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.
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.
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!
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.
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.