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Clay Safety

Clay Safety:

There are a lot of safety precautions to consider when you are working with ceramic clay, glazes, tools and kilns. Most suppliers of materials, product and equipment have a lot of information about their particular product, so if in doubt, ask them first. Request manuals, material safety data sheets, read labels, etc. Lots of information is available online.

Be smart when you work. A lot comes down to common sense when dealing with ceramic materials.
  1. It is best to wear gloves when glazing. Some of the materials found in certain glazes are know to cause cancer. Avoid skin exposure, do not eat, drink, smoke, etc when glazing. To be extra cautious, wear a dust mask.
  2. Do not create dust. Try to work wet as much as possible - sponge instead of sand. Work at leather-hard instead of bone-dry. Ceramic dust contains silica. Silica can cause severe irreversible damage to your lungs. Glazes also contain silica.
  3. Keep your studio area clean. Wipe down with wet sponges and wet mops before material dries. If you need to sweep, use proper particulate dust mask, studio-only clothing, proper ventilation, goggles, and a "dust down" sweeping compound for larger areas. Try to keep airborne dust to a minimum. 
  4. Kilns get extremely hot and need to be properly vented. Keep them in an area where pets and children will not come in contact with them. Specially designated, well ventilated rooms are best.
  5. Ceramic tools and equipment can be sharp. Please use common sense when using them. Keep them clean when clay is still wet to avoid creating excess dust.
  6. Do not re-use tools that you use with ceramic materials outside of the studio (e.g.: the milkshake hand blender that you use to mix your glazes - DO NOT re-use that with food!)
Here are some very useful links from established ceramic companies:
Bailey Pottery Supply Safety Equipment
Ceramic Arts Daily: Studio Safety by Jeff Zamek
Georgies Clay: Working Smart, Working Safe.

Any Information that you receive here on the Beads of Clay Blog, Website, from it's members, etc are for educational use. If you are to attempt to try anything that you see, you must be fully aware of any safety issues of working with materials or tools. You should have a firm understanding of any material that you are going to work with by learning what you can, talk to professionals, do research, read labels and manuals, and by working smart. Beads of Clay is not responsible for what you do in your studio or with your art.

Also, please respect the intellectual property rights and copyrights of any artist. Use the information they provide you with (either through direction or what you see visually in their finished work) as inspiration for you to find your own voice.

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