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Skidmore College

Skidmore College Health and Safety Guidelines - Ceramics Studio



Saisselin Art Center has 24-hour secure access through a swipe card system
The following exterior doors will be unlocked at 7 a.m. and locked at 11 p.m., Monday through Friday:

  • Loading dock entrance
  • First floor entrance adjacent to Ceramics and Fiber Arts
  • Main west entrance from the covered walkway
  • First floor east entrance by Filene

After 11 p.m. students must use their swipe cards to enter the building.


Only those students currently registered in a course may have access to this studio, its tools and materials.  All others must receive individual permission from the Professor prior to using any tool or material within this facility.  For safety reasons, your friends, family, etc. cannot be permitted to remain in the studio when it is being used.


Read and follow all "Studio Safety Guidelines" for the Department of Art posted in the hallways.

Smoking in all studios is expressly forbidden.

Never work in this studio if you are:

  • Under the influence of any drug (including alcohol)
  • Over-tired or distracted


  • Protective clothing must be worn when recommended by the instructor.
    • Safety glasses, face shields, dust masks, and hearing protectors will be required when working in some studios or when performing particular operations.
    • Proper footwear must be worn in the studios at all times.


  • Certain hazardous substances may be prohibited in the building.
    • Seek advice from a member of the faculty if you are proposing to use materials other than those supplied by your instructor. If you are buying art materials and/or equipment for use in any of your classes, your instructor can advise you on health and safety risks.
  • Spray paint, fixative, etc. MUST be used outside (or in properly equipped exhaust booths where available).


  • Lockers are provided for storage of small personal items and art materials.
    • You may NEVER store combustible solvents or other dangerous materials in any locker.
    • Solvents and other flammable liquids should be stored only in recommended storage facilities provided in the studios for this purpose (i.e. yellow cabinets).


  • No piece of equipment may be used before you have received full and proper instruction by your instructor.
    • Faculty will normally require a demonstrated level of technical competence before unsupervised work is permitted with specific equipment and materials.
  • DO NOT WORK with any piece of equipment when you are fatigued, stressed, or otherwise impaired.

Class Room Area

  • Notify your instructor of any allergies and or any other health problems that might present a problem for you. Clay dust and the natural mold in the clay can be a problem for some students.
  • Know the material that you are working with and its related hazards. Check with your instructor or look at a safety data sheet if you are unsure. Chemicals and glaze materials are labeled and SDS sheets are available on all chemicals used in glazes and clay.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wear an apron, smock or something similar. Wash hands before leaving studio.
  • Put all tools and equipment away when finished. Clean up your area where you were working with a damp sponge, and keep clay off the floor. Clay dust is a serious problem.
  • Store your work in assigned areas. There are many students using this studio so please cycle your work and help keep the storage space organized. All work must be removed at the end of the semester.
  • Should any equipment break down or if your do not think it is running properly, “tag it out” (out of order sign) so that it can be repaired. This prevents others from turning on a broken piece of equipment.
  • Re-wedge and re-use as much clay as possible especially clay from the throwing process. If this is not done, the slurry buckets quickly overflow, and more time will be required to make new clay.
  • Wash hands in the sinks with the grate in place.



  • Any waste products poured down the drain must be approved by Saratoga County Sewer and Water and city engineer.
  • Only put approved substances down sink drains. Check with your professor to determine what is appropriate to put down sink.
  • Saratoga Country Sewer and Water District authorities control and monitor what waste products can be poured down drains in order to keep water resources safe and sustainable.

Clay Making Room

  • No equipment is to be used without permission or proper training
  • Use a N95 respirator when making clay.
  • Never share a respirator, or dust mask with anyone.
  • Turn on air filtration system before making clay.
  • When making clay, the mixer should never be running without the lid down to the expanded metal grate covering the opening.
  • When finished making clay, clean out mixer and leave lid open.
  • Shut off air filtration system when finished.

Glaze Room

  • Make sure air cleaners are turned on before starting work.
  • Avoid making dust or leaving chemicals on countertops. Return chemicals back to the proper storage area when finished.
  • Wipe up any spills immediately. If you are not sure how best to clean up a spill, ask your instructor.
  • Wear dust mask, gloves and goggles when making glazes.
  • Eating and drinking are prohibited in this area.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after mixing glazes.
  • Spray glazes in spray booth only, NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Read all labels carefully. Make sure that you know the materials that you are working with and their possible health hazards.

Spray Booth

  • Students must receive safety training and permission from their professor prior to using.
  • Turn on the switch, which is located in the sculpture rack, and set the timer for 3 hours. The timer is located by the glaze mixer. Note: N 95 Dust mask is ok to use please confirm with your Professor before using. 

Bead Blaster 

  • Students must receive safety training and permission from their professor prior to using.

Power Mixer

  • Students must receive safety training and permission from their professor prior to using.

Spray Booth

  • Students must receive safety training and permission from their professor prior to using.

Kiln Room

  • Only students who have been trained are allowed to fire the electric and gas kilns and make any adjustments to the kilns.
  • Know the sounds of the alarm from the carbon monitors. If you hear the alarm, please notify the person firing the kiln. Their name will be posted on the kiln room door. If no one is around, leave the area and call campus safety.
  • No flammable materials are allowed in this area, and please do not store flammable materials here either.
  • Note that the valves that are painted yellow are for natural gas, and the valves that are painted blue are for air. Only students who have been trained can make necessary adjustments.
  • Do not look into any kilns without proper safety glasses. Glasses will filter out any harmful ultra violet radiation. Also, be careful of the kiln’s back pressure and heat coming from the spy holes.
  • Natural gas is used for firing the gas kilns. If you should smell gas, exit the kiln room and call security.
  • To use the grinder to remove excess glaze, first check with your instructor for proper instruction of procedures.