If you haven't read parts 1, 2, or 3, you're going to be pretty lost. You can go back and start with part 1 here. At the end of part 3, I just tucked myself in for a long winter's nap. You can read what happened next by reading on below.
I did a lot of reading that winter. The more I read about ventilation and safety the more I realized I was not in a safe torch environment. We bought three box fans to help circulate the air, and I bought a respirator. It wasn't a solution, but it helped. We talked about setting up a studio. We would have to buy a building and customize it to meet my needs. The problem was, we were trying to sell our house. It didn't make sense to spend all that money on a studio when we were going to be moving. We put the house on the market before our third was born, but it didn't sell, so we took it off right before she was born. After a few months we put the house back on the market, and then off again because school had started, and then on again, and off again... You get the idea.
The winters were getting to me. Last winter I had to stop lampworking in November and couldn't start again until mid-April because it was so cold. I'd had enough. I decided there was no point in waiting. We haven't sold the house and had no idea if we ever would. I was working in unsafe conditions, I couldn't see the frit, shards, or other fun things I had to use in my beads because it was all stacked in piles, and I couldn't use any of my 175lbs of glass because it was piled into plastic storage containers. I was working with shorts, and that was on the few occasions I could even work at all. I gave my every hour to my family. I took care of everything when my husband went out of town every week. I couldn't even go to the bathroom alone. I had no time for me. It had to stop.
Two weeks later we started building my studio.
We bought a building kit from Home Depot and my dad put it together with his helper. They did a lot of extra reinforcing to make it super sturdy.
The floor framing:
Back wall is up:
Sides are up, and roof framing is done:
My ventilation system in the works. It's a furnace fan given to me for free by my Heating & Air neighbor:
The fan boxed in to create stronger suction:
The walls are insulted and paneled to keep me toasty in the winter. Panels going up:
The studio construction continues in part 5!