Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Studio, first incarnation...

In real life, it took a lot longer to get the studio going than it did when I imagined it in my head. Stupid real life!

It has been a productive month-and-a-bit since my last post. I was interviewed about Alaska's story (which hopefully was helpful to people going through the same situation, and/or to the Humane Society in terms of recruiting new donors and volunteers!). I also had to take her back to the vet for antibiotics for a nasty kennel cough she picked up (another side-effect of the overcrowded situation in the current shelter, which the new shelter will be designed to help prevent). I'm happy to report that she's fully recovered now and back to her old self 100%!

We also painted most of the first and second floor, which took forever, and unpacked and organized most of our stuff. Finally, once all that was under control, we were able to turn our attention to the studio.

I found a huge steel worktable on Kijiji near our house and spent an evening with Andrea trekking it home down the sidewalk on a dolly. (Clangy!) After that, my first goal was ventilation. I found a 715 CFM kitchen vent on Kijiji and after an epic quest to far Nepean, returned home with it. It was huge but covered in a thin film of sticky grease that took two hours of scrubbing to remove. It cleaned up nicely though and I'm kind of in love with it! It's a Japanese model called Sakura and the centres of the two fan grilles are shaped like cherry blossoms (which is what sakura means). Cutest fan ever.

My father spent a Sunday with me finding parts at Home Depot and installing it. It's wonderful to have a father who, at a moment's notice, can drop by with exactly the right kind of machine screws and driver bit for a job! The window was a slider and the vent duct and cover fit perfectly. We fed it through blue styrofoam sandwiched between two layers of plywood, which we custom-fit to the window hole. I painted the outer layer for protection. It's snug as a bug and looks sleek. And of course it really sucks.

We've decided to take a break on pursuing a natural gas line for now, as the red tape for that in Ontario is unbelievable. At first I thought I'd try the disposable tank and Hot Head approach, just until the show (two weeks away at the time). I bought a new Hot Head as my old FireWerks QuietTorch was dying. We made it work for a week but it was way too frustrating. The flame is so much more bushy, reducing and weak than the oxy-fuel torch. It was like trying to paint with a plastic brush when you're used to a fine-tipped sable! Of course a true artist can adapt to any tool but we were on a timeline, and I'm out of practice being an artist of any kind!

So Andrea took up the challenge and spent two days tracking down parts and connectors to get our big torch running. It's SO much nicer. Thankfully the oxygen concentrators seem to have survived the move - keep on trucking, little guys!

I also want to point out that most of my tools are hanging off rare-earth magnets from the vent! It's working out well so far.

We have the kiln and controlled going again and our old glass storage back in action. (Still being unpacked from their bubble-wrappy shrouds in the photo).

So many things we want to upgrade... (Including, you guessed it, insulating and drywalling the gloomy walls!) But for now, we are making glass again!

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