Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Tidbits

Often, when you attend a workshop or lecture, the best thing you learn is not necessarily the topic of the presentation. I call these little gems "tidbits," and I learned a great one at NCECA.

I was watching George Rodriguez in the Process Room - George makes these sculptural pieces that are just encrusted with springs. He said he preferred having the sprigs already made so he could work more immediately, instead of having to make a sprig, put it on, make another, put it on, and so on.

I like to work with sprigs, too, and I also find the making of the somewhat disruptive to my creative process - but they are tiny, and dry out quickly. Wrapping them in a bunch of plastic would work but it's sort of clumsy to dig into the wrap to use them.

So, here's the great idea that possibly everyone else has already thought of: a damp box! Not a giant cabinet lined with thick plastic, just a little rubbermaid container from the grocery store with a couple inches of plaster poured into the box. The plaster holds water but keeps it away from the pieces, the plastic prevents the moisture from escaping, so you get a perfect little humid environment. George said he has kept pieces for weeks in his damp box.

I made myself one, though I have yet to use it. It occurred to me while I was making that this would be even better for my students. My studio is at home, so timing is not a problem for me; but they only have a few hours a week in which to work. (Yes, they can come in during open studio hours, but most of them have other pesky obligations like work and families) It often happens that they will pull six handles, but only have time to attach four before 9 pm rolls around. Damp box to the rescue! Those last two handles will now keep until next week's class.

Here's mine. Just needs a cup of water, and it's ready to be of service!


Linda Starr said...

great tip as I too have found the little sprigs a pain in the neck to make as I go and not have them ready to just apply.

smartcat said...

I never thought of using little damp boxes for handles or sprigs. I did keep a few dozen of the small thrown shapes I use for whistles in a box, one winter when I couldn't work in my studio. I used a wrung out sham-wow for dampness. I think plaster would have worked better!

Lori Watts said...

I've been using it for teapot spouts, too.