Product safety for the potter

Product safety for the potter


A series of 8 weekly sessions covering product safety for the potter.

This is particularly useful for anyone making functional pieces, tableware etc.

The topics covered each week 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.

These are held weekly, beginning at 7pm.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

Each week there is an illustrated talk, together with questions, answers and discussions, lasting about an hour and a half.

There is also additional (optional) material to read online.

The recording will also be put online for a month after the event, so you can review it afterwards if you wish.

There is a dedicated forum for discussion of the course topics.

You also get a set of course notes.

What you will need

If you wish to try any of the demonstrated tests you will need a number of small bowls, glazed and fired, that you don't mind getting damaged, and access to a kitchen.


Tim Thornton at Tim Thornton Ceramics

This course is taught online

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Advanced/pro level
  • Intermediate level
  • Limited mobility
  • Seniors
  • Teenagers
  • Wheelchair users


12 hours (7:00pm to 8:30pm)

Bronze Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Bronze status for receiving 1 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.

The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.

They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.


Live online course
Matthew - - #34046

I found the course very interesting and useful. Each lesson is well-presented with clear explanations and a good balance of theory and practical information.

Response from Tim Thornton Ceramics:

Hi Matthew, Glad you found the course useful. Thanks for participating.

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