Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tour of Daniel Smith Art Supply
Daniel Smith art supply store is based in Seattle, and yesterday I took a tour of their manufacturing facility with an art group I belong to. It was really interesting! They manufacture all their paint right in the same building as their main retail store. Their chemist took us around the plant, and explained how the paints are ground, how they get their pigments (they have a dedicated geologist who travels the world looking for rocks that might make an interesting color), and how they're tubed. The chemist, and later the tour guide, answered a lot of technical questions about various colors and safety considerations.
The guides cleared up a couple of specific questions I had about a couple of their products. For instance, I found out that their alkyd medium (pictured above) has real turpentine in it,not mineral spirits like I had always thought. Also, they have discontinued their cadmium colors, but said that their new replacement colors, which they call "cadmium hues," are not the inferior student-grade products that other manufacturers use. The chemist went to a lot of trouble to get both the hue and the handling abilities of the replacements to be as close to cadmium as he could get. I meant to go check out the tubes on my way out but forgot.
One other thing they stressed: if you're working with dry pigment, you must use a full respirator, and wear gloves and/or barrier cream. He explained how the dry pigments are so finely ground and pure that they're easily aspirated, which is different from pastel dust, which is bound with another material and always heavier and bigger than any pure pigment dust.
So that was a great day for me. Last week was a bad week for me in the studio because I had jury duty, plus I was getting my taxes together, but this week I'm back on schedule. In addition to the semi-rearing stallion, I've been prepping up a storm. My goal is to get all the bodies I have on hand prepped before I buy anymore. I'm maybe halfway done right now.