In 2002, Kathleen Galligan, a pastel and oil painter, noticed that after 25 years of painting she was becoming sensitive to pastel dusts. Knowing the dangers of prolonged exposure to artists’ dusts and solvents, she enlisted the help of Warren Riess, her husband, to eliminate them from her studio air.
After much research, attending a workshop on health issues in studios, and advice from many talented people, Warren began to design various means to vent or filter the impurities. The two began experiments with continually improving wood and plexiglass models until they were satisfied with a complete filtering system that pulled impurities from between Kathleen and her paintings. It eliminated almost all studio-produced impurities and saved energy and the local environment by not venting.
Another important aspect of the system is its balance of air flow, size, noise, and cost effectiveness to be most efficient and not intrude on the artist's space. Warren kept the noise level very low (see decibel information, ) while keeping the air flow high, by designing the collection box, flexible hose, and filter unit to be a balanced system.
Kathleen's new metal system caught the eye of visiting artists, who asked about one for themselves, and the idea of offering it as a product was born. Local artists tested a number of prototypes as Warren and Kathleen improved each. They ordered the first production units in December 2004. Sales started in January 2005.
ARTIST’S AIR is
a division of Pemaquid Art & Science,
a small business owned by Kathleen and Warren. It is based in Bristol,