Studio safety is fundamental to living a long and healthy life as a potter. In our line of work, we may come into contact with so many different job hazards which can cause us grief way down the road. Being careful and taking preventative measures is the best way in order to stay safe in the studio for the long term.
Most of us ceramic artists know there are some dangers inherent in the art form we have chosen—from inhaling raw materials in the powdered form to injuries resulting from repetitive movements. And there is so much information and misrepresentation out there about how to keep your studio safe that it is hard to know what to believe.
Don’t Allow Clay To Sit Out
When you allow clay sit out to dry and then it is moved about or brushed, silicate dust may be stirred up. This most commonly takes place at pottery wheels where the trimmings could be left out and may become bone dry over time.
It is very important to take precautions and wet the dry clay in order to capture the silicate dust prior to it becoming airborne and then clean the area up. Cleaning your pottery wheel regularly, storing clay in containers or bags, and removing clay trimmings when they are still leather hard is best for keeping the dust to a minimum in the studio.
Many Glaze Materials Are Dangerous
Those of particular concern are listed here:
- Crystalline silica appears in almost all glazes and can also scar lung tissue if inhaled.
- Barium Carbonate, Sodium Borates as well as Lead compounds can be present as colourless fluxes in glazes.
- Antimony mixes, Cadmium compounds, Chrome mixes, Lead compounds, Cobalt Chloride, Cobalt Sulphate, Copper Chloride, Copper Carbonate, Copper Sulphate, Iron Chromate, Iron Sulphate, Manganese Dioxide, Nickel compounds, Uranium compounds as well as Vanadium compounds may be present as glazes, slips and stains.
- Lustre glazes include toxic mediums as well as toxic metallic compounds.
- Avoid utilising these materials whenever possible. If you do make use of them, take precautions in order to prevent ingestion as well as inhalation (which can lead to ingested particles) and skin contact. Although some of these materials cannot be directly absorbed through the skin, invisible particles can become lodged in the crevices of your skin.
Make use of a ceramic dust filter mask which fits well when mixing, spraying, or sanding glazes:
- Use a mask for vapours and gases when working with lustre glazes.
- Spray glazes only in a properly constructed, vented and filtered spray booth.
- Make sure that the exhaust of the spray booth is vented so that it does not pollute somebody else’s breathing air.
- Used spray booth filters for certain glazes may have to be treated as toxic waste.
Like rugby bet bonuses, the pottery studio is really a fun place to be, where you are able to create beautiful as well as one-of-a-kind pieces. However, it is very important to be safe while you’re in the studio in order to keep yourself healthy down the road. These precautions help with preventing health problems that could have easily been avoided from developing.