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Found 11 results

  1. Hi Folks, I have recently painted a simple design in Magnesium oxide over a white tin glaze which matures between 1100 and 1180 C. I read since then that Magnesium Oxide is one of the potters more toxic oxides . There is notoriously very little actual data about the safety of many glaze surfaces, but would anyone hazard an opinion as to the safety of this bowl for functional/ food use - given that the oxide is now securely bonded to a stable glaze? I would love to use/ give this bowl away, but am worried about the toxicity of the oxide which was only put on in a wash solution. Any info/ opinions on Magnesium oxide gratefully received. Wild goose
  2. As someone who works in clay, and other forms of art and craft, such as painting, photography, creative design and so forth, I have learned to seek out mechanisms that help me keep the focus on the clay and what I am doing with it. When I'm in the studio, I don't want to drag in internal states that can just get in the way, like certain emotional infusions and negative self-talk. I ran across this article about "craft as therapy", and it's a good read. I was about ready to quit my BFA program due to internal and external hardship. Several art instructors were kind enough and astute enough to notice and say "the right things" that empowered me to hang tough. There was one ceramics instructor tho, whose response to me ever opening my mouth to discuss clay in relation to the creative process, as an activity that made me consciously feel good, was to repeatedly issue a put-down: "art is not therapy". He'd tone it as though I'd committed the worst sin of an artist, verging on being a dillitant, and should get the heck out of his class. It was emotionally destructive, since I was on the brink of disaster anyway, and more so since I was intent on becoming the next Peter Voulkus and he was squashing my dream. Paradoxically, I found validation through therapy, that making art is indeed good for the Self, and I silently told him to take his point of view and stick it somewhere dark. I completed my degree (crafts and materials/ceramics). That plus my love of art has keep me going through some rough times. Being a craftsman or using the making of art as a support for being a healthier person in no way negates or dilutes the responsibility (whether self-imposed, or by global standards) to make the best art/object possible within one's skill set. It's not either-or, it is yes, and. Anyway---maybe this piece is of interest to some members. Check it out. https://www.sciencealert.com/modern-life-is-brutal-here-s-why-craft-is-so-good-for-our-health
  3. I've been thinking a while about those of us who have spoken about various limitations, challenges, health impairments, disabilities, and so forth. Some folks have had to leave the Forums and reduce their work because of certain conditions of body and/or mind (tho I believe they are integrated, not two separate issues). There is no Forum particulary suited or appropriate for discussion about one's aches and pains, or serious impediments that affect our ability to work in, and enjoy working in, clay, or work-arounds that help make it easier to function and hang in there. So, my question is: Either generally or specifically, what do you think, feel, and/or do when confronted with moderate to serious/severe limitations of some aspect of health that alters how you work in clay?
  4. As a new teacher in a community education setting I have a question that I have not seen in the Forum. One of my students may be pregnant. I have looked in books on health and safety by Monona Rossol, Michael McCann, and Angela Babin. None are specific to clay, pottery and glazing. Other than the basic precautions all of us should be using (wet mopping, dust mask, frequent breaks for back), are there things/chemicals that we should be concerned about? I'm mostly thinking glazing, are there chemicals she should avoid, or will using gloves and good housekeeping be enough? Thanks for your input. Nancy Johnson
  5. Hi everyone, I know this topic has been discussed previously but couldn't find it. I'm a shortie and have a high wheel. At the moment I sit on a bar stool that is adjustable. I'm too short to stand and throw and if I use some sort of platform I can't touch the pedal. Conundrum, I've just had my 3rd spinal fusion and don't want to stop throwing but I'm finding it very painful to throw using this wheel. Here comes my question! Can anyone who has had this problem tell me if a short wheel would be better. Many thanks Andrea
  6. I have two kilns hooked to a vent. I am firing sometimes both kilns 4 days a week. I believe the hoses are both connected correctly (I use a damper), but would certainly not mind tips on ways to check. I am not sure now because the studio has a kiln odor and I sometimes have some smoke coming out when the wax burns off. I usually dip glaze and fire immediately. Could this be my problem. I just changed out some of the vent hoses as they eroded, so I am hoping that will help. I have been experiencing shortness of breath and coughing (especially when running) for a few years now but just assumed it was from previous years of bad studio practices. I thought that the vent and good cleaning schedule would take care of any issues I have, but it is not. Since I am doing production, I fire a mostly full kiln loads of copper glazed- green - pots and of course, bisque. Could this be sulfuric acid? I do see a good amount of rusting on equipment, but I am also near the coast and it gets very humid here. I would like to make my work environment as safe as possible. I also wear a P100 respirator in the studio but would love to be able to work unencumbered by the mask. Any help you can give me would be great!
