Monday, April 29, 2013

A Potter's Studio

I have been frequently "accused" of having the cleanest studio anyone has seen. "Do you actually do any work in here?" followed by, "How do you keep it so clean?"

See, here's the thing: I "grew up" as a student in a community ceramic environment.  It's not polite to leave a mess behind when you're done working, because someone who is not your mom is going to have to come behind you and clean up after you. And as a mom, I can tell you - That Is Not Nice.

I also happened to have a couple of really great instructors right off, who very clearly laid out the health dangers of silica and other toxic chemicals, which if left to dry can be very hazardous to a person's long term health. (For more information on this, I highly recommend Monona Rossol's "The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide".)

So the answer to the first question is - Yes. I do a lot of work. As you can see by the above image. (Disclaimer: My studio has been rearranged since this picture was taken, but it's still this clean and this busy.) And the answer to the second question is - I just do it. Every day unless something urgent comes up, when I am done working, I wipe down all the surfaces that I've been working on, and occasionally, ALL the horizontal surfaces. I take my misting spray bottle after the wipe down and mist down the entire room open air spaces to pull any remaining dust out of the air. I try to mop as often as possible which is about once a week. In the spring I take everything out and hose it down outside. Just for good measure.

If you want to know why, the reasons are simple. I have a gorgeous, brilliant, charismatic three-year-old who needs me. I have to stay healthy for her. My studio is in my home, and she comes in to work with me occasionally and I want HER to live a long healthy life.

We all struggle with health issues from time to time, and I know for myself that it can be a pain to try and keep things clean. For me, it's worth it to take the 15 minutes (sometimes 45) to clean at the end of the day. I'll have more "end of day"s that way.


Graciela Testa Lynt said...

I am such a messy potter now that I have my own studio! Sham on me! You are inspiring me to take more care. For one thing, tools last a lot longer if they're not left w/ caked on clay to rust.

Page Kelly Piccolo said...

That's true Grace! And not only do they last longer, but for me, at least, I don't have to mess with them as much when I go to grab one and actually use it. Glad you are inspired, thanks so much for reading!

melissa said...

Historically, I was been a clean upbringing also. Lately, though, I've become lax. Thank you for the reminder! It feels better mentally when it's tidy also...I'm going to clean the garagio now...shuffling out in shame ;-)

Page Kelly Piccolo said...

I wonder if being introduced to studio practice through community makes it a more attainable habit, or not? It certainly influenced me.

lomaprietapottery said...

I used to let my studio space get messy before I moved to Arizona and worked in a community space for a year while my current studio was being built. I now have the habit of cleaning up at the end of each day with only an occasional exception on those days I burn the midnight oil.

Ceci said...

Hangs my head in shame :(