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updated fri 3 jul 98


Jan Wax on thu 2 jul 98

Sometimes things turn out differently than you'd expected. Getting personal
e-mail recently from Clayarters in response to my "Clay Police" post, has
been a welcome surprise, and I've a nice collection of shared clay goofs..
Thanks to all who wrote.
This past week has been a lesson in accepting criticism.(even if it was a
critique of my overfiring a kiln that happened many years ago, and that I
related as cautionary information). I also wrote a post about a new and,
to me, helpful discovery....nasal irrigation...and was told that if I never
forgot to wear a mask, I wouldn't need it. Useful advice.(There were also
posts from those who have also found nasal irrigation helpful.) I just want
to stress that I, too, believe in "safety first" - masks, filters, wet mop
cleanup, diligence in firing - all of those things - even if I haven't
always been perfect in the past. I'm doing better, learning even after 25
years of being a potter,thanks to Clayarters' advice.

I'd like to point out, however, that
fear can be debilitating. If you are being reasonably careful in the
studio, and you're still worrying about your lungs, I'd like to offer some
advice from my nurse-practitioner daughter. Take a pulmonary stress test.
Your doctor can order one for you, and I don't think they are prohibitively
expensive. This should give you a good indication of the condition of your
Has anyone ever compiled a list of potters who have died from work-related
diseases, giving some consideration to their proportion in the potter
population? I think this would be good information for all of us to know.
I went to a talk/slideshow recently where an American clay giant spoke,
but his whisper could hardly be heard. At the break he smoked cigarettes.
We shouldn't confuse smoking damage with dust damage in his case. I can
only imagine that the combination of the two could be lethal.

Clay has give me so much joy over the years, and it supports me and my
family. Clay has been my teacher, and the biggest lesson has been
Patience. It was impatience that used to make me blow up more good pots in
the bisque than I like to think about. I don't do that any more. Too
costly. It was also impatience that made me "lose my cool" temporarily on
Clayart. Thanks for everyone's patience.


Jan Wax on thu 2 jul 98

Just wanted to correct something I said in my previous post. I referred to
a "Pulmonary Stress Test" and that was incorrect. It's a "Pulmonary
Function Test"
- and not really necessary, I'm told, if you're asymptomatic - that is, not
coughing, no shortness of breath or wheezing.Firefighters regularly get
this test to be sure their equipment is working for them. Another measurer
of pulmonary function is a Peak Flow Meter - often used by asthmatics -
that measures expiration of breath or FEV, Forced End Volume.