Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Potters - The ultimate recyclers...or should I say hoarders...

I am sitting here at my office job (the one that pays the bills), and I received a Fed Ex package. I opened the pouch, dispersed the contents accordingly, and then rolled up the Tyvek pouch and put it in my purse. I have been saving these pouches lately to see if I could use them in a pottery related way. Tyvek is pretty durable stuff, so I thought it would make great masking material, or stencils etc and could be reused as it is not easily damaged by water.

It occurred to me while I was putting it in my purse that I have a lot of stuff like this that I don’t throw out because it could be used in another way somehow. I think my pottery “career” is feeding whatever hoarding tendencies I have. I see it in everyone that I meet at the studio that sticks around longer than their first 4 weeks. The owner of our little studio has been known to go dumpster diving for various odds and ends like pvc tubes, foam, etc...

My own personal hoard includes things like the central plastic cores from adding machine tape – makes interesting texture if the end is pressed into the clay and then expanded on the wheel; popsicle sticks from some popsicles I bought; little nuggets of cured fimo or sculpy – they make interesting marks when impressed into the clay; the metal hanger from hanging folders – I have not found a use YET. One of the funniest things that I have seen someone recycle was a brush purchased from the Salvation Army Thrift store for $0.25, all the bristles in the centre were missing, but the outer ones were still there, they used it as a texturing tool. I have kept wooden skewers, plastic stir sticks, old cutlery that I have reshaped on the grinding wheel, plastic cutlery. Recently I was laminating some business cards at work, and I kept the plastic trimmings with the thought that I could use them to make a random cross hatch pattern when glazing (I have not done that yet, but I will get around to it eventually).

I was at the studio a couple of weekends ago, and a couple of people came by wondering if we had anything they could salvage like car batteries, metal, anything. I told him we were potters, and the likelihood of our throwing anything away was pretty much nil.  The entire studio, aside from the kilns and wheels, is pretty much scavenged or donated, like old kitchen chairs with the stuffing coming out of them, cobbled together shelving, old doors used as table tops, etc. At the old studio, someone donated a really old and rusty printing press to us, as Dave (the owner) thought it could be used to print on clay (he never did fix it, and probably had to pay to have it hauled to the dump when we moved to the new location).

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