Best Practice Guidelines

The Donn Zver School of Pottery

Best Practice Guidelines

Donn Zver School of Pottery Best Practice Guidelines
The Donn Zver School of Pottery is open during the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter terms. In addition to regular classes, the School does provide open studio time for students to work and practice during times that there are no scheduled classes. Open studio time will be posted in the School and will change from time to time depending on scheduled classes.

During your first class, you will receive a tour of the school by your educator. Details of parking, entering/exiting the building, washroom locations, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and a review of the safety in the studio will be covered.

Studio classes will be posted in the School at the beginning of each term as well as being posted on the School website and the Donn Zver Pottery website.

Since you are sharing this space with other people it is important to clean up after yourself. The school should be as clean or cleaner than you found it. As a student, you are expected to respect other students, their work, and the school's facilities.

Never attempt to use equipment or materials that you have not been trained to use in the school. This includes wheels, kilns, the slab roller, extruders, and dry materials.

Closed shoes must be worn in the school at all times. Loose clothing, jewelry are not recommended. Long hair must be pulled back to prevent accidents.

Drinks that you bring or are provided by the school must be a closed vessel.

There is a M.E.R.P. (major emergency response plan) in place in the school. Your educator will cover this during your orientation.

By enrolling in a class at the Donn Zver School of Pottery, students agree to adhere to the policies and best practices of the School. Problematic or disruptive behaviour may result in the loss of class and studio privileges and/or future participation in the Donn Zver School of Pottery programs.


Other Important Information


Pottery Wheels

All potter’s wheels must be left in a clean condition when finished. This includes the splash pan, work surfaces (racks beside the wheels), wheel head, floor, and sitting stools. When finished, remember to turn the control to the “off” position. *Never* attempt to fix a wheel. Serious problems can occur if you attempt to remove any part of the wheel. Any problems with a wheel or foot pedal must be brought to the attention of the educator and it will be remedied in a timely fashion. The floor should be wet-mopped after each class and open studio. The mops are located in the glaze room.

Slab Roller

This piece of equipment requires an orientation. Never attempt to use it without being shown how to properly use it. Never force extremely thick or dry clay through the rollers— you should not have to force it through. If you force clay through, you will seize up the rollers and cause damage. If you have questions, please ask your educator.


The Donn Zver School of Pottery provides a cone 6 stoneware clay for studio use. After your class, any clay left over is to be taken home by the student or it will be removed for recycling. Open Studio participants must also take clay home with them. Instructions on how to re-cycle clay will be given by your educator. Being mindful of the amount of clay used for a project is very important. Your educator can help you determine how much clay to use for particular projects. Trimmings should be put in the slip bucket and taken home. We do not provide re-cycling of clay at the school. Try not to accumulate too much ‘spent’ clay before the end of your class. Allow time to recondition your clay (dry it for 15-20 minutes and then re-wedge it) before taking it home. Running out of time is not an appropriate excuse for leaving clay out in the studio. Under no condition, should clay be brought to the School from another source. We need to control the clay used in order to prevent damage to the kilns. The purchase of clay at the school includes bisque firing, glazes, and glaze firing.

Clay Recycling

Failed pots should always be reconditioned (dried for 15-20 minutes and then re-wedged) and be put into a plastic bag and taken home. The school does not re-cycle clay, the student is responsible for their own clay so a re-cycle bucket is required by the students. The educator will provide you with guidance on how to re-cycle clay at home.


Your clay is to be wedged on the working tables in the studio. The working tables have a concrete surface good for wedging and conditioning your clay. Remember to scrape and wipe these surfaces clean after each use. The concrete surfaces help draw moisture out of the clay, which is part of the reason that we use them. Always make sure that the table surfaces are wiped clean with a damp sponge at the end of class.


The clay sink is designed to drain slowly while allowing sediment to settle in the trap under the sink. This is the first line of defense in keeping clay sediment out of the draining system and holding tank. Do not leave the water running in the sink…it fills the sink faster than it drains. Buckets for throwing and cleaning will be provided by the School. One to use to throw, and a second to hold water to pre-wash your hands before you use the sink. You are encouraged to be resourceful when cleaning up and using the sink and water… wash your hands and tools with the water in your cleaning bucket at your wheel. Bring water to your wheel to clean tools and the wheel. Do not clean these items ar the sink. Your conservation efforts, when it comes to the sink, are greatly appreciated. All spills should be sponged/mopped up immediately. A wet floor is a safety hazard.

