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toxic materials pushing buttons

updated fri 9 apr 99


Alex Wilson on thu 8 apr 99

Hello Ron,
No button-pushing intended, I just think that we, as potters, should feel
more free to experiment with anything that comes our way - not to say the
results should then be passed on to an unsuspecting and potentially
hysterical public, but that we should temper our own hysteria somewhat,
regarding the use of poisonous materials.
I agree wholeheartedly that the glazes and ware we pass on to our customers
should be as well-made and safe as we can make them, but have yet to find a
good substitute for Lead Bisilicate in earthenware glazes, the dearth of
information from the frit manufacturers being partly to blame; how can you
formulate a glaze without knowledge of all the constituents? Perhaps this is
what has led to the almost complete absence of interest in slipware here in
the U.S.
Currently, I'm running tests on any lead-free frit I can get my iron oxide
stained hands on, though my lab is hardly 'state of the art'. Still fiddling
with Gerstley and strontium carb., among other things, looking for an
equivalent to Podmore's Borax Frit 2246 used in the U.K. and firing to around
If yourself, or anyone else out there, knows of a sub for lead bi or the
aforementioned frit, then please do pass it on, as I soon won't be able to
move in my shed for bisque.
Be really careful with that claw-hammer, now :).
Alex, a Scot ensconced in Iowa