Friday, May 4, 2012

Housekeeping - The Other Kind

April was a busy month, no doubt about it. The studio was a mess from last year's activities, this year's disastrous junk removal antics, and about 75 years of gradual buildup. The net result was a behemoth in sore need of a bath. And a few other things.

I started very early in the month with the clay room and progressed gradually through the rest of the building spending no small amount of time on hands and knees scraping up decades worth of caked on mud, oil (don't ask) and who knows what else, loading junk into trash bins and carting it all off to the dump.

Along the way there were some repairs and maintenance that  needed doing. The kiln needed to have its ventilation system rerouted. After two years of venting into the chimney, I made the startling discovery that the chimney actually went nowhere. I don't know when that roof was sealed over, but it took me a couple years to notice it.

Then I decided I needed more show space. That meant shelves. And they had to be built before the cleaning could be completed because all of the pottery in the current show space was covered with wood ash secondary to the above mentioned junk removal fracas.

Add in the passing of Sheila Varnum and the fact that we are once again experiencing a wet, frigid spring, and I have to conclude that April was a...challenge.

But the challenge was met in the end. Here are a couple pictures of the new show area:

The item to the right in the top picture is a potter's wheel that hasn't been used in about 30 years. But there it sits. I intend to remove it and replace it with shelving, but that's a project for another time.

I don't want to gild the lily overmuch, but here are some pictures of the clay room:

You can see the new vent hose slithering up the wall at the far end. The hole was already in the wall thanks to a stove pipe that used to be there. That pipe was intended to remove dust from the area while grinding rock. It never really worked. Now that the rock grinder is gone - thanks to said junk removal fiasco - the pipe could be removed and a new purpose for the hole in the wall realized.

At last the floor is visible. The filter press is long gone. That was supposed to happen. But the table now sits where the pug mill used to be. I am still in mourning for the pug mill. It disappeared during the great junk hoohah despite the fact that the gentleman doing the work was told to leave it alone. Never mind the additional work not having it will create, I had grown attached to that old antique. Only the motor remains. It can be seen in the first clay room picture above behind the right hand end of the table. It's a 3-phase 5 hp motor and despite its age, it still purrs like a kitten. But it's out of a job. Sad.

Maybe I'm being overly sentimental, but that pug mill sat in that one spot since the 1940s and was a work horse right to the day it was dismantled. It deserved a better fate.

And I need a pug mill. But that's an issue for another day.

For now, I await warmer weather. It's May, and despite record breaking heat in March, temperatures have been in full retreat. But the studio is ready and so am I. As soon as it warms up even 10 degrees, I'll be at it again.

I can't wait.