Sustainable Potter’s Wheel

As responsible citizens we want to create in an environmentally friendly way. Consequently, going green has been a focus of The Potter’s Wheel studio. This has been incorporated into our basic practices with the responsible management of our resources through the reclaiming of materials and implementation of energy efficiency.

While the world around us increasingly seems a throwaway culture, nevertheless, many people have a strong desire to create. When we’re creative we find a healthy antidote making life fulfilling and enriching. We feel more balanced and satisfied. This lessens our need to seek out forms of escapism and contributes to our well being.

Recycling
Reclaiming unused clay is a key process in our studio. Used clay, with a little care, can be reincorporated into reusable clay. The drying, rehydrating or storing of clay enables us to use the very basis of our craft to its utmost. Our policy when wheel throwing is to pour off the water in our throwing buckets into a temporary receptacle and letting the clay settle to the bottom where is can be reclaimed.

Rather than letting slabs dry out on the table during the construction of a project, clay can be covered with reclaimed plastic dry cleaner sheets which can then be passed on to someone else, or re-wedged for other use. Clay that has hardened and has become too firm for wedging can be sliced and sprayed repeatedly with water until sufficiently softened.

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Limiting toxic emissions
We endeavor to reduce our dependence on electric kiln firings in the summer due to the heavy demand on the power grid. We shift to lower temperature firings, as well as, alternative firings such as gas, wood, salt, barrel and sagger.

We encourage sustainable transport to and from the studio and we are located close to good transport hubs. We are only a short walk from the LIRR station, as well as the MTA bus and subway lines. When the warmer weather arrives we see more of our potters on foot or utilizing bicycles or mopeds, another plus!

Conservation
We limit the needless wasting of our water resources. We reclaim water used for wheel throwing by adding it to the slip bucket. Clean up of the wheels is done without long periods of rinsing at the slop sinks and is accomplished by simply wiping down the surfaces with rinsed out sponges. This does a remarkable job with a fraction of the water and in less time. We use buckets with fresh water and sponges for cleaning, rather than running the faucet. Water leaks are promptly repaired, and forgotten water bottles are used to hydrate the plants and flowers. Applications of stains and oxides are applied and removed with brushes rather than sponges resulting in more control and less waste of water and materials.

The addition of a vestibule at our entrance helps in balancing the indoor temperature by adding a buffer between the interior and exterior environments. This has helped to retain heating or air conditioning inside.

Renewable energy
We have taken the initiative to protect our environment by enrolling in the “Go Green” program and now are using only wind energy for our electric power, which is removing 4,432 pounds of pollutants from the air each month. In addition, we have converted all of our lighting to compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, using one-third to one-fifth the electric energy of the previous lamps, further decreasing our energy consumption.

The addition of energy efficient electric kilns for our oxidation firings with walls at least 3 inch thick, made out of high quality firing bricks are always fully loaded when we fire getting the maximum from each firing.

Sustainability is at the heart of “green” practices. Make it a part of your every day.

recycle

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A New Year and a New Phase

Progress in 2012. Updates and changes in the studio. Our fourth kiln has been installed & the first glaze fire was unloaded this morning. It all looks great! So now we have two kilns dedicated for bisquing and two kilns dedicated for glaze fire. The entire area is now organized more efficiently with each section separated for ease and clarity. The common pick up shelves have made a big hit while giving an opportunity to view other potters’ work. The wheel area has the new addition of shelving for potters’ thrown pots. The 24 linear feet gives everyone much more space while working on multiple pieces.
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Please send pictures

Send your pictures for the Potters Wheel Blog to germane@potterswheelny.com. I will be happy to post them. This is a great way to communicate and show others what your making and it’s great FUN!

New Photos from Loretta Tedeschi Cuoco

Photos from Liz Alter

Liz, Please add comments with descriptions on these 5 photos.

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Unveiling the kiln-shelf by shelf

Top shelf
Next shelf
Next shelf
Next shelf
Bottom

 

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Gifts of the season

Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures, signs of the holiday season are everywhere. People are bustling, and the studio is busy. Soon I will be opening a glaze kiln so that it can be unloaded. No matter how many times I’ve done it there is always this feeling of happiness and excitement akin to the holiday. Running the studio is, in fact, a gift and it’s so gratifying to share it with others. So off I go, it’s a new day and the results of the latest glaze firing will be revealed.

 

Here are photos submitted by Loretta.

 

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Hello world!

This is the first post on The Potter’s Wheel blog where I hope to inform and engage fellow potters and ceramic enthusiasts. The studio is a busy one with interests in not only mid-range cone 6 electric, but gas, wood, high-fire porcelain, and raku, for example. I just competed a raku fire this week and will be sealing the surfaces today. Most of them are frames, and will be fitted with glass or mirrors.
It’s a great day for it – dry and cool. Oh, how I’d love to have a raku fire today!

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