Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Panels for Convergence Con 2016

I am on a couple of panels at Convergence this year:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Launching the New Studio

The studio is mostly done.

  • I finished the clay trap, and tested it for leaks.
  • We installed a new faucet to the sink, since the old one leaked from ice damage.
  • I used a dolly to bring in our slab roller.  I had to pull the rollers and wheel off of it to get it through the door from the basement equipment room, and then reassemble and re-string the cables.
  • Julie and I used the dolly again to bring the wedging table from the old studio to the new one.  I never thought that I would be able to move it without destroying the the hundred pounds of cast plaster slabs embedded in the surface, especially when we had to flip it up on end to get it on the dolly.  It worked out fine.  I just need to add a good cutting wire to it to finish it.
  • From used lumber, I constructed a four foot by six foot hand building table, with a recycled plastic work surface.  I'll keep everyone posted on how durable it is.  We should be able to get six people comfortably around it to work.
  • I moved our clay shelf into the alcove just outside of the studio.  That's where we will keep our boxes of clay.
  • Julie finished plastering and painting the partition wall on the west side of the studio.
More lighting would be nice, and we need to scour the house and outbuilding for clay tools that have wandered off over the years, but we can start playing with clay again.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Clay Trap

Work on the new studio is progressing.  I took last Friday off of work to focus on getting it complete.  I put trim molding around the two doors, and helped Julie install the rubber base molding on three of the four walls.  I also shut water off in the house so that I could cut the caps off of the water supply pipes, and install valves.

TJ helped me carry the sink into the house from the old studio.  We had recycled about six feet of counter from when we re-did our kitchen a couple of years ago, and were able to re-use the double stainless steel sink.  I had built a rough frame out of two by fours to support the counter and sink, which I reinforced with a few diagonal pieces of wood to make it more stable.

We wanted to install a clay trap for the studio drain.  For our studio in New Jersey, we had made due with a plastic tub, placed in the sink, that we carefully washed everything into.  The waste pipe from the studio sink goes strait into a sump in the basement, and the water is pumped from there up into the drain line and into our septic system.   When we first moved in, most of the plumbing for the house had been going into the sump, and we burned out a couple of pumps in the first two years before we could address the issue.  We had plumbers re-route the pipes, so everything on the ground floor and up bypasses the sump and goes directly to the drain line out.  The basement bathroom, utility sink, and now the studio are the only lines hooked up to the sump.  A clay trap to protect the sump pump is a really good idea.

I found a design that I liked, made from a plastic storage tote, two square plastic buckets (the bright yellow ones that kitty litter comes in), and an assortment of inch and a half plastic pipes and fittings.

The water from both sinks go into a common drain, which pierces a hole in the lid of the tote, and drops into the first bucket.  I may need to add a p-trap before the whole clay trap if odors become a problem.  Near the upper rim of the first bucket, I created a hole, and joined it to the second bucket (with a male and a female threaded connector).  The water is supposed to settle in the first bucket before flowing to the second.  The second has a set of quarter inch holes drilled in a row, a little lower than the height of the hole from the first bucket, to drain water into the tote.  These holes face the front side of the tote/sink.  Around the back side of the tote, I drilled a hole and added connectors (a male and female threaded connector again, with some improvised plastic washers with compression fittings to join to the house plumbing)  to drain the water from the clay trap along the back side of the tote.  The height of the drain pipe leaving the tote is lower than the holes drilled in the second bucket.  There is a p-trap between the this drain pipe and the house plumbing, which is lower than the height of the drainage for the tote.

I had to build a platform of two by fours and plywood to prop the clay trap up to the proper height, so water could flow through it correctly and then exit through the house plumbing.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Nearing Completion

Julie and I finished tiling the studio floor this weekend.  There was a little concrete patch work that we needed to do just outside the main door into the hall Saturday, and then Julie laid the final tiles on Sunday.  I shut off water to the house and installed the valves for under the sink.

We brought the sink in from the old studio.  Its a sixty-eight inch piece of our old kitchen counter, with a double stainless steel sink, mounted on a framework of two by fours.  There were lateral braces that I had to remove, since they were at the exact height of the drain pipe in the wall, and a vertical bract that cut across one of the supply pipes.  I rearranged two by fours for about an hour, but we now have the sink in place.  I need to build a clay trap for the drain from a five gallon bucket, which I plan to get to this week.  I also need to anchor the sink to the counter, and the counter to the frame.  I should be able to cut a sheet of plywood to use as a shelf under the sink as well.

The next major task is to get a waterproof base molding around the perimeter of the room, and to paint the newly built west wall.  We should be able to bring the rest of our equipment in once these are done.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Constructing the new studio.

Julie and I have been talking about selling the place for the last two years.  All of our projects were centered around getting the house ready for market.  We wanted to move into Northfield, or move closer to my work in Arden Hills, or move closer to where my work will be in another year or so in Plymouth.

We finally decided that we would make another go at the place.  This was partly due to me getting a promotion at work, so there is a little more money coming in every month.  Another problem with moving was finding a place to put a studio.  Again.  Our current place has lots of room for a studio, so we finally decided to stop messing with moving, and playing with the hobby farm, and do what we have wanted to do for years, which is to focus on our artwork.

We had a room in the basement on the north side of the house that measured fifteen by thirty.  We never used it for much, and two puppies and two cats did a number on the carpeting.  I decided to partition the room in two, with a pocket door in between.  One will be for an in-house studio.  We'll keep the kilns out in the old garage, which is a separate building from the house, barn, and coop that we have run adequate power out to.  The room designated for the studio is already plumbed for a sink.

I have the partition wall framed, and almost all of the drywall up on the studio side.  I'll start mudding tomorrow, and maybe drywall the other side of the wall as well.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Missing Notebook

I misplaced one of my art notebooks three years ago.  My daughter Steph found it on one of her book shelves the other day. There was a diagram for a raygun that I had started back in New Jersey, but never finished.  I got inspired to head out to the barn workshop, and try again at the build.  I need to fabricate the handle, trigger guard, and trigger, but the body of the piece is complete.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thai Sauce

One of the local restaurants in Northfield had a Thai burger that was one of our favorites.  It was a burger on a pretzel bun with shredded cabbage and with a sweetened thai sauce.  The place is closed now, but Julie and I ran across the following recipe for the sauce:

one half cup sweetened chile sauce
one third cups soy sauce
two tablespoons cup honey
two teaspoons finely minced serranos
one half teaspoon red pepper flakes
one half teaspoon minced garlic
one half teaspoon cajun spices
Saute peppers and garlic in a little oil.
Lower heat.  Stir in honey, soy, and chili sauce.  
Remove from heat and mix in spices.