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my studio update and any helpful suggestions are welcome

updated wed 20 sep 00


Veena Raghavan on tue 19 sep 00

Dear Clayarters,

At the risk of boring you, I would like to give you an update on
the progress (or nonprogress) of my studio setup.

I have a wheel, and that little corner is the only one that is not
piled high with half-opened boxes! I am in a state of bliss having my own
wheel. I can work when I want, trim when the pots are ready, do additional
work, if I am not happy with a piece......ah the joys of solitude, peace,
and thinking space.

I have a wedging bench! Thank you Elizabeth Priddy for your tip
some time ago. We were hunting for tables and bookcases in Pier 1, when I
spied this long solid, and I mean solid, thick wood bench on sale. It was
scratched so they reduced it some more, and I have a great bench. I have
never been so comfortable in my clay life. Ten years of wedging on a table
that was far too high (a studio not designed for wedging or for shorties!).
Now, I can wedge in comfort, it is a great position. Thank you, Elizabeth,
without your post, I would never have even considered a bench. I recommend
it to anyone who actually wants to enjoy wedging.

We have been spending part of the weekend haunting estate and
moving sales, not to mention garage and yard sales. Picked up a blender at
one, and a microwave at another, both for $15 each. Latest find, in a
little "antique" store, a baby scale, solid and great for weighing clay. So
it is slowly coming together.

More as time goes on, unless I hear a big Clayart yawn!

Any more wonderful advice, please send it my way.

>From a happy little short potter hoping for that front loading kiln for
short folks!

All the best.


Veena Raghavan

June Perry on tue 19 sep 00

Dear Veena:

Check out the Good Will and Salvation stores regularly. They are a good
source of potential studio tools. Here's a few things I've purchased there:

Blender jars/blenders for mixing glaze test batches. Paid $3 for a jar for my
old Oster. A new one would be over $20.
Cheese slicers -- easily adapted for wide faceting.
Butter knives - $.10-$.50 - grind down beautifully for fettling knives.
Wooden paddles for beating pots. :-)
Sun Tea Jars - around $2 - great for terra sig.
Studio clothes - T-Shirts - $2-$3 (often brand new from manufacturer
donations). Sweat pants $3.
Old electric fry pans for melting wax. I recently bought a small, round
electric pan (have no idea of the original use), but it's pefect for waxing
smaller pieces like mugs, small covered jars, cups, etc.
Large round, square and oval platters, serving dishes and bowls-- perfect for
drape and hump molds. Some I use "as is" and others I've made plaster molds
of. Usually only $1 - $3.
Pizza cutters -$.25 -$1 - good for cutting slabs.
Plastic and glass jars with lids and screw tops - good for small batches of
Large Stainless Steel bowls - for mxing those 10 lbs clay test batches or dry
mxing 1000 gram dry base glaze test batches.
Sieves and other assorted kitchen utensils like lemon peelers, cookie cutters
for those childrens classes, or for just using a measuring devices for lids.
Fireplace tongs that can double as raku tongs.
Crockpots in all sizes - large ones are good for warm water for those who
have to haul water to the studio. I used one when I was doing jewelry to hold
my pickling solution.
Tools of all kinds -- manual and electric.
Childrens kitty pools - for a cool dip, bathing the dog or mixing clay.
Childrens round, metal or plastic snow boards - great mold for bird baths or
huge platters.
Lighting (a friend got a brand new halogen work lamp for about $2.
Old stereo turntables with a couple of speeds makes a good banding wheel.
TV's and radios for the studio -- really cheap -- same for office accessories
like filing cabinets, office chairs, rolladexes and other desk top things.
Furniture - good for studio tables, benches. I bought a very sturdy vinyl
recliner to keep near my kiln. It was in great shape and cost all of $20.
These places are gold mines! :-) A friend recently found an art tile by a
well known west coast potter for somewhere under $3.
We live in a university town and there are always a few student pots on the
shelves -- most typically first semester work but once and while a few gems
show up.
Last time I was in there, about a month ago, there was a hand made,
porcelain dinner set with temmoku glaze and rutile decor --- really nice,
just a bit used. I purchased two of the cereal/salad bowl for $.99 each and
refired one just to see if it would brighten it up; but the thing bloated
like crazy. Either it wasn't a cone 10 body, or I fired it too fast in the
test kiln, or----.
Garage sales (second day is better) for real bargains. Flea markets are great
too -- just get there as soon as they open. I got my wide belt sander for
peanuts as well as other tools. Large tin snips, for example, were $2, Small
and Large metal garbage cans, with lids, for raku, in the $2-$5 range. You
can find all sorts of texturing tools, stamps, rasps, etc. at these places.
Feed and grain stores are a great place to buy sturdy (won't crack in a year)
rubberized, animal feeder buckets. I have one shallow one that's about 2 feet
across and maybe 8" deep which is great for glazing large plates and
platters. They also sell smaller versions. Sometimes you can find these
things at farm auctions and the flea markets.
My favorite throwing bucket is a stainless steel pail with handle that I
bought at one of these farm supply places. It will outlast me and my
Anyway -- support your local charity stores! :-)