RHP Studio Handbook

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Welcome

The Romero House Ceramics Studio is located on the campus of the Tucson Museum of Art as a part of the Museum’s Historic Block. The studio was originally the home of the carpenter for the Presidio of Tucson. The north wall of the building is believed to have been a part of the Presidio’s original wall.

The ceramics studio is leased from the Tucson Museum of Art by The Romero House Potters, Inc. The Romero House Potters, Inc. is a group of ceramics enthusiasts who banded together during the summer of 2012, incorporated and leased the studio to keep it open when the Museum was feeling the effects of a continued economic downturn. The primary focus of The Romero House Potters, Inc. is education in the ceramic arts.

A variety of classes and workshops are offered, including hand building, throwing, tile making, sculpture, etc. When not being used for these classes and workshops, the studio is open for “open studio,” a time when the studio members and students may use the facility to continue practicing.

Studio members and current students may participate in the Tucson Museum of Art’s two annual Artisans Markets, one in the spring and one in the fall of each year. Additionally, work by members and students may be displayed for sale in the studio’s small Romero House Gallery.

The Romero House Potters, Inc. does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, marital status, military status, national origin (ancestry), race, religion (creed), or sexual orientation in any of its activities.

Romero House Potters ORGANIZATIONAL CHART

orgchart


Work Environment and General Guidelines

A common understanding of studio practices is conducive to a creative and productive environment. Education is the primary focus and safety is a primary concern. Many safety issues are resolved with maintaining a clean studio. Every studio user is responsible to clean the space(s) they have used before leaving the studio for the day.

There are a number of hazards consistent with a ceramics studio. Glaze chemicals, clay dust and studio equipment all have the potential to cause serious injury if handled improperly. Policies and rules have been established by The Romero House Potters, Inc., Board of Directors and the Studio Manager to minimize hazards. It is essential for your own safety that you become familiar with the policies and rules and heed the direction from instructors, monitors and the Studio Manager.

If you have any health concerns regarding your work in a ceramics studio, consult your doctor.

Please remember the most important contribution you can make to the health and safety of all is to maintain a clean and tidy studio.

Arriving at the Studio:

Each person arriving at the studio, whether for a class, open studio time, a workshop or other event or purpose should sign in upon arrival. The class instructor or studio monitor can advise where the sign-in sheet is located. Sign-in should include the person’s name, the purpose for attending the studio (class, open studio, workshop, etc.) and the time of arrival.

Behavior:

Each studio user is expected to behave in a manner consistent with the creative atmosphere of the studio. Creativity typically flourishes in a friendly, enthusiastic yet peaceful setting. Please maintain appropriate civility and courteous behavior in the studio. Any dispute that can’t be resolved between studio users should be taken to the studio monitor for resolution. The monitor, if he or she can’t resolve the matter, may refer it to the Studio Manager for resolution. If you become aware of a situation that may become tense or volatile, please notify your instructor or the studio monitor immediately.

Breakage, Loss and Theft:

The Romero House Potters, Inc. is not responsible for the loss or damage of work or personal property. Breakage can be avoided by not touching or handling the work of others. If you must handle the work of others, please do so with the utmost of care, treating it as if it were your own. If you accidentally damage another person’s work, please immediately notify your instructor, the monitor, and leave a note for the person whose work was damaged.

Thefts, though rare, are best avoided by either locking personal possessions in a locker or keeping them with you. Do not leave your personal possessions unattended.

Clay and Tools:

Only cone 10 clay is allowed for use in the studio. Recycled cone 10 clay is for sale at the studio at competitive prices.  To purchase clay, contact your instructor or the studio monitor.

The studio also has some tools available for use in the studio. To borrow these tools, contact your instructor or the studio monitor. Of course, all borrowed tools must be cleaned and returned at the end of class or open studio.

Work Flow:

Work needs to be kept moving. Please do not let it pile up on the shelves in the work-in-progress room or on the shelves in the kiln shed.. Green ware should be removed from shelves and prepared for bisque firing as soon as possible. Bisque ware not in the process of being glazed should remain on the appropriate shelves in the kiln shed. Bisque ware should be promptly glazed and removed from the studio after the final firing. At the end of each class session, the shelves may be sorted through and unclaimed work may be discarded.

Open Studio:

Open studio time is provided for members and students to pursue their work outside of class time. It is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Wheels and work areas must remain available for as many people as possible and may not be occupied or held unless they are actively being used. When demand is especially high, members and students are asked to keep a 3-hour limit on use of wheels or work areas.

Open studio hours are scheduled and posted in the studio and on the web-site.  Open studio time may be preempted for special presentations, workshops or scheduling changes. Changes to the open studio availability will be posted on the studio blackboard as soon as possible.

Footwear:

Studio users must wear appropriate footwear. Bare feet and flip flops are prohibited. Fully covered footwear is recommended.

Noise:

While working in or passing through the studio, please try to be as least disruptive as possible. Please meet any personal visitors outside of the studio. Except in the case of an emergency, please do not use a cell phone inside of the studio.

