Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting organized in the studio

Another one of my new year resolutions was to organize my glaze mixing area. It's bad enough that most of these dry chemicals are toxic; I am more concerned about cross contamination. So I've been searching for an efficient way to store the 50-something chemicals I keep in my studio.

First, I decided to make a form on which all my chemicals are listed. Every time I start to get low on one of them, I'll mark it on the sheet. In fact, I keep this list right by my glaze mixing table, so that I can tell at a a glance when I'm running low. A few years ago, I was in the middle of mixing up five gallons of a glaze, only to discover I didn't have enough silica to finish the batch. This inventory sheet lets me know immediately if something is getting low, so I won't make that mistake again.

(Double click on the image below to see a close-up of my list.)

A friend of mine here is Las Vegas worked at a manufacturing plant on the north side of the city. Although the bad news is that the plant closed up, and all of the employees lost their jobs, one of the perks was that many of the products that the plant manufactured were given away to the employees. I was lucky enough to score a case of plastic containers, perfect for storing glaze materials.

Of course, I made labels for the containers, marking everything clearly. I also tore the label off each chemical bag, and stuck it into the container, so that I will always know what's inside.

My label making program imported the list of chemical and spit out the labels for me, alphabetized and ready to slap on the containers. This is about as organized as you'll ever see my studio.

Finally, if any potter out there wants some of these, I probably can spare some. I think I've used about 60, and the case held 250, so if anyone wants some of them, please contact me and we'll work something out. Who knows, getting organized might make you a better potter!

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