Lately I have been getting a bit obsessed with studio safety and making sure I am using the chemicals I need to work with in the safest ways possible for me and my family.
Many of us have worked with the materials used in our art for many years. Sometimes this is a good thing because we are familiar with the safety precautions required, but sometimes it also allows us to get a little bit lax especially as our businesses get busier.
My studio is in my house (a converted garage) and I also use a corner of my hubby's shop for drilling and soldering. In his shop (a very large space with 16' ceilings) I use a respirator and a barrier cream on my hands, but I always felt the highly toxic flux fumes from soldering followed me around for the rest of the day - and they did. I recently began wearing coveralls when soldering
(there are pictures of me doing this which hubby holds hostage while threatening Facebook blackmail)
and showering when I get home. I have also limited the days and hours that I do this- I am trying to get stocked up during the slow months to prepare for the busy ones, but we will see how this works out. I am committed to not exposing myself for more than a few hours a week and plan on hiring an extra person for this as my business grows and requires it (fingers crossed I have this problem).
My home studio is even more complicated because it is right off the laundry area and kitchen. One thing I do in my work is image transfers that require spraying krylon clear gloss onto paper to lift the images. I almost always do this outside, but there were a few cold, rainy days during the busy holiday season that I brought this into a bathroom. Even when working very fast with a hair dryer, wearing a respirator, opening a window and using a ceiling ventilation fan - I brought the vapors out of the room with me and into my studio and living spaces. I am now committed to only spraying outside.
We have also just installed a new hood style ventilator in the studio for working with resin- which gives me a tiny headache as soon as the bottle is opened. I also never eat in my studio space anymore
(maybe I will finally lose that 5 pounds ... maybe)
or drink out of an open top container. Frequent handwashing is super important, too. And not putting things in your mouth like paintbrushes and pens that lie around your studio. Don't leave your cell phone lying on your work table.
Two good, immediately available sources of health and safety information are your product’s label and its Material Safety Data Sheet(MSDS) which you can request from the manufacturer.
Artists are most likely to be exposed to toxic materials by either skin contact or
the inhalation of vapors, fumes, mists, or dusts. Exposure can also occur through ingestion. Airborne contaminants in art studios include those emitted from photographic development solutions, polyester, epoxy, or urethane resins, and fumes from welding, wood dusts and chemicals from woodworking, gaseous emissions from kilns, mold and chemicals in fibers and many other chemicals and materials used in other mediums.
I guess the bottom line is that we all need to be familiar with what goes into the materials we are using in our art and how those materials are used and stored in our studios. We want (and need) to create - it is what we do - and we need to create safely for our current health and our future health.
Part II (Next Month) Making ART Without Making Ourselves Sick - Repetitive Movements
Venus back into Aries | who are we now?
1 day ago