Today’s studio tip is a rare one as it has almost nothing to do with polymer clay … but it does have to do with your studio, your brushes, and helping to keep your studio clean and lint-free!
Three cheers for helping keep your studio clean!
Okay, so we all know that I like a clean work environment. There are many who thrive in chaos, but for me, my studio has to be spic-and-span! (I’m not lying here, this is the truth.) This is not an artist feature, but in part, I am showing off a wonderful lady named Gail who makes some awesome items that I use every single day in my studio.
Depending on who you talk to, we use a wide variety of things to clean brushes, like carpet squares (not my favorite as over time they will ruin your brushes) and baby wipes which leave your brushes damp, requiring you to dry them on something, likely your pants and now you have lint…but there are a lot of other things too in the art world for cleaning your brushes, even makeup sponges! But I’m going to share with you what I use once again.
This article was first published in 2017, it has been rewritten and republished in 2022.
The Honest Truth
I am not as eco-friendly as I could be. Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch because I certainly do my fair share of conservation techniques and have done better over the year. However, I generate a ton of waste in my studio, as I’m sure many of you do as well. My most devious of which is the massive quantity of q-tips and the occasional baby wipe that I devour, destroy, and end up tossing in the garbage at the end of a studio day.
I have bought these particular Birdseye Cotton cloths from Gail for several years now. I use them in my kitchen, in our lunch boxes, to dust my house with, and even to wash windows with. I love them. I could not run my house without them…I hate wasting paper towels, so these have been in use in my home for a long time. But everywhere else … not so eco-friendly.
How It Happened
While cleaning my house, I somehow carried one of these beauties down into my studio – “OOPS!” I thought to myself. It turns out that “OOPS” was actually a profound moment for me. When I was done with my usual clay session I thought ‘why not clean up with this little guy?’ So clean up I did. And WOW! My studio has never looked so good. (For those of you who thrive in chaos, these guys might not help your cleaning routine.) Usually, when I am done I wipe down all my counters with a baby wipe, repeat with some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, or on very messy days soap & water with a sponge, then shut off the lights and walk away. However, that all changed. In fact, it changed so fast I had to buy 2 more dozen to keep in my studio!
“How To” Studio Tip
So, how do I clean that mess of polymer clay, paint, & other miscellaneous clay bits? Well, it used to be as I had described above. But on this one fateful day, that whole process changed. Here’s why I love these cloths…
First … Birdseye Cotton does not pill or leave fibers behind! WOW! Who knew? So when cleaning up with paper towels, fuzzies, dust, and debris were always left behind (along with some of those annoying clay bits).
Second … I have had my sets upstairs for over six years now! I think each has been washed over 100 times in those 2 years and they still look new despite all the dirt & dust I cleaned up with them.
Third … I use these to clean brushes, wipe up my studio workstation with alcohol at the end of a work day, and even clean paint brushes and test colors of alcohol ink. They are a fantastic workhorse and take a huge beating.
Reality check … Are they for you? It’s worth it to try and save the environment a bit. Now that I am using these in my studio with paints, polymer, & other materials, they do not look new after heavy use and washing, they do stain a bit. I do suspect that you could bleach them if you really wanted to. However, they still work and perform just as expected.
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