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dust blowers

updated tue 30 sep 97


Joseph Herbert on sun 14 sep 97

Toby Wilson wrote about a portable HEPA air cleaner for his "incredibly
dusty" basement studio. It seems to me the first step here is to change
studio practices so it is not dusty down there. If you are the sole user of
a space you should be able to use wet cleaning methods on a regular basis and
not have a dusty studio.

I don t know what this air cleaner is like but it probably has a fan and
draws in and expels air. When our Toby sets his new air cleaner in the
middle of the shop and turns it on, it will suspend clay in the air for
weeks. I would say, spend the $200 on mops, sponges, and buckets. The
application of wet cleaning methods - no brushing or sweeping of dry clay
bits - will go a long way to making Toby s studio, and upstairs too, a
healthier place. You have to do this cleaning anyway to prevent filling the
house with dust blown by the fan on the HEPA unit, so why not just forget the
HEPA Unit and clean more.

This is one of those examples of the improper application of technology. We
don t want to use a mop and sponge REGULARLY so we spend $200 on a box full
of fans and filters to make up for the personal lapses. As is often the
case, the filter unit will probably make this problem worse.

I speak from the moral high ground of being able to hose out the garage
whenever I want. I realize that I have been less than kind to Mr. Wilson
about his dust problem and that runs contrary to the kind, caring tone my
posts usually display. I can only offer the excuse that I have recently
decided to stop working at a studio (I m away form home now) because to this
very issue. The floor was clean, freshly mopped, when I came for class on
Monday night, but the activities I observed on the weekend free studio days
made me feel worse and worse. Sanding greenware and blowing the resulting
dust onto the floor was the practice that decided it for me. That dust from
the weekend stayed in the air a long time and the clean floor didn t help
that. So, I m without a clayplace right now and it makes me cranky.

Joseph Herbert

Taube Wilson on tue 16 sep 97

This is a response to Joseph Herbert's answer to my request for
information about air cleaners:


Just for the record, I'm female (my name, Taube, is pronounced "Toby".
It's from Yiddish-it was my grandmother's name.)

I guess I should have been more explicit about the dust problem in my
studio. I am *very* concered about the health effects of the materials
I work with. My basement was dusty before I started working with clay. I
share my space with two cats (and their covered litter boxes) and a lot
of books, etc., stored in cardboard boxes. The furnace is behind a wall
that does not reach all the way to the ceiling. I don't have running
water there at this time (I'm planning to have a utility sink installed
soon). I always clean up after I've been working, including wet-mopping
the(linoeum)floor. (I'll admit,though, that I don't wipe down the
non-clay-use surfaces as often). Maybe it's because the water in the
buckets I haul downstairs gets muddy fast, but after I wipe things down
there's often a haze on things after they dry.

Anyhow, your point about air cleaners blowing dust around is very well
taken. That's just what I was worried about-that it might make things
even worse.

I sympathize with your frustration about the lack of cleanliness at
the studio you were working at. (I was once in a class where a woman
actually sanded dry glaze off a pot and blew it right into the faces of
the people sitting next to her!) And I get very angry at people who mix
glazes without wearing masks, mix glaze without warning others in the
area that they are about to do so, and trim dry pots. (NOTE: I don't mix
glaze at home, and don't plan to anytime soon.)

Maybe the solution for me at this point is to get the utility sink
installed sooner rather than later, to make it easier to wet things
down. And maybe find a way to wall off the cat boxes, which I think are
a bigger source of dust than my clay.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I hope you find an appropriate
clay place soon.

-Taube Wilson

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terrie lambert on wed 17 sep 97


I wouldn't go so far as to say I have eliminated dust in my shop, but it is
exceptionally clean due to two facts.

1. I have implemented water cleaning ware. Used judiciously it has worked
extremely well, cut down on labor time and definitely the dust. I have had
absolutely no problems with hard spots or trapped water in the ware. I use
both high fire and low fire clays.

2. I bought a Rainbow vacuum cleaner. You do need the non-water soluble
filter to catch anything the water filter doesn't, but when you vacuum the
dust goes into the water and stays there. The little sponge filter catches
materials like talc, plaster, etc... I sweep all the big pieces first, then
vacuum floor and shelves, then mop.

I'm not saying it's the end all for dust maintenance, but it sure does cut
it down. Then comes the discipline of actually cleaning at the end of a hard
work week.

Terrie Lambert