Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oh ...We take this so much for granted

Water is essential in ceramics. Indeed, clay is weathered down rock by water erosion and deposited over million of years. When we are in a ceramics studio, we do all our washing and cleaning up at the sink without giving too much thought to that valuable resource – water. And we use a lot of it.

In my studio, I don’t have a sink so I do my washings in 5 gal buckets. I reuse these plastic containers and ask my friends to donate if they have them. I’ve even been known to dumpster dive when I see a container or two that has been thrown out.

Rain comes only infrequently in Southern California but when it does I put out my buckets to collect the run off from my patio. I use the water to clean my studio, my hands, clay tools, etc. Extra water is used to water the plants and yard. When you don’t have a sink, it makes you conserve the amount of water you use and forces me to reuse the water until it becomes too muddy for clean up.

When that happens, I set the clay water in the bucket aside. The heavier clay will settle to the bottom and the clearer top water is used to water the grass. The heavier sludge at the bottom is left out in the sun to dry out. It takes several weeks for this to happen. The dried out “cake of clay” at the bottom of the bucket will pop off rather easily and can be disposed of in the trash. This way, you keep the clay out of the sewers and your drain pipes.

The top picture shows the rain run off collecting in the 5 gal. buckets during the rains we had yesterday. The bottom picture shows my wash buckets.

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