Robert Harrison in Sustainable Ceramics says this “The most important thing that an individual can do to save the planet is to save water.”
With the hazards of silicosis, cleaning methods in ceramics are heavy on water usage. So the question becomes, how best to balance personal health in the studio with the environmental legacy of our species?
One point often brought up is location of the studio. Rural areas with high water tables are at the lowest risk of water use having an effect on neighbors and overall supply. However, if you live in a state with a high water table, reducing water is still important. No matter where you live, being conservative with water usage saves energy and can help alleviate water infrastructure needs and updates which are costly to the environment.
Three Helpful Tips for Operating A Sustainable Pottery Studio – Maggie Furtak (Ceramics Arts Daily) shares her methods of collecting throwing water to let the clay settle out.
The Cink – Portable Clay and Water Filtering Recycling System – This Portable sink for ceramic studios can help to save water and prevent hazardous waste from entering your waste stream.
Water Saving Tips for Potters – Earth Interrupted Pottery in California shares her thoughts and tips for being mindful of water usage in one of the most drought-prone states.
Virginia Scotchie in Setting Up your Ceramic Studio – Whenever possible, recycle clay scraps before they dry. Don’t use a broom for clay dust; it’s much better to use a damp sponge or mop, rinsing it into a bucket of water. If you must sweep your floors, use a commercial-grade, oiled sweeping compound to do so (though it takes a large quantity of the compound to do the job). Regular household and shop vacuums aren’t equipped with the filtration system of a ceramic-studio vacuum – only a multi filtered studio vacuum can effectively capture the sub-micron-size particles that come from raw clay materials. -pg 15
Sweeping Compound – Alternative Dust Trapper
A sweeping compound may not be the best solution for a modest personal studio but it is a great addition to any group ceramics studio’s cleaning protocol, especially if it’s in a location with a delicate water supply. Sweeping compounds are a fine recycled material which is hydrated with either oil or water-based liquids. The compound traps dust so it does not get kicked up as you sweep. It comes in two colors – Red is oil-based and green is water based, for more delicate floor finishes.