Practicing studio safety is a combination of four factors: having knowledge of the materials you are handling, understanding the environment (space) in which you are working, being aware of emergency procedures, and practicing common sense in any given situation.
Most of the materials that you will be using in this class have relatively low levels of toxicity, unless ingested. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not eat or drink in this or any other studio. If you have questions about materials, there are MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) forms located in binders in the room. These outline the potential hazards of all materials you are using. I will walk you through one so that you will understand how to interpret them. A few things I want to highlight are:
- Spray fixatives: these contain fumes that are both toxic and flammable. They should only be used in the drawing spray booth or outside. Do not use them in a dormitory or apartment – not even in the hallway. When using the spray booth, follow all directions carefully (I will give you a demonstration.) When spraying outside (including around D&M) be very careful that you are nowhere near a ventilation intake source. Spraying near this will spread the fumes throughout the building. It is also important to know that spraying fixative around an infant or child has been known to cause serious injury or death because of their delicate respiratory system.
- Dust: when using charcoal, pastel, or any drawing material in a situation that produces a lot of dust (sanding to sharpen charcoal or conte, smearing etc.) do so only in a well ventilated area – avoid breathing the dust. Additionally, it is advised that people not sleep in the room with dusty drawing materials (charcoal, pastel, etc.) present. No not blow on your drawing to move the dust onto the floor. Do whatever you can to keep the dust particles from being suspended in the air that you breathe.
- X-acto Blades: wrap that sharp end of a used x-acto blade a few times in some masking tape so that the person dealing with the trash does not get cut. For your own safety, cover the blade with your kneaded eraser so that you won’t get cut if it is stored unprotected in your art box.
- Markers: When using markers for drawing, be careful about the fumes given off by them. If possible, stand/sit near an open window.
- Do not work alone after hours, particularly at night or on the weekends. You will be given a pass so that you may use the drawing studio when classes are not in session. If working at night or on a weekend, work with colleague in the class, bring a friend or roommate who can read or study while you work. If you must work alone, make sure that someone knows where you are, and what your expected schedule is.
- Know where the telephone and fire alarms are. The nearest telephone is outside of the Collins Gallery. The number for Campus Police is posted there.