Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's art article - Caring for ceramics

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While paintings tend to get the majority of focus in our art care section, there are other art media that require proper care, including ceramics. Though relatively hardy, these pieces may crack, chip, or break if handled or used improperly. A ceramic sculpture, if displayed in an enclosed cabinet or case, should be protected from dirt and dust. If you need to clean your ceramic piece, first assess whether it is glazed (smooth, shiny) or unglazed (rough, matte). Unglazed pieces can be brushed with a soft makeup brush or paintbrush or sprayed with bursts of canned air. Glazed pieces are best washed in lukewarm water and a gentle soap. Before putting your piece in the sink, line it with a towel, rubber mat or other soft surface to protect it against chipping or falling over.

In the case where you have pottery that is meant to be used (mugs, dishes, etc.), they are still not immune to damage. Extreme fluctuations in temperature or humidity can be harmful to pieces. Likewise, even oven-safe stoneware dishes should not be placed directly into a hot oven. Instead, allow the dish to heat up along with the oven. Handwash pieces with soap in a sink when possible versus putting them in the dishwasher.

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