From another e-mail:
Where in the house would you recommend I put my glass studio? I have several options availble to me: a bedroom, the basement, part of the dining room and a section of the garage.
First of all, I don’t recommend using part of the dining room or the kitchen for glassworking of any kind. There are just too many ways that these areas can get contaminated with glass particles, and since these are food preparation and consumption areas, food and glass particulates do not mix.
Bedrooms or spare rooms are usually ideal for studio space, with the only drawback being the accesibility for fuel gas, oxygen and ventilation. I’ve discussed in other articles the ability to bring in ventilation and fuel gas through a window opening in a more-or-less permanent fashion (to code, of course!), so the only other issue is that of protecting the floor covering. I’ve covered protecting carpeting in the first part of this article, but if you have hardwood floors, it is even easier: a single layer of red resin paper and then the top layer of 1/4″ tempered hardboard, with strips of duct tape to keep them together.
Basements can also be used for studio space, but there are inherent safety issues that you must be aware of before starting construction. The first and foremost issue if you are using propane as your fuel gas is that propane is heavier than air and will pool in low spots. This means that if you have a propane leak, you can have a pool of gaseous propane on the floor where a single spark can create a catastrophe for your household.
This is not to say that you should never have your studio in your basement. Far from it. There are a lot of basement studios, and all of the are run safely. The key is the constant committment to fuel gas vigilance. Check for leaks on a regular basis, usually every couple of days, or if you suddenly smell gas. Be sure you use code-approved shut off valves, and be sure that you purge your hoses of all flammable gas at the end of each torching session.
Floor protection is usually a non-issue in basements, but if there is carpeting or wood flooring in the area you want to use, simply use the methods discussed above to protect it.
Garages are also a popular area for a studio, and with a few simple precautions can make wonderful studio space. First of all, no open cans of gasoline or oil should be allowed in the garage. Next, if your car (or cars) leak gas or oil, they should be moved outside while torching. That’s really about it, believe it or not!
And what is the absolute best location for your studio? The one that works best for you and your home situation!