Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Tour of My Studio

I thought the next best thing to showing you my work would be to show you my studio! I am indeed a lucky girl, because I have a large unfinished storage area in the basement in which to work. It's long and skinny, but very spacious nonetheless. No, it doesn't have any natural light :( but it does have a door at one end of the room with some glass panels in it, so it's not completely without a glimpse of nature. I guess it's good, because then maybe I'd be distracted.... but I definitely want a space with more natural light if ever I had the option!

 This is a view from one end of the room. On the left, out of view is the table below, which is the one table I let my kids use! It's usually used for various arts and crafts, and usually is just as messy as mine! It'd be nice if they could work silently for hours there, like I do, but alas, short attention spans rule around here, at least for the 3 Evans kids- ages 5, 11 & 12.

 I also have storage for arts supplies off to the left which the kids know they can help themselves to. Anywhere else in the studio, if they want something, they have to ask first. On the right is my laminator, which they LOVE (everything's better laminated!!), and which I also use for attaching PNP paper to metal. I also have a pasta machine on the right of the table, out of view, for polymer clay. The painting was my grandparents- pretty cheesy but I love the memories of it in their dining room. If anyone recognizes it as a great work of art from a famous artist worth tens of thousands of dollars- kindly let me know. The glassware is also old- my grandparents and parents stuff- no one wanted it but me. Great shapes!

 This is the closest thing I have to a desk- I have a nice daylight spectrum lamp for viewing and assembly. I keep odds n' ends here, some bead strands, stones, findings, and charts. My seed bead mosaic supplies are here, too. Pens, pencils, scissors, etc.. This is usually the first and last stop for a piece of jewelry or stone. I have my calipers, scales, etc... here too.

 This is my soldering area. I use a standard (& cheap- $15) plumbers' torch from Home Depot for most of my soldering. It fits my needs. On occasion, like if I have to ball the ends of a wire rivet, or solder a bangle bracelet, I will get out my Mapp gas & oxygen torch (also cheap- $45) which is on the left of the picture- the yellow and red tanks. 

Notice on the right my pickle pots- one large crock pot, one small one on a cup warmer. The small one is the one I use most- unless I have a big piece then I turn on the big crock one. It takes a lot longer to heat up the crock pot, too- so I only turn it on for big items.

The pliers I use most are on the magnetic strip, and the less popular ones on the rack below. I also have a can of 'Flame Out' for fire emergencies- haven't had to use it yet! The blue container on the left is for silver to be recycled. And also notice I use the cork boards to hang my different types of silver wire. The plastic drawers are where I store my sheet and other silver supplies.

Above my soldering area are corkboard squares for me to hang up what inspires me from other artists. The necklace at the top, above, is by Shaun Bluejacket. Seeing this necklace was the impetus for me to start metalsmithing. I saw that necklace with the gorgeous opals (my fave!) and said to myself, "I've GOT to learn how to do that!!"

 This is my 'bit' station. I have a cheap rotary tool that I stole from my husband, as well as a cheap flex shaft from Harbor Freight. Neither are working too well right now, so a nice flex shaft will likely be my next purchase. In the plastic drawers are 3M polishing wheels- the rubber abrasive type as well as the flap wheels for polishing. And also I have little drill bits for drilling holes (Drillcity on ebay), files, saw + blades, etc...

On the right of the pic is my heat gun for chasing/repousee work. The drawers to the bottom right are adjacent to my soldering area and hold hammers, mandrels and other forming tools- of which I don't have very many. I don't do a lot of 3-D work with forming stakes. They're very expensive and I haven't yet invested in them.  I do some 3-D work with the chasing/repousee tools, as well as a hydraulic press which is under my soldering table. I just sit on the floor to use it.

 This is my all-in-one lapidary machine. It's a flat lap, and it was not very expensive, less than $500. A Genie would be nice, but that's around $2000 so I'm making due with this one! I don't have a water supply in this room, so I use old apple juice jugs for water and a bucket underneath the table to catch the used water. At left is a motherlode of Montana Agate, a recent obsession. I also have a wonderful slab saw, which I'll show you in another post.

 The low table on the right holds my dopping station and various rocks for lapidary. The high table on the left is my mailing station. The big tackle box holds most of my rough rocks and slabs. The brown cardboard drawers above hold finished stones. And on the left of the table you can see finished rings and earrings. Underneath the table are boxes, tissue paper, mailing envelopes and foam sheets- everything for mailing out.  (Don't tell my dad about the tackle box- he gave it to my husband and I hijacked it...)

 This is a view of the back half of the studio- the small red table holds my rolling mill and anvil. I like to cover many of my metal tools with fabric to avoid rust and dust. On the left are plastic shelving with various art supplies, some decades old! It's amazing what we hold onto! You never know when something may come in handy! The carpet squares were from an online site selling surplus commercial tiles- pretty cheap- about a buck each, and they're cuttable and have sticky backs!

 More plastic shelving- but with recent art stuff- on the left- grout for my seed bead mosaics, soap making supplies, my photography/light setup, and enameling and some sewing stuff. On the right are my kiln and keum boo burners, a buffing machine in a homemade cardboard shield (with 3M polishing wheels), tumblers and various media, and PNP supplies.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!!


  1. Wow! I love your studio. So many great ideas here to borrow when I get around to setting up my studio. Really like your sense of humor and the fact that you include your children in your creative space, as fraught as that can be sometimes I am sure. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dana...great tour! It always amazes me how many ways there are to do something and how I learn something new all the time! Using your laminator to adhere PNP to metal! What a fabulous idea....better than my hot tray and burnisher! Does the hot metal adversely affect the laminator? (Other than the metal getting really hot?) Does Drill City have the tiny drill bits not carried by Home Depot, etc? Your use of space is great!!! Thanks for the post! Ej

  3. Hi Ej,

    Thanks! I haven't found the metal to adversely affect the laminator. What does adversely affect the laminator is when someone's daughter puts a scrap piece of laminator film into the machine and it melts, sticks, and jams up the machine...!

    Drill City (on Ebay) has sets where you can buy a range of sizes- that seems to work well for me because sometimes I like big or teeny, depending on the job. The prices are also SO MUCH better than retail stores like Home Depot. Even if you did a search for 'drill bits' or 'jewelry drill bits' you could find a lot of other companies selling them for cheap on Ebay. I've never been sorry for a purchase I've made there....

    :) Dana

  4. Great tour Dana, thanks for sharing.

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