It can be gratifying – both for experienced and novice potters! – to spend hours creating works of art from lumps of clay. This unique satisfaction can only be achieved from taking something that used to only be primary material – and putting your own personal spin on it, reinventing it into a stunning artful creation.
However, with such a therapeutic and rewarding activity comes safety risks that must not be overlooked! This blog post will look at the safety considerations that all aspiring potters should consider. From taking steps before starting the work session to safely packing away finished pieces, ensuring pottery making is safe for yourself and those around you is vital to the continued enjoyment for years to come.
Safety Tips During Pottery Session
Pottery sessions can be enjoyable and rewarding, but it’s essential to prioritize safety to prevent accidents or injuries. Here are five safety tips to follow during a pottery session:
- Wear Appropriate Safety Gear: Ensuring safety is paramount when engaging in any activity, and pottery is no exception. You must wear the appropriate safety gear to protect yourself from potential hazards. For instance, when working with clay, putting on a dust mask is advisable to prevent inhaling clay dust. Similarly, safety goggles are crucial in shielding your eyes from flying debris that may cause harm or irritation. Wearing an apron or old clothes can also protect your body from splatters or spills that may cause injury. Remember, taking the necessary precautions will keep you safe and enable you to enjoy your activity fully.
- Use Sharp Tools with Care: Handling sharp instruments such as cutting wires and trimming tools with utmost care is crucial when engaging in pottery work. These tools should always be kept safe from your body and others around you. Cutting or trimming away from yourself is recommended to avoid any unintentional harm. Furthermore, storing these sharp instruments properly when not in use is essential for maintaining a safe working environment.
- Mind the Kiln Safety: When using a kiln to fire pottery, it is essential to take extra precautions. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for operating the kiln and ensure it is placed on a stable, fire-resistant surface. It is also important to avoid opening the kiln while it is still hot and to allow it to cool before unloading the fired pottery.
- Watch Your Hands and Fingers: Pottery can involve shaping and working with clay using your hands and fingers. Be mindful of your movements and avoid placing your hands too close to cutting or trimming tools. Be cautious of pinch points when using potter’s wheels or heavy equipment.
- Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks: Creating pottery can be physically challenging, especially when spending extended periods at the wheel or hand building. It’s essential to keep yourself hydrated by drinking water regularly. Remember to take short breaks to rest your fingers, hands, arms, and back to avoid any potential strain or fatigue.
- Bonus Tip: Keep Your Workspace Clean and Organised: A tidy and organised workspace can help prevent accidents. Ensure your tools are properly stored when not used, keep the floor free of clay debris to avoid slips and have a designated area for finished and drying pieces.
Pottery should be a fun and creative experience, but safety should always be a top priority to make it enjoyable and accident-free.
5 Safety Tips Post-Pottery Session
After a pottery session, specific safety measures can help ensure that the area remains hazard-free and that the pottery you’ve created is handled properly. Here are five safety tips to follow post-pottery session:
- Clean Up Clay and Debris: Clean up any leftover clay and debris from your work area and the surrounding space. Clay can become slippery when wet, so sweeping or mopping the floor is essential to prevent accidents. Dispose of any extra clay appropriately, and remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling clay to avoid any skin irritation.
- Store Tools Safely: After using your pottery tools, store and organise them safely. Keep sharp tools in designated containers, and ensure all instruments are put away correctly to prevent accidental injuries. Check for damaged or broken tools and repair or replace them as needed.
- Properly Handle Pottery Pieces: If you’ve created pottery pieces during the session, handle them carefully when moving or transporting them. Depending on the stage of drying or firing, pottery can be fragile and susceptible to damage. Place finished pieces on drying racks if needed and store them safely until they’re ready for firing.
- Clean Kiln and Firing Areas: After using a kiln, it’s essential to let it cool down before cleaning it. Take out any leftover clay or debris from the inside of the kiln and its shelves. Ensure the kiln’s ventilation and exhaust systems are clear and working correctly.
- Practice Safe Glazing Techniques: If you plan to glaze your pottery after the session, follow safety guidelines when working with glazes. Use glazes in well-ventilated areas to avoid inhaling fumes, and wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and a dust mask, while handling glazes. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific glaze you’re using.
- Bonus Tip: Plan for Proper Storage: If you have leftover clay, store it in airtight containers or plastic bags to prevent it from drying out. Label the containers with the type of clay and the date to help you identify it later.
By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your pottery sessions remain enjoyable, accident-free and that your pottery pieces are handled and stored correctly for the best possible outcome.
Crafting beautiful pottery pieces is a wonderfully enjoyable way to spend time. But it is also essential to remember that safety must be considered to avoid any damage or harm. Taking the proper steps before and during your artistic venture will ensure an enjoyable experience whenever you dip into pottery making!
Aspiring potters shouldn’t be intimidated by the initial effort of getting started because they could spend many happy hours creating stunning artwork from clay with the proper knowledge and resources. If you’re considering taking up this rewarding craft, all you need to do is contact us at Terra & Ember, and we’ll be here to guide you every step of the way. If not, check out our other in-depth pottery articles and take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the essentials of pottery making to enjoy the art and let your creative juices flow!