CERF+ "Get Ready Grant"

CERF+ "Get Ready Grant"

There are significant costs related to setting up a personal studio, aside from equipment costs, OVERHEAD has to be the next biggest one. When deciding on a studio budget, (knowing I would be moving across country to a new city with zero contacts) I had to be realistic about my projected income.

Before moving to Ames, IA, I researched the possibility of renting studio space. The Creative Artists’ Studio of Ames,(Here) has a fully equipped ceramic studio and rental spaces for artists ranging from beginner to experienced. Their facilities are wonderful, and they have a positive impact on the community, however, it was not a match for me. The maximum work space rental size was 10’x10’ and for approximately $3000 per year. The size/cost ratio would not work for me, I need at least three times as much space for a fraction of the cost.

This roadblock simply allowed for a new path to be forged. Over the past seven years, I have never had my own private studio. It has always been a shared/communal workspace. It is great to work in a lively atmosphere with many voices and ideas, but very difficult to get solitude and focused work accomplished. Ultimately, I decided the best solution would be to create my own, personal studio. Instead of renting a space away from my residence, I combined them. There are many benefits to this:
  1. No commute to work.
  2. Able to closely monitor the work through the varied processes.
  3. Ability to be around while the kiln is firing.
Safety cannot be an afterthought and must be in the forefront of the mind when designing a productive studio. Instead of safeguarding a studio later, consider a few basic safety features when scouting for a new location. Ask yourself:
  1. Is this location in a floodplain?
  2. Is there long term structural damage to the building?
  3. Ventilation?
  4. Pests/rodents?
After careful evaluation of each of these questions, I sought out the ideal home studio location.

The financial burden of starting out as an independent artist is difficult. Undergraduate school through my final semester in graduate school, I had taken out very little student loans. The likelihood of a recent college graduate obtaining a bank loan with a reasonable interest rate is unlikely. Therefore, I decided to withdraw the maximum student loan amount on my final semester. This decision allowed for a couple ‘big ticket’ equipment expenses.

Grant writing is an invaluable resource when securing funding to assist with your studio. Be sure to check out CERF+ (Here) to find assistance that would be best for you. Even doing simple Google searches for "artist grants" you can find endless resources tailored for your unique discipline.

Having the financial support of CERF+ to obtain the necessary materials needed to install a professional ventilation system, I wasted no time and got right to work. My first step was to obtain all the necessary materials.

With proper ventilation, I know that I’m protecting myself from dangerous chemicals and fumes, and firing a kiln can be a stress-free activity with minimal health related problems. With the “CERF+ Get Ready Grant” I proposed to purchase a downdraft ‘Vent-Sure’ ventilation system for my electric kiln. Equipped with a high-quality kiln vent, I will be safeguarding my health to ensure longevity in my studio.

When outfitting your studio with health and safety measures, you really need to know your
equipment. And this is a good thing. You want all of your equipment to work together. In my case I needed a ventilation system that:

1. Would not affect my warranty with the current kiln I have.
2.  Had strong enough air-flow power to vent both an updraft hood vent and a downdraft floor vent. It became apparent that I needed double ventilation. A hood vent to divert rising heat, and a floor vent to remove hazardous fumes.
3. Physically fit in the studio space that I have.

Various materials volatilize during an electric kiln firing. Depending on their composition, they will either rise and escape through the top of the kiln or will settle to the bottom. After much research, I decided that a Vent-Sure downdraft system (Here) would be the best ventilation system for my kiln. Vent-Sure is manufactured by the L&L kiln company and is compatible with my current L&L kiln..

Having the financial support of CERF+ to obtain the necessary materials needed to install a professional ventilation system, I wasted no time and got right to work. My first first step was to obtain all the necessary materials.

These adjustable pipe hangers where used in tandem with SCH 40 PVC, hung from the rafters.

(The PVC 'clicks' down into place after ensuring proper alignment)

To incorporate the exhaust fan into the basement window, I used a combination of 1/2" plexiglass and 3/4" plywood. After cutting the correct diameter hole, I used stainless steel nuts, bolts and washers to connect everything. Finally I used door and window silicon to ensure a water tight seal.

Using only quality, industrial products ensures longevity!

Here is an image of the final ventilation system installed on my kiln.


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