Friday, October 03, 2008

Reclaiming my studio

Many of you know that I had a studio 'disaster' this past week. I have been reluctant to post about it simply because it was such an awful experience. It frustrated me and left me weary.
However, I've gotten my studio mostly back together and have actually improved some things so it is time to share.

My flexshaft has always hung from a nail that protrudes from the side of the cinderblock wall, behind the right hand side of my bench. The nail is a big long sturdy son of a gun. However, a flexshaft motor is fairly large as well. AND since its located behind the bench, and my bench is deep - itts a bit of a stretch to use it comfortably for things like drilling, since you have to come in at the piece from the top. So as I was working one night, I pushed the foot pedal and the motor JUMPED (ok, FLEW is probably more like it) off the nail and came CRASHING down on my bench.

But not just on the bench mind you. It landed on a (closed) container of ferric know, etchant. METAL etchant. And. . . . it broke the container. No, not really. It SMASHED the container. And etchant went EVERYWHERE. In my face, on my neck, clothes, the bench, the wall, ALL of my tools that were out, metals that were out, pieces in progress, stones, bead strands, my rolling mill, all over the flexshaft, on the desk lamp, puddles on the floor. I mean, it went pretty much everywhere.

If you've never cleaned up ferric chloride, let me just tell you that its not enough to wipe it with a paper towel. That just gets off the surface excess, but it doesn't 'cut' it from just smears it around. So I had to also go over everything with a wet paper towel, then again with a dry. It took me DAYS to clean it up - doing a little at a time each night. (remember, I work FT outside the studio each day) Well, I finally got it all done. Then came putting the tools back. I took this moment of cleared off bench time to collect all scraps and stones and wipe the entire bench top and then put things away. I hung the flexshaft from a long plant stand attached to the wall (with two screws and 4 bent over nails for good measure!)

So I've reclaimed my workspace even better than before. That makes me happy.

Looking at some of my pockmarked tools still makes me sad, but such is life. Life goes on and I've learned a lesson and tools can slowly be replaced. I wasn't injured which is probably the most important thing of all.
One additional upswing to this is that it should make packing for the Jewelry Artists Retreat next week much easier!! Speaking of which - YAY!!! Only 8 days and then I leave!! WHOOHOOO!

If you're not familiar with this retreat - its 7 days of non-stop jewelry making. In a very large house, right on the lake in NC, with a group of very talented and wonderful women metalsmiths. . . . it is such a good time and I can't wait to see everyone and play from sun-up til sun-down. You can see some info and pics from last year here , here, and here..and in another couple of weeks you'll see photos from this year!!!


  1. Sorry to hear about your ordeal! I'm glad that you have recovered from it. The retreat sounds like a blast. Sign me up- I call top bunk!

  2. Thanks...what a pain, but it forced me to clean my bench!

    The retreat really is a blast....NY isn't that far!!! (One of the gals comes from NY) Maybe next year....?

  3. OH MY Janice!!! I'm so glad you didnt get hurt! What a mess!

    BBBBBOOOOOO HHHOOOOOOO!!! I wanna be at the retreat SOOOOO bad!!!!


    I hope you all have a GREAT retreat and a ton of fun!!


  4. OMG thats so scary, Im glad it didnt get into your eyes! Im in the process of setting up a small studio room in a sunroom, and sunporch we dont really use....My biggest fear is one of my cats sneaking in and getting blowtorched.....I keep all chemicals outside in the garage at present...i really worry about using them indoors at present.....great blog by the way! glad i surfed in!

  5. Thanks for the compliment. I'd love to serenade at the next retreat. No- New York really isn't that far. I was just down there in August, and it's a beautiful drive. Must be a million times better this time of year though. Have a fun and productive week. (And I changed my color scheme- thanks for reading!)

  6. What an awful ordeal!

    Glad your OK :)

    Have fun on your trip !

  7. Wow, Janice...I'm so glad you weren't injured in any way! Tools are replaceable, but you aren't!

    Have fun on the of these days...:)

  8. I feel for you. I bust a gallon of sulphuric acid once. Major nightmare. On a positive note, everything is clean....Enjoy your retreat.

  9. Thanks all!

    Hans - I don't think I want to even imagine that nightmare!

  10. retreat!? what retreat? I live in wilmington NC.
    just started Cape Fear Metalsmiths.