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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Organizing the Things on My Workbench

Yes, it HAS been a long time.  For the past couple months, I keep saying to myself, “Yes, I’m crazy busy right now, but in a few weeks, I’ll have time to blah-blah-blah”. 

But then I take on more projects, get invited to more opportunities, and take on more responsibilities.  “In a few weeks” never comes. 

But here I am.  Tada!  Hopefully I can get into some kind of regular writing plan now and stay in touch with you all.  I’m putting my traveling shoes in the closet for now (which is fine… I prefer to be barefoot anyway).

Made some major rearranging in my studio to accommodate my upcoming classes.  Yep.  Classes in my own workshop.  I love it!  (Mostly because I hate packing everything up… traveling, unpacking, repacking, and unpacking again.)

So over the next few blog posts I’ll show you some of the things I’m doing in the workshop to stay organized.

Let’s start with the little do-dad tray.  At any given moment I’ve got dozens if not hundreds of “things” at my work station.  They range from things that need a lot of work to things that are ready to list.  But in the chaos, nothing gets done.  And I hate is doing one thing at a time; it’s so wasteful.  For example, setting up my whole patina station to add liver of sulfur to just one component.  Same thing with tumbling.  Do I want to have the tumbler on for two hours with only one item in it? 

So I took a multi-compartment tray and began to sort.  Here’s what I came up with for the first tray:
·         Examples for Metal Clay 
·         Ready to Polish 
·         Ready to Seal 
·         Photograph but not for listing 
·         Components 
·         Ready to Use 
·         Listed 
·         Ready to List 
·         Add Patina 
·         Do Something Else to It 
·         Examples for Etching 
·         Misc May Use Someday 
·         Misc to Use 
·         Need Work 
·         Add Color 
·         Need Lots of Work 
·         Ready to Photograph for Listing

I don’t want to be that all or nothing person so instead of saying, “But I’m not done with this blog post… so I’ll just pause here and continue writing tomorrow, then I’ll post it when I finish.”  Yeah, don’t want to be that person anymore.  That’s how we end up going a WHOLE MONTH without any blog post.  Ugh! 

So I’m going to be the person who say, “I said SOMETHING… it may not be everything I wanted to say tonight, but I did say something, so I’m going to actually post this to my blog and I can write more tomorrow.”

And just because I like optical illusions and eye/mind tricks… can you see the circles in this image?  If not, give it a few seconds.


  1. Great idea with the do dad tray. I share your 'process' exactly when it comes to dozens of items right on the work station, all headed in their own unique direction...it can make getting down to work pretty off-putting!!! I should give this a try!!!

  2. Hi Laura, thank you for documenting your bronze and copper clay experiments. I have yet to get the bronzclay (fast fire) to sinter. Also it comes out with a granulation appearance on some surfaces-maybe moisture still in clay?
    Your organization challenges are shared. Do you use a label machine or type labels on the computer. My do-dad tray seems to need new categories constantly.

  3. Hi and thanks for commenting! I've not used fast fire clay so I'm afraid I can't respond regarding the granulation appearance or the non-sintering. I use only the clays of Hadar Jacobson, but I think all metal clay users have to troubleshoot at one time or another. When I have something that doesn't sinter, I try to think why. It is almost always NOT a case of the firing not being hot or long enough. It is almost always a case of the binder not burning out correctly. Is there an instructor in your area you could work with to solve the sintering problem?

    As to the granulation, I'm not sure if it's brand-related or something that happens during construction of the piece(s).

    Again, it would probably be most helpful if a teacher could see the problem and help diagnose with you in person.

    The labels on my organization tray were printed onto small adhesive Avery labels from my computer. And like you, I change and update the labels quite often. :-)