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"Safety in the Ceramics Studio" Covers Main Issues

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Cover of

Jeff Zamek's book, "Safety in the Ceramics Studio" covers a broad range of safety topics.

Beth E Peterson

The Bottom Line

This book does offer a consolidated, quick and easy reference to studio safety for potters. If you have not been aware of the safety issues involved in pottery and studio ceramics, this is a good place to start. If, however, you already have an awareness of safety concerns, this book may be less in-depth than you might have hoped, especially in terms of raw materials.
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  • Gives good overview of various facets of safety when working with clay
  • Does discuss studio planning as part of safety
  • Does discuss safety issues of raw materials, kilns, and equipment


  • Can be repetitive
  • Product information doomed to be outdated
  • A more in-depth discussion of toxic raw materials would have been appropriate


  • Paperback book, 8.5 by 11 inches, 160 pages. Does include index and bibliography.
  • Discusses broad spectrum of safety issues, including injury prevention, ventilation, material handling, and studio planning.
  • Good basic reference for all those working in clay who are not already acquainted with safety concerns in pottery.

Guide Review - "Safety in the Ceramics Studio" Covers Main Issues

"Safety in the Ceramics Studio" is a good overview of the safety issues facing potters and ceramists as they work in clay. It does offer very good guidelines and covers the all the various safety issues.

The book does, however, feel "padded". Zamek repeats himself quite a bit, which I found annoying. He also includes a lot of information on specific products that is bound to change, perhaps radically, over time.

My deepest disappointment came in Zamek's treatment of ceramic raw materials. Although he has an extensive list of materials, his format in examining each material left me wanting to know more. Specifically, I wish he had included a rating on how hazardous each material was. I was also surprised that he dedicated an entire chapter to barium, and yet did not include such chapters on other highly toxic materials, such as chrome, manganese, lead, and lead frits. Having fuller information on all the more toxic materials would have only made sense.

In addition,the book design itself left something to be desired. The paper used was not opaque enough, interfering with readability. The page layout for the raw materials list could also have been more conducive to readability and greater clarity.

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