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preeta

Oxide Pastels - Safety Issues

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In my non ceramics materials class we learnt how to make Pastels. 

So I got some copper carbonate and cobalt oxide and made pastels out of them with the intention of experimenting on bisqueware to see if I like the look. If they pass muster I’ll try other oxides. 

The three additives we are using are calcium carbonate (ground marble), talc and kaolin. 

I notice while I take precautions when working with dry powder., many students don’t.  The teacher does not insist because the class is provided with non toxic pigment. 

The room is big but it’s all closed in. No ventilation that I can tell. 

Will my pastel making be injurious to my other classmates health? Especially as their paste are basic generic ones which they rarely use?

 

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Hi Preeta, 

I just finished a Raku class at Sierra College last semester and, as you know, safety is paramount when mixing glazes. Copper and cobalt are both toxic and you should continue with your precautions. If you can't mix your compounds off-site and have to do it in the classroom, I would try to isolate yourself and go work in a corner away from the other students. I'm guessing that you're working with small quantities and the process is not that critical but it's better to err on the side of safety...

JohnnyK

Marcia Selsor likes this

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In addition to the copper and cobalt you have to remember that some talc  contained asbestos, without knowing more about your talc supply that one would be impossible to say. EPK is approximately 45% silica, plus there is silica in talc, so the dust from that should be avoided. Don't know how much dust is created in making the pastels or how often they are being made, mixing procedures etc. but good shop safety measures should be taken as a habit not an exception. 

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Thank you all. You have provided me with the answer I needed. 

I have my own mask that I got after the discussion here last year.  We are given disposable masks at our materials class in school but I am not sure if they are a P100 or not.

Johnny I’ve been mixing glazes too. I am now taking classes at ARC which suits me better as I have more freedom to experiment. The ceramic department insists on masks but in our materials class it’s just a suggestion.

Min thanks for the heads up on talc which I did not know about. That is interesting because I really dislike the texture of talc for pastels  and was going to stop using it. 

There is not a lot of material one is mixing to make pastels but you are definitely closer to the materials which you mix using the cocaine and paint technique. 2 to 6 teaspoons of materials times 6 - 10 batches.

i will be making pastels either in my garage or empty room in school .

 

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2 hours ago, preeta said:

 

There is not a lot of material one is mixing to make pastels but you are definitely closer to the materials which you mix using the cocaine and paint technique. 2 to 6 teaspoons of materials times 6 - 10 batches.

 

That's a doozy of a typo!

Disposable masks are not adequate. Better than nothing, but not much.

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lol no. our whole class was actually joking about it. it was just like the movies. how you mix and cut and then arrange  cocaine in a line - before you mixed in the liquid ingredients. the item we were using was a  science lab spoon which had a quarter spoon measure at one end and a square flat piece  at the end making you feel you were holding a blade. 

Marcia i try but if the \teacher doesnt insist on it then i cant do anything. 

i wonder if the teacher thinks once a week for maybe an hour (the dry ingredient state before we add liquids is very short) for maybe 5 or 6 weeks is enough to  lead to lasting health effects.  however the teacher always asks everyone to put on their mask. she has even warned if we blow our noses and see colour in the tissue to definitely wear the mask. 

i warn kids all the time. many dont like it. esp. in the ceramics department. they know better but choose to ignore the information.  i get real dirty looks and many snarky comments. 

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