VIS270: workplace health + safety

Things are far from ideal at our house for a high standard of health and safety when working with different materials. There's some pretty large barriers in the way of ease and grace when creating. The dream of a studio has been born! Someday, Mira... someday.... The main issues are below:

1. Our house is small. In one room we have the kitchen, bed, desk and living area for 2 people and a cat. There is only the table in the centre of the room to work on and because of space, projects needs to be packed away each day so we can move around, eat and function. Also, when working with wire and other materials, small pieces get everywhere so each day, the space must be vacuumed so sharp bits don't get stood on in bare-feet or pussy cat paws. The desk is well located near a big sliding glass door so when I'm working with glue, pens, paints and other charcoal or chalk drawing materials, it's easy to leave the door open for good ventilation. From the creative process perspective, it's frustrating to not be able to leave my work out so I can ponder it over time and develop a felt relationship to it.

2. The weather. It's been cold outside and often the fire has been on all day so I haven't wanted to spend large amounts of time working on the verandah.There is space on the deck for creating but it's become a bit of a schmozzle of storing stuff until there's time in the semester break to sort it all out. It's undercover but this being a rainforest, it gets extremely damp so paint takes longer to dry and paper left outside becomes damp. Not to mention the mould that will very soon start growing on pretty much everything.

3. Good lighting is tricky. We're surrounded by large trees and not much natural light enters the house. It's hard to see what I'm working on clearly under electric light and a get a sense of how it's developing. I often have to change position as shadows cast by my hand or body can get in the way of seeing my work. Annoying. Natural light is definitely ideal.

7. Lack of storage space is challenging. Sometimes I see great things I'd like to create something with but have no space to put it. If flat and large, some materials are stored under the futon bed, other materials are stored in a chest of drawers on the verandah, books and drawing paper are in the writing desk. To access anything, you have to move several things in front of or on top of the thing you want always. That's the way it goes, everything is stacked in piles or densely packed. It can also be challenging to find things as many things are stored together in one place so you might have to pull the whole draw apart to find one thing. It also means a lot of planning in the physical space is required before any project can be begun. Not much room for spontaneity unfortunately.

8. No running water, grey water system or garbage collection. I don't want to put anything toxic into the land like paint or metho so there's a complicated system of using paper cups for painting materials, rinsing brushes well in water in paper cups, then absorbing the fluid with rags/paper towels and taking them to the tip. With flammable items (like shellac or turpentine) I've been soaking up excess and wiping brushes with rags/paper towels and burning them in the wood combustion stove with the door firmly closed as it's unsafe to dispose of potentially flammable paint rags in general garbage.