  7. Hi all, I'm in Montreal and am wondering if people have had success with air purifiers in the studio. We have an air vent connected to the window which we use for sanding and glaze mixing (and for the kiln of course), but I'm talking about general dust buildup and air quality. Our studio has about 20 members (kind of works like a gym but for ceramics) so it gets dusty really easily. Do plug-in air filters/purifiers work to help take harmful dust particles out of the air? If so, which models do you all recommend? Low wattage is best as our electrical wiring is pretty sketchy and the fuse tends to break fairly often. Thanks!
  8. When we moved, I lost access to a community studio. I just purchased a kiln of my own but I don't have the luxury of a room to myself for a studio. My question is in regards to safety. I've been reading the safety forums and now I'm so scared to do anything and am disheartened as I probably will never have a room solely for pottery. I want to know if I can use hardiboard and work with my wet clay at my kitchen table and then dry my pieces in my laundry room that I can mop? Of course when I leave my table, I would use a damp rag and mop there as well but will this pose a health risk to me and my family? I miss having a studio I could go to and now I'm afraid I'll never work with clay again? Any help is appreciated!
  9. Evelyne could not post the Qotw. . . so I am helping her out. After all of our discussions on so many of the forums, many have talked about safety in the studio. These discussions will include keeping a clean studio, washing up instead of sweeping or brushing, using respirators when working with dust, using goggles to view the cone packs in the kiln, how to lift and move materials safely, and so many other things. So what in the anonymity of the forum. . . what don't you do for your self safety wise that you should do? Reason I am bringing it up right now is that I have been trying to get some orders finished up, along with some wedding presents and a wedding jar. However, I am kicking around in a studio that has not been cleaned after the Winter with dust everywhere, trimming craps still on the floor, and overall chaos as I have to step over things to get to the wheel. Pretty bad right now, but hope to get the time to clean as these pieces start to dry. best, Pres
  10. I have come across a great turquoise glaze recipe for cone 10 reduction. I know it uses quite a high percentage of barium carbonate. What exactly is the health concern with barium and food? What ratio of strontium can I use as a substitute for said barium? How do we know if strontium is safe for food vessels?
  11. In the past, I have often written that I wedge all of my clay even though I take it right out of the bag. There are several reasons for this, and I wanted to take a few lines to explain them further and throw out some ideas for thought. My reasons for wedging clay for the last 30+ years are as follows: If the clay came out of the pug mill, it usually needed to be blended to an even consistency, remove air bubbles, dry it our some, and line up the particles so that for better strength. If out of the box at home, it had usually frozen over the Winter here in Central PA. Freezing drives water out of the clay to the outside, and leaves all sorts of striations in the clay block. I start wedging this by turning all sides into the center with cut and slam, then cut and slam the entire block about 5 times, finish by spiral cone wedging the clay into weighed out pot sized amounts. Wedging as exercise. I wedge clay for exercise, as crazy as that might seem, but when throwing for hours at a time, the break to wedge up the ball of clay to be used on a pot down the line is a welcome way of stretching the back and shoulders. This also brings me to the final reason I forced myself to not be lazy about wedging clay. Finally, wedging as therapy. Years ago I was in a bad auto wreck that left me with some damaged vertebrae. This caused lots of pain in the lower back for decades. Some days I could hardly get out of bed without levering my body out of bed with the weight of my legs. I found that hanging from an overhead bar would stretch the back and help some. However, my go to exercise became wedging because of the way the process worked. . . . at least for me. The process of wedging lifts the shoulders upward and back as you push against the clay and at the same time the shoulder lift and the body movement stretches the back muscles and the spine itself. With regular rhythm and movement in the wedging process where you are not trying to hurry the job, or wedge too much clay you can do wonders for you core and spine. So, I leave this open to comment, and I am sure many of you will go on about getting a pug mill, which for me would be a big investment, but as I get older I have been looking for a good used one. However, even with a deairing pug mill, I would still probably wedge for the last two reasons above.
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