Wednesday, 5 February 2014

New Course - Sustainable Crafts: From Recycled Materials

Well, 2014 is here and we are already into February (not sure what happened to January?!!) and it is time to embark on a new course at Bedwas Adult Education Centre. This time it is an accredited unit based on recycled materials. We covered a bit of upcycling in the last Lifestyle class and this time we will be making some of the main components of the jewellery from recycled items, specificically fabric/thread, paper, plastic, glass and metal.

As always we will first ensure the health and safety requirements are met and understood by everyone undertaking the sessions. The nature of the materials and techniques used this time have the potential for danger and we will spend some of weeks 1&2 covering these. 
As well as the standard pliers and cutters used in jewellery making, we will be using very sharp craft knives, heat guns, glues and varnishes, each requiring their own safety considerations. Apart from the obvious danger of not using a craft knife correctly (I literally have the scar to prove tip - do not get distracted and look away when cutting!), using a  heat gun poses the danger of burns and ignition of flammables. When using glues and varnishes, ventilation is essential and if a learner has any health concerns about their breathing, they may prefer to be excused from the exercise. Skin conditions need to be considered also when using some products and protective gloves or barrier creams are recommended. No open toed footwear would also be best as some of the tools are heavy if dropped and also spilled glue and skin tend to find each other...
So, preparation is key to getting your workspace ready: 
  • Protect tables/work area with newspaper
  • Identify requirements for each task, store surplus items until needed
  • Place required equipment and tools in easy to access areas, use additinal small storage containers if necessary
  • Remember to use cutting mats or heat mats when needed
  • Place sharp craft knives in covers when not in use
  • Unplug heat guns when not in use
  • Place tops back on glues and varnishes when not in use
  • Ventilate the room if necessary (using glues/varnishes)
  • Do not place hands in front of the heat gun when in use or point towards others
  • Be considerate to other learners and their space
  • Keep fingers away from pliers mechanisms to avoid cuts and pinching
  • When cutting wire, place low down on the table area and cover with other hand if necessary (wire can fly off at random angles and there is potential danger to eyes), be aware of loose wire catching or poking others, if working from a  reel
  • Be aware of the fire drill details for the venue you are in (if you are working at home, a fire extinguisher is best kept within reach) and who to contact in case of a medical emergency 
Happy Making!

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