Tim Thornton Ceramics

Product Safety for Potters

A series of 8 sessions, taking the studio potter through all the necessary aspects of designing safe products.

Every Thursday from 29 October to 17 December from 19:00 GMT / 20:00 CET / 0800 NZDT /1200 PST / 1500 EST (note that US times will change by 1 hour after the first session, due to differences in dates for the ending of DST between the USA and Europe).

The topics covered are:

  1. What is product safety and why it matters. Laws, regulations and standards. To define what we mean by product safety, and to understand why it is important from both a legal and an ethical viewpoint. Where does it stand in relation to food safety, functional design, and studio health and safety. To understand the laws, regulations and standards that apply to products made by potters (laws and standards covered will primarily be international, USA and EU/GB).
  2. Glaze Stability and Leaching. To understand the meaning and importance of glaze stability. To understand the mechanisms of glazes leaching and corroding. To be aware of the various rules and guidelines concerning glaze stability. To understand methods of testing glazes, both in-house and by 3rd parties.
  3. Understanding "Food Safe". To understand what is meant by the concept of "food safe". To understand how we decide what level of leaching is potentially toxic, and how this relates to the various ways that pieces may be used in the real world. To create a firm basis of understanding from which we can look at specific substances in the next talk.
  4. Food Safety in Practice. To go from the previous session's general understanding of food safety to having a practical understanding of the safety or potential toxicity of materials and glazes used by potters. To understand the use of precautionary techniques such as liner glazes.
  5. Crazing and Cutlery Marking. To understand the potential risk to health and other adverse effects of crazing. To understand what causes crazing, and how it may be minimised. To understand what causes cutlery marking, and how it may be minimised.
  6. Oven, Microwave, Freezer and Dishwasher Safe. To understand what happens to pots used in ovens, microwaves, freezers and dishwashers, and how the potter can maximise their durability in these environments. Note that flameware (i.e. pots intended for use in direct contact with a gas flame or electric element) will not be covered.
  7. Strength, Stability, Flames and Electricity. To understand the topics of stability, waterproofness, and strength of pieces; surface temperatures; lids and handles; candles and candle holders; and electric lamps.
  8. Pots Outdoors. To understand the issues with putting pots outdoors: glaze weathering, water absorption, frost and cracking.
Each session lasts an hour (or more, if there are lots of questions and discussions). There is an initial presentation, followed by questions and discussions. Before the event, participants are encouraged to ask for specific aspects to be covered. After the event, you will be given a link to a recording of the session which will  be available for a month, and you'll also be given a month's full membership to Tim's technical web site, which has more detail on the topics covered, and also the various sources and references used.

Tim Thornton has been a potter for 12 years, previously having worked in engineering and scientific research, giving him a good background in the technical issues of pottery. He has been studying the "health and safety" side of studio ceramics over the last year or two, unravelling the often contradictory and unvalidated claims of many potters, and going back to medical or scientific papers to understand the topics fully. He has been posting weekly on Instagram and Facebook about these topics, and is now starting to run courses on them.

Sign up for all 8 sessions for £72 (about €79 or US $93)

To sign up to the whole series for just £72 (about €79 or US$ 93), click on the link below. This gets you 8 sessions for the price of 6.

Alternatively, scroll down and you can just sign up to individual sessions for £12 each (about €13 or US $15).

Strength, Stability, Flames and Electricity - PS7
Pots Outdoors - PS8