Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Studio Order of Things

I don't know about you, but I am pretty darn good at procrastination some days which sometimes gets into weeks or months and in the case of my ceramics studio - Years!!!

Cluttered but Workable Studio Space
Ceramic clay is a pretty heavy medium to work in. The clay itself (bags of clay are usually 25 pound bags) which make up about 1500 to 2000 pounds total is a lot of stuff to move - and where do you put it if you are going to move it for a "make over"? And the equipment, tables, kilns are all bulky and heavy too - and some things are set up because of where there are power outlets, lights, sinks, etc. No wonder why I have learned to work around this stuff for years.

But just the other day, I was making some beads for an order, and I realized acknowledged that I was getting down to the end of my stash of good "plastic feeling" ceramic clay. I have plenty of clay - it's just not in a useable state (I'm estimating 1500 pounds of hardening, short, non-plastic feeling ceramic clay!).

And that I need to get that clay reconstituted. That means I have to break it down into small pieces - by slicing with a pottery wire cutter tool, take it in buckets into my garage where I have a pug mill (thank goodness for cats and those empty kitty litter buckets). I will work in small batches adding clay, some water for moisture and some beer to get some bacteria to grow (bacteria makes it more plastic - I've heard of people using yogurt too). It will mix, then the pug mill will de-air it and extrude it into 3 inch coils - ready for use in the studio.

So just that intro to what I have to do to get useable clay again - and that I have to do it NOW - before we start to get freezing temperatures, means I also have a studio space mostly free of all of that clay and buckets storing the dry scraps and I can move things around and get it organized how I always envisioned a basement home studio would be. And I am beyond excited!

It's great to be able to do a studio purge and reorganization!
Heck - I'm even finally getting my kick wheel set up now that I've got room so I can once again throw on the pottery wheel!

I'll be updating my blog on the progress and will post a bit next Sunday too.
It really makes me look forward to the winter months where I can spend hours down here in an organized space with lots of clay and hopefully "creativity" filling the air...


Gale said...

Well, I'd say you're off to a good start--that reconstituted clay is going to have some premium bacteria! (Local! I know that label.)

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

I love that local beer Gale! This happened be from a half case from my grandma's house that they were going to throw away - at least 3.5 years ago! So nice and aged - lol...

It's amazing how little things like this make a huge impact on the plasticity of the clay - and in turn - what kind of studio day you are to have.

I think it falls into that category of "making your own luck" or setting yourself up for success.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...