How To Handles Pieces at the Coe

by | Mar 9, 2024 | Articles

Hi, I’m Rose at the Coe. Today we’re going to talk about how to handle a piece safely, using this pot as our example.

First, ensure your hands are clean and dry. Oils and compounds on your hands can harm or discolor the piece over time. Some places use gloves to prevent this, but washing your hands also works. At the Coe, we believe that interacting with pieces is important, so we use clean, washed hands instead of gloves. Gloves can reduce your ability to feel things, increasing the risk of dropping the item. For pottery, it’s often safer to use clean, dry hands.

Additionally, before handling objects, remove anything that could harm the object, like lanyards or jewelry, which could swing into and hit the piece. Before handling, I’ll take off any rings, bracelets, or other jewelry that might come into contact with the piece. I don’t wear any jewelry to work because I work with objects all the time. If I have any loose, dangly sleeves, I also get them up out of the way so they don’t interfere when picking something up.

When picking up a piece, first evaluate if there are any areas that might be structurally unstable or weak, and make sure it’s safe to handle. Many pieces have handles that look like good places to hold them, but over time, this can stress the handle and cause damage. Always pick things up from underneath to support them properly and reduce stress on the object. If I were going to pick this up, I’d use both my hands to support it from underneath and then gently set it down when I’m ready.

One important note is to make sure you have a safe spot to set the piece down before you pick it up. Plan out your path of travel and ensure the area is clear. If you’re moving things a distance, do a dry run to ensure nothing is in the way. If you’re in a space where more than one person is working, communicate that you’re moving objects so others can be conscious and avoid incidents.

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