Rachelle Thiewes
How are creative license, personal safety, environment, and social responsibility factored in to your choices?

Safety was not much of a concern for art departments in the ‘70’s. As a young student I soldered on asbestos and worked in non-ventilated studios! We opened windows when casting or working with noxious materials. I spent considerable time experimenting with resins as a student, never once wearing a chemical respirator, goggles or gloves. Consequently for many years now, fumes from glue, resin, paint etc. give me instant bronchial problems. To paint my steel I work closely with a professional airbrush painter in Arizona. It is quite costly however I can’t afford the health risk. My painter is much younger and has always worked in a very safe environment. This factor is important to me.

Safety and environment are not far from my mind when I work in a studio, whether it is mine, or the university where I teach. These are huge issues for university art departments today. Older studios are being retrofitted with better ventilation, material disposal processes and personal safety equipment. This is big change from my student and early teaching days.
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