When I was at NCECA this past March, I noticed the emphasis was on green studios and using less energy. My studio is fairly green, so I thought I’d share our
methods for water usage and glaze waste handling.
Water usage for clay clean up:
We use two sinks that recycle gray water for washing up tools and wheels. They are like the commercial Kinks, but we made them ourselves. We used an RV pump to recycle/filter the water. For wash up of clay, we put clay chunks into one bucket and sludge through a strainer. First wash is done in a bucket of water and second wash is done in the recycle sink. Sludge and water washup water is used to rehydrate the clay reclaim to eliminate shorting of clay.
Water usage for glaze clean up:
We used drills with paint
augers on them to mix glazes. Wash up is done with a two-bucket system. The first bucket gets a first rinse of glaze tools, the second bucket gets the final rinse. As the first bucket of glaze water gets a layer of glaze sludge,
It goes over to the clay reclaim area.
Making bricks from glaze sludge, clay reclaim, and grog:
When the glaze sludge water has made it to the clay reclaim area, we distil the water from the top of the glaze. In a five-gallon bucket, we then mix equal parts of reclaim clay to glaze sludge along with 1 cup of grog. We put the entire mixture on plaster to dry out enough to wedge. We then make paver bricks that are 2 inches thick. We cut ours, but I think you could cast in plaster molds as well. The bricks are bisque fired and used in landscaping projects. The glaze is rendered inert, and no land fill dump is necessary.