Alcohol:

The consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or the use of recreational drugs on the studio premises are prohibited. Alcoholic beverages may be used with the Studio Manager’s approval for special events such as the end of a class session or a kiln opening celebration. Consumption of alcohol by anyone not of legal age is always prohibited.

Firearms:

Firearms are not permitted at the Romero House.

Smoking:

The ceramics studio is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not permitted on the leased premises, which includes the building and the area inside the chain link fence.

Make-up Classes:

The Romero House Potters, Inc. is not responsible for providing make-up classes or issuing reimbursements for classes, programs or workshops changed or missed due to illness, emergency, weather closings, substitute instructors, or other events beyond our control. Alternate make-up classes are not permitted.

Dismissal:

The Romero House Potters, Inc. reserves the right to exclude from its activities, classes, workshops and other programs anyone who fails to abide by its policies, practices and rules.

An instructor, monitor or the Studio Manager may dismiss a member or student from the studio due to disruptive activity. “Disruptive activity” is any activity that disrupts the enjoyment of the studio by others and includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate or illegal behavior, including theft, damage or vandalism to the work of others or to any RHP or TMA property; failure to follow the direction of an instructor, monitor or Studio Manager; failure to adhere to the policies of The Romero House Potters, Inc., the regulations stated in this handbook, or the rules of the Romero House Ceramics Studio.

If any disruptive activity is so extreme that the Studio Manager believes the member or student should be permanently dismissed from the studio, the Studio Manager will make that recommendation to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will consider the Studio Manager’s recommendation and render a decision. The Board of Directors will make a decision on the basis of fairness, the good of The Romero House Potters, Inc. and its members and programs, and common sense.

Clean-up:

Each individual using the studio must help to keep the studio spaces clean and orderly. Wheels and splash pans, tables, bats, ware boards and banding wheels should be scraped off, sponged, stored away and left clean for the next user. Equipment such as sponges, spray bottles, buckets and other tools should be cleaned and returned to the proper storage area. Sink areas should be cleaned of empty bottles, cans, used paper towels, etc. Every class and open studio session is responsible for leaving the studio clean at the end of their session. It is sometimes necessary to clean what others have left behind. Instructors and studio monitors may delegate clean-up responsibilities to ensure the complete clean-up of the studio.

Leaving the Studio:

Each person, before leaving the studio, will make certain to have cleaned up their work area and to have put away all work. Each person will leave the building by closing time, whether attending a class, open studio, work shop or other event. Before leaving the studio for the day, each person should sign out, noting the time they left the studio. No one is permitted to remain in the building after closing, with the exception of technicians who are attending to tasks assigned by the studio manager. Anyone who does not comply may be dismissed with no tuition reimbursement.

Liability-Release Clause:

In accord with the liability-release agreement that all participants or the parents/guardians of minor participants must sign when registering for a program, all such participants and associated non-participating visitors (“releasors”) assume all responsibilities for and risks and hazards of participation in the named program or visitation and agree to release from liability and hold harmless Romero House Potters, Inc. and/or its visitors, studio members, technicians, contractors, instructors, and affiliated organizations (“releasees”) for all loss, damage, or injury that may occur therein, whether caused by the negligence of releasees or otherwise. The preclusive effect of this liability-release agreement applies equally to the releasors’ families, friends, heirs, and assigns.

Equipment and Facility Use

Cabinets, Lockers and Storage Shelves:

Cabinets, lockers and shelves for the storage of members’ and students’ materials, supplies and tools are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Materials stored in those spaces must be relative to the student’s ceramic work. No caustic or dangerous chemicals may be stored in those spaces.  At the direction of the Studio Manager, all such materials, supplies and tools must be removed from those spaces for occasional cleaning. The Romero House Potters, Inc. is not responsible for damage or loss of those materials, supplies and tools stored in those spaces.  The Studio manager or monitor may remove and dispose of items left behind after a student or member is no longer enrolled in either a class or open studio.

Ceramic Materials:

The majority of the materials and tools used in the studio are safe if handled correctly. However, over-exposure to any materials, through the lungs, mouth or skin can be harmful. In the studio, the most common hazard is airborne clay dust, which can cause silicosis and other serious lung damage. In addition, many metal oxides and metal compounds used in glazes are poisonous in their raw forms.

  • Never sand or scrape bone-dry clay or glaze inside the studio. If you need to sand work, please do so outside in the courtyard and wear a particle mask for protection. Be sure to clean up sanding dust with a wet sponge or by sanding over a bucket of water.
  • Clean up spills and clay trimmings before they dry. Clean all surfaces by wiping with a wet sponge or mop – never with a dry paper towel or broom.
  • Clean up thoroughly after yourself in the studio, including the floor around your work area.
  • Clean all bats and ware boards with a damp sponge after you use them.
  • Wear a particle mask when using the spray booth or when working in the chemical room.
  • It is strongly recommended that gloves be worn when handling raw glaze materials and washes, especially those that contain heavy metals such as copper, cobalt and manganese.
  • Do not pour excess glaze, plaster or slip down the drains. They are pollutants and could cause drainage problems. Any use of plaster should be monitored by the instructor or Studio Manager. Only dedicated containers may be used. All washings and rinses must not be discarded in sinks or drains, including those in the restroom facilities. Your instructor or the studio monitor can advise where to dispose of glaze water and plaster washings.
  • The Studio Manager must approve the use of all glazes other than those traditionally used in this studio, including under glazes.

