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Today’s the day, the final edition of “Making the Most of Your Polymer Clay Studio.” This past month myself and Ginger from The Blue Bottle Tree have brought you a collaborative series of posts. I hope you have enjoyed them so far. In case you missed one, I’ve put the links to them below so you can check them out.
Today’s article is by Ginger. To accompany hers, I will write my own today and I will tell you how and where you can reclaim, repurpose, thrift, & find some bargains that you can turn into useable & functional items in your polymer clay studio. READ THE ARTICLE NOW.
If the words “vintage,” “old,” “repurposed,” or “reuse” are not in your vocabulary, they should be! Life is difficult and I know few people who have extra money just lying around waiting to be spent. For many of us, finding new uses for old things is a talent that we have acquired through skill, talent, & searching! Over 75% of my studio is “reclaimed” things from family, friends, & even surplus stores (my absolute favorite). It’s not an easy job to find & reclaim something, because rarely do they just “show up” when you need them or want them. Finding them often means that you have had to buy it, had a vision for what to do with it, and wait for the right time for it to be of value to you … for some of you, you are laughing because your “finds” could be featured on the next episode of hoarders. And therein lies the peril … there’s a difference between hoarding, knowing when to let go, and knowing when it has value.
Many of us are privileged to have found that one store where you can find the greatest treasures! For me, it’s Star Bargain Supply. That store is unbelievable! You can find the greatest treasures there if you look. Here’s some of our recent finds we took advantage of for our general household:
This is just a small list, but the things we got there when I was building my studio were some of the best finds on the planet … okay, maybe not, but they were pretty darn good ones.
This awesome counter top was 4 feet too long, but check it out because it has a backsplash and a rolled edge. 24 feet of counter top in a matte white finish $68!
See those white shelves at the top and far right in the picture? Those were also from the surplus store. Each section was a mere $4 for 3 feet sections. All my shelves were built from this awesomeness.
Pasta Machine: Atlas 150. Although not from the surplus store, it’s a $100 pasta machine I obtained from eBay for just $20, which included shipping. SCORE!
Off white solid marble 12 x 12 working tiles, $1 at the surplus store. Score!
Those are just a few of the things represented here in this photo, but I have many more. My studio had a very strict budget and I’m proud even to this day to know that we filled it and filled it again without going one penny over!
Ginger’s article offered some great tips on where to go and where to find some really awesome finds. I’m not sure where you’re from or how often you can “thrift” but here’s some other options in addition to the one’s Ginger recommends.
My favorite object in my studio, an old library card catalog. This card catalog belonged to my grandfather. He was a journeyman plumber and retired only to find himself reemployed by a local school system as their head of maintenance. As card catalog’s became obsolete, the school got rid of them, my Pops took this one home. He used to keep joints, small pipe bits, washers, and anything else he used for his plumbing in it’s drawers. After he passed, this was the one thing I really wanted. After some TLC, elbow grease, and painted thumb knots, it looks fantastic. Here in my studio it has a great secondhome and I use it for clay storage … and yes, the entire top half is filled with clay. (Insert big, huge, whopping smile here!)
Let’s not be quite finished with the find in my studio though, because all in all, over 75% of my studio is from reclaimed materials. Also reclaimed & visible in this photo are:
And just so one grandfather isn’t outdone, when my other grandfather passed, I too inherited one of his trinkets from his office. I can’t even tell you what this is or what it was used for, but I’ve repurposed it into a supply holder … The drawers are shallow but long. For years my Grandfather was an avid stamp collector (back when stamps were collectible) and he used this to sort and collect stamps. It sat on top of his desk in the upstairs living quarters of his home. Today it is a home for buttons, chains, feathers, altoid tins, jewelry findings, threading, ribbons, and so much more!
So how do you get started doing something like this? You just do it. Sometimes things will “fall” into your lap, other times it takes some looking. But don’t overlook the ordinary. Some of the things we always save to reuse are everyday household items:
I want to take a minute to thank Ginger from The Blue Bottle Tree for joining me on this endeavor! What a fun journey this has been for me. I sincerely hope that each of you enjoyed this journey too. Leave your comments below if you want to see more collaborative series like this one here on the blog. Don’t miss any of the articles in the series.
Thanks for joining me today,