My jewelry studio is like my garden – a living thing. When plants don’t get enough sun or they overwhelm their neighbors, they need to move or be eliminated for the whole to flourish. As I’ve noticed my studio isn’t serving effectively, I know it’s time to edit underperforming tools and review the work zone layout.
When I originally converted my enclosed porch sunroom into my glass and metals studio, my needs were different. At that time I focused on glass with torches and kilns for that purpose. After installing three banks of least-expensive big-box-store kitchen cabinets, it seemed that I had more storage and counter than I’d ever use. That didn’t last long. Just like the gardener keeps tucking in interesting plants here and there, the maker keeps adding tools.
I added metal work to combine with the glass. The jewelry bench got tucked into a vacant corner, facing a small expanse of brick wall in a room full of windows. Soon the jewelry tools outgrew the three tiny bench drawers and started encroaching like weeds. Instead of moving glass tools out of the way, I just piled over and around them.
The time has come to reprioritize space to the current usage. That means rethinking my needs, and reworking the layout to maximize efficiency. I sat down and brainstormed ideas for collecting equipment into work zones by counter space, in order of usage:
- fabrication zone with hand tools, flex shaft & torch – the jewelry bench with extra tools nearby
- wet zone – pickle, mag polisher, rotary tumbler & ultrasonic
- metal cutting & grinding – shear, grinder, chop saw, belt sander (and buffer, if I ever buy one)
- forming zone with rolling mill, jump ring maker, punches and daps, stakes & hammers, engraving ball, pitch pot (and hydraulic press, if I ever buy one)
- hot zone – large glass kiln and small metal clay kiln along with the toaster oven and hotplate
- glass & lapidary zone – convertible flat lap/grinder/saw & Genie lapidary along with glass tools & supplies
- glass bead-making station – glass torch & tools along with bead kiln and a lot of supplies
Now, to make it happen…