Chemical Room:

Unless authorized by the Studio Manager, the chemical room is off-limits to all studio users. Those using the chemical room to handle, mix or store chemicals, should use gloves and masks while participating in those activities.

Equipment:

Kilns, wheels and other studio equipment are both delicate and potentially hazardous. Please observe the following precautions to avoid accidents and injury:

  • Do not place anything on kiln lids. The lids are fragile and often very hot. They are not intended to be used as tables or storage areas.
  • Space is tight and sometimes hazardous in the kiln area. Avoid lingering and socializing in the area.
  • Do not use the slab roller or extruder without having received instruction from an instructor.
  • Do not use the clay mixers (pug mill) without authorization from the Studio Manager.
  • Turn all electric wheels to the “off” position after use.  Position cords and foot pedals out of the way of foot traffic.

Glaze Area:

The glaze area is small and the users are many. To accommodate everyone, certain guidelines must be followed.

  • Do not use any glazes without having received instruction for the use and application of the glazes.
  • Glaze buckets should be left covered except when in use.
  • To prevent the contamination of glazes, glaze mixing devices (the drill mixer, wire whisks, etc.) should be rinsed first in rinse bucket #1 and subsequently in rinse bucket#2.  When virtually all glaze residue has been removed, the glaze mixing devices should be rinsed in the dish pan in the glaze room sink.
  • After use, each glaze bucket should be closed with its cover and returned to its correct storage position.
  • When the glaze room is being used by more than one person for glaze application, anyone using the room for the application of resists (wax, latex, shellac, etc.) should move outside of the glaze room to complete the resist application.
  • Upon completion of glazing tasks, each person shall clean the area they used, including wiping off the counter tops and mopping the floor.

Glazes:

Most fired glazes provided by the studio are food safe. If you have any questions about the quality or safety of any studio-provided glaze, please ask an instructor, monitor or Studio Manager.

Only those persons authorized by the Studio Manager may mix chemicals in the studio to make glazes. All glazes made with any chemical that belongs to the studio must be made available to all studio users. No raw chemicals or mixed glazes may be removed from the studio.

Anyone bringing glazes into the studio for their personal use, or use by others, must provide glaze information to the Studio Manager and acquire the Studio Manager’s approval for the use of the glaze(s) in the studio.

Kilns and Firing:

Every reasonable effort will be made to fire work, both bisque and glaze, as soon as possible. For every firing, each kiln will be as full of ware as possible. Although it is intended for everyone’s work to be fired as soon as possible, the preference for firing work will be student and members first, monitors and technicians next, followed by instructors. Technicians should pay particular attention to any firing instructions left by the Studio Manager. If a ware is left out of a firing due to space considerations, an effort will be made to insure the ware is included in the next firing.

Studio students and members should leave an identifying mark on their ware that will survive bisque and glaze firings.

The firing sequence begins with the bisque firing. The bone-dry ware is to be placed on the  shelves marked “ready for bisque”. The piece should be placed as deep on the bisque-ware shelf as possible, to leave room for other people’s work.

After the piece has been bisque fired, it will be placed on a bisque ware shelf. The member or student should glaze the piece as soon as possible or remove it from the premises until returning  for glazing at a later date. After the piece has been glazed, it should be placed on the glazed ware shelves according to height and, again, as far back as possible, leaving room for other pieces. Glazed pieces will be loaded for the glaze firing as soon as it’s determined there are enough pieces for a glaze kiln firing.

All kiln firings will be coordinated with and scheduled by the Studio Manager. The glaze firing schedule will be posted on the blackboard so all studio users will be aware of when those firings will take place.

After the final firing, all completed pieces should be removed from the studio as soon as possible. Each studio user is responsible for their work. Unclaimed pieces cannot be held or stored indefinitely. Remaining pieces may be discarded periodically or donated to  RHP for the Artisans’ Market or gallery sales.

The Romero House Potters, Inc. cannot be responsible for lost or unclaimed work nor for undesired or inconsistent results, kiln accidents or work that is damaged.

Generally, only work produced at the Romero House Ceramics Studio will be fired in the studio’s kilns.

Only the Studio Manager may allow the firing of work brought in from outside the studio, either by studio members or students, or by others. Approval for such a firing must include an assurance that the work is cone 10 clay. Anyone requesting the firing of work made outside of the studio will be responsible for any damage to the kiln, kiln furniture, shelves and equipment, and to other pieces, caused by the firing of that work.

Reclaimed Clay:

Studio users may reclaim their clay or they may place their clay scraps in a studio bucket for the studio to reclaim, if the studio chooses to do so.

The processing for reclaimed clay should take place outside of the studio building, in the patio area of the studio. The pug mill may be used to process reclaimed clay only if the Studio Manager has approved its use by the person processing the clay.

 

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