In the past 2+ years of online pivoting, I’ve had the privilege of seeing inside more studios than ever, even more than when I was traveling and teaching somewhere new every month. It’s been hugely inspiring, but admittedly, at first, I found it a bit depressing when I’d turn off Zoom and look back at my own space.
As much as I adore pawing through art supplies and tools to find new and useful ways to keep them in front of me without starting an avalanche, I realized my bench was the final frontier. I’d been procrastinating forever in favor of that next commission, project, or course prep. What I needed was some upgrading and a more creative, “Marie Kondo” take on my pack-rat style.
This was also spurred on by the reality that I need things where I can easily grab them without getting up and down. I need things ergonomically easy and intuitive if I’m to keep going in my fourth decade of fire, forging, and fabrication. It’s always been tempting to revert to my single-mom, scarcity mode of the early 2000s when it comes to equipment. My ingenuity means I can make just about anything work if I have to, but my stubborn adherence to the idea that I should always make do with whatever has cost me dearly in tendinitis and neck pain.
With the fabulous help of my friend Mark Nelson at Rio Grande, I reimagined what my set up could be. I thanked for its service and moved it to the attic (just in case) my 30+ year old, cracked, plexiglass collection box that I hated looking at but which always awkwardly ended up front and center in the studio. I bought a Foredom stand and collection system that raises and lowers to any height I need so my joints and spine don’t require Rust-Oleum when I stop and stand up. I invested in a micromotor for faster clean up. The handpiece and cord are way lighter to hold, which means my wrists don’t go numb when I get over-fixated on polishing a piece. (This also means I have no good excuse for not finishing more pieces, but there’s a solution for that!)
Last but not least, I went Wall Control crazy.
I recently compiled all the still photos I took of the process into this animation. (It only took me a year to edit it!) Like their owner, my tools have a fair amount of personality.
Time for the big reveal!
Full list of tools and where to find them at the end of the short video