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I got a GAP!

October 28, 2013

I’m happy to announce that I was recently awarded a GAP (Grants for Artist Projects) from Artist Trust! These project-based grants are awarded to artists of all disciplines once a year, and provide funding for a whole range of artist projects. From the Artist Trust GAP press release, “Among this year’s projects are: travel funds for novel research; feature documentary funding; production fees for an album; equipment purchase for an interactive installation; and artist workshop fees.” For this year’s cycle, there were 558 applicants, and 50 artists were chosen. Each artist received funding up to $1500, and the total amount given out to all the artists combined was $73,348. See the entire press release here to read more about the review panel, GAP contributors and funding partners, and to see the entire list of all GAP recipients.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 2.24.20 PM

I applied for funding for studio safety equipment. It was my goal this year to significantly improve the quality of the working conditions in my studio. I’ve already made some improvements on my own, and I’m thrilled to have Artist Trust‘s support to complete the upgrades. Check out my application below (quoted in part) to read more about my processes and how I hope to improve my studio:

I work with silver, gold, plastics, stones, organic material and resins, and I solder, file, sand, hammer and form.  I am committed to my craft and to being a lifelong artist, and know that I need to stay healthy in my studio so that I can work for many more years to come.

My GAP application is to purchase studio safety equipment so that I can continue making art in the healthiest way possible.

I work with toxic, noxious substances, compounds and chemicals every day.  I’m constantly at risk for damage to my liver, lungs, skin and eyes.  I take precautions as I can—I wear goggles when drilling, a respirator when working with fumes, and a dust mask when doing finish work so the cast-off from my silicon wheels does not reach my lungs.  But this dust settles on every surface, becoming airborne again many times.  And the hazardous fumes produced during soldering stick around long after I’ve finished a piece.  Since it’s often not practical (or comfortable) to wear a respirator every minute in the studio, my goal is to eliminate toxins at the source.

Two pieces of safety equipment would make my studio so much healthier—an under-bench dust collection system for my jewelry bench, and a table-top fume extraction system for my soldering bench.  After much research, I’ve found a dust collector that features a two-stage filtering system and would connect to my jeweler’s bench to suck up particulates while I work.  The fume extractor I’ve found for my soldering bench is specially designed to source capture solder smoke & fumes before they migrate throughout the studio.  And because this extractor is a rolling unit, I can roll it to other areas of my shop for other noxious processes such as wax work, enameling or painting.

Earlier this year I purchased a high power HEPA air purification system which provides five complete air changes per hour for my entire studio (amazing!). It filters smoke, dust and pollen and any other little goodies (hello, cat hair) I might have floating around my studio. I have really noticed a big difference in air quality since I got it – (and my asthmatic, studio-assistant cat has noticed a difference too – much less coughing). Now that I’ve received funding from the GAP, I’m looking forward to doing even more to stay healthy. My next improvements will be an under-bench dust collection system, which will capture metal dust, sanding grit, and all the flying debris from polishing compounds when I’m at my bench, and a soldering fume collector, which will make sure all the nasty fumes from soldering don’t end up in my lungs. I want to be able to still breathe when I am 80!

Quatro Jet Stream

Quatro Jet Stream

Quatro Solder Pure

Quatro Solder Pure

These pieces of equipment are expensive, and as every small business owner knows, sometimes it’s difficult to justify the large purchases, even when they can make a huge difference in working conditions. It’s great to be able to purchase them now without feeling like I’ve made a dent in my finances.

I am lucky to have also received a GAP in 2008. At that time, I applied and received funding for photo equipment. That grant five years ago allowed me to purchase a new digital SLR camera, a light tent and photo lights so that I could more effectively photograph my production work. At the time, it was a hugely important step for me to begin to learn to take better photos, and the amount I was given has multiplied a hundred-fold. My photos are far from perfect, but they are so much better than they used to be, mostly from my equipment upgrade (and also from some one-on-one instruction from the lovely and talented photographer Jenny Zwick).

© 2013 Sarah Hood

I am thrilled to be a second-time recipient of the GAP and know that this year’s funding will be equally important for my work and my business, and most importantly, my health. A million thanks go to Artist Trust for its endless cheerleading and championing and support of all of us Washington state artists, no matter what our discipline. We are stronger artists and community members when we are supported, and AT has shown over and over that “support at the source” (to paraphrase AT’s mission statement) really does make a difference.

One Comment leave one →
  1. diana Alexander permalink
    October 28, 2013 1:44 pm

    Congratulations Sarah! I am so happy for you. Your work is amazing, and you certainly deserve to stay healthy and continue to make beautiful art for years to come.

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