Makes me want to pull up a chair and watch you create. :-)

Silver Parrot said...

Listen, at least you can WALK INTO your studio...which makes it more organized than mine right now LOL!

kelleysbeads said...

I like how you have your frit & enamels stored, that's great! And I never knew about needing a booster to up the psi for using natural gas, that was interesting. I use chemolene instead of propane (it has five extra hydro-carbons in it) that burns hotter and cleaner than propane, without the carbon build-up. Nice not having to deal with smutty glass, isn't it?

Anna Lear said...

Wow, what a great post! I love reading about others' set-ups and seeing the spaces they create in. As for neatness, I'm slowly cleaning up my workspace, but only because I can't find anything right now...

SummersStudio said...

It's always a treat to get a peak into a studio space. Yours is actually quite tidy by my standards :-) Thanks for the look.