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Pottery/Safety Installation of a Kiln


I am a high school art teacher and my administration would like to install a kiln in my classroom and not have it enclosed.  I was wondering if you could comment on the safety of this as far as release of chemicals and its close proximity to students.  Also if there is any information anywhere that could validate my reason for it not to be installed in an open space in a classroom. I am extremely concerned about the health of myself and students.

thank you for your prompt response.

Ann Marie

Dear Ann Marie,

    Thank you for your recent question and concern for your students. As a pottery artist, owner of a pottery studio and retreat and an expert in kiln design and installation, I have to recommend that your administrators be informed that the liability from installing a kiln in an open area where students can come in contact with the kiln would be considered extremely dangerous.

    Heat is not the only issue that you would need to be concerned with during the firing process. Fumes projected from the kiln during the firing would be unbearable for you and your students, as well as highly dangerous. Glazes contain materials that when subject to high temperatures, create fumes that can cause headaches, eye irritation and lung irritation, especially to those with compromised lung problems such as asthma.

    The kiln itself fires between 1200 degrees F to 2400 degrees F, depending on the cone you will be firing to. This creates a very high heat that will heat your classroom to an uncomfortable temperature. Furthermore, the outside of the kiln will become extremely hot and will create burns for anyone who might touch or fall into the kiln.

    You should be highly concerned about the instillation of the kiln in an open space. I suggest that the kiln be placed in a building outside of the classroom. The building can be built out of any material and doesn't have to be large. Recommended space around the kiln should be 3 feet in all directions, including the ceiling. However, I would recommend a ceiling of at least 8 feet to assure enough room to raise the lid of the kiln and a hooded vent to expel hot air and fumes from the building.

    Finally, the administration should check with the county fire marshal to obtain information on the installation of the kiln in a safe manner. The schools insurance company would also have to be contacted to determine coverage for the kiln. From experience, a separate building to house the kiln will keep the kiln insurance low and prevent insurance cancellation from housing the kiln in an unsafe place.

    I can supply you with validating information on installation of the kiln, however, you can use this letter as reference to your question and are welcome to supply it to the administration. I have over 30 years in the pottery field, with expertise in working with raw clay and glaze material, pottery equipment and building kilns. I also teach classes worldwide in clay, hand building, pottery wheel, glaze calculation and formulation, and safety in the studio. If anyone from your administration would like to discuss proper installation of the kiln, I would be happy to supply them with any information. They can contact me personally at or by phone at 405-899-6185.

   I hope this answers your question and if you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at any time. Always at your service.

Ms. Ti Phillips
Earth Stoke 'N Fire Pottery Studio and Artist Retreat


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Ti Phillips


Will answer any questions on hand building, wheel, glaze, firing. Speciality questions to include those in glaze calculation and development, firing techniques. Please do not send questions on identifying pottery. Although I would love to add this to my question topics, I have a retreat to run as well as the studio and volunteering on AllExperts, and therefore do not have the available time to research indentification and marks. Thank you for understanding.


Experience includes 30 years in pottery design and education. Have taught online and studio classes worldwide for the last 20 years. Own a pottery retreat specializing in firing techniques. Have 12 years solid experience in glaze calculation and formulation as well as problem solving in glaze chemistry. I am the first potter in the United States to have developed a complete package of pottery equipment blueprints for a studio. The blueprints include wheels, kilns, studio furniture, wedgeboards, raku kilns, slab rollers, ball mills and studio tools.

Alliance of Pottery Artists Worldwide Association

Ceramic Industry - PPP Wyndstryder Press - Pottery Journal

University of Sciences and Art's of Oklahoma, studied under Professor Jaymes Dudding.

Awards and Honors
Potter of the year with APAWA, various awards for showmanship and design.

Past/Present Clients
Available upon request.

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