Storage Shelves

Storage of your clay work in progress is to be placed on your class-assigned shelves. Use the bats provided for the placement of your work on the shelves. Cover your work well with plastic so that your work does not dry out by your next class. Please do not handle other people's work. Respect each other and be show concern for others' work. If you intend to work on your pottery at home, use your own bats or boards to transport your work. Do not take the School's bats or molds home.


The school's glazes are all food-safe, dishwasher-safe, and microwavable. They are cone six glazes (2232 F) and formulated to mature and ‘fit’ the school's stoneware clay bodies. The glazes are formulated for dipping and pouring applications. A glaze test tile hangs on each glaze bucket and will show you the end results on our clay bodies with proper application. The large test tile display board shows you various combinations. Many combinations are possible and some are to be avoided. Your educator will tell you how to read the combination board and apply the glazes for the best results.

Always spread newspaper when working with glazes and wax resist. It helps with the cleaning up process and also helps keep the countertops clean and free of contaminants. All wax brushes are to be rinsed with water and put back clean. The school may occasionally have brushes that can be used for wax application, but unless they are washed immediately, they will be ruined after a single use. You can bring your own brushes or sponge brushes. Bring a small bowl of warm soapy water to the table so you can soak your brushes immediately. It is important to wipe up the counter and bucket surfaces with a sponge and water when you’re finished working with the glazes.

A variety of containers for transferring glaze are available under the counter. These containers help when glazing a wider bisque form or if the glazing level is low in the original glaze bucket. Please rinse your pouring cups in the rinse bucket first before rinsing in the sink. No food or drink is permitted in the glaze room.

Handing raw/dry chemicals requires training and approval from the instructor.


The kilns are fired when there is enough work to fill them. All scheduled kiln firings are posted so you can see whether or not a kiln is loaded with bisque or glazed ware, who loaded and fired it, and judge when it will most likely be unloaded. Any kiln questions can be directed to your educator. Both bisque and glaze firings have about a three-day turnaround. All work will be fired if it is on the glaze shelves in the glaze room. This shelf allows you to remedy any glazing faults or other minor repairs on work before it is fired (like cleaning your bottoms). Please do not open or attempt to unload or load a kiln unless you have been permission and guidance from your educator. Your interest in the kilns is encouraged. If you have not yet been authorized to work with the kilns and would like to learn more about kiln tasks in order to fully understand the full ceramic process, please talk to your educator. Remember, unloading the kiln includes washing and properly storing the kiln shelves. All finished glazed pottery will be placed on the shelves in the hallway adjoining the glaze room. If pieces are not removed after two weeks they will become the property of the school and will be disposed of.

Work Done At Home

We encourage all of our students to continue their projects at home if they can. But we do not encourage making pieces at home that are not related to your projects in class. If you do make pieces at home that are not related to a project in class there will be a $3.00 charge for each piece (no matter what size) brought to the school to be fired in the school's kiln. We have limited space and with the large number of students that we have, it is not fair that some students' projects do not get fired because others are bringing in large amounts of work.

Studio Maintenance

It is important to help maintain a standard of cleanliness and order in the School. Airborne silica is a health hazard. Please help us reduce the number of airborne particles by confining any dust-producing processes such as grinding or sanding to the kiln room where there is additional ventilation. The preferred practice is to take the piece that you want to sand outside or in the glaze room with the venting system on. Tables, wheels, glaze buckets, etc. all need to be wiped down after being used. Wipe up any spills on the floor immediately to avoid accidents. If you see clay left out, please put it away. Do not step on clay trimmings…if you see them on the floor, please throw them away.*Keeping clay dust to a minimum and maintaining a level of cleanliness is a priority.* A studio clean-up is scheduled at the end of each term and everyone is strongly encouraged to participate in this necessary and important event.


A list of contact numbers is posted in the glaze room, A first aid kit is available in the glaze room as well. Do not hesitate to use the school phone if there is an emergency.


The Donn Zver School of Pottery was established to further and promote the Pottery Arts in Ontario. We encourage you to participate in this by following these best practice guidelines so that everyone who comes to the school can enjoy their time here and be safe and be creative.