Yes, Steve, we are appraised of the hazards of the materials we use--
by vendors, by district offices, by fellow teachers, by conscientious
mental telepathy (:+), and by manufacturers.
The precautions one takes as a teacher of children places safety
foremost in one's considerations. I do not assume to answer for all
the art teachers on this list, simply for myself.
When you look into the supply cabinets in my elementary art studio,
you will find LOTS of washable, non-toxic paints, whether they be for
"regular" painting or printmaking. I do introduce oils to my students,
simply for the sake of stored knowledge, yet I'm sure there are middle
and high school artrooms who use them extemporaneously and even quite often.
Tho this practice is probably done with most exaggerated ventilation
and precaution, I hope so!
The exposure (perhaps bad choice of a word) my students have to oils is in a
45 minute class period in the manner of learning just what it was that
those poor starving artists painted with before water-based paints
became ever so popular. Mind you folks, I am not looking for any
issues of debate concerning the timeline appointment of the creation and
wide usage of oils-vs-waterbased paints, merely speaking off the top of my
As for the materials used by myself as an artist in my home, that brings
an interesting question. Are we more lenient with ourselves, as far as
toxicity and such, when we get in that creative mode and just go with the
flow? Use the material that deciphers the expression, mindful of its
negative or positive aromas? Printmakers don't exactly live in the
sanest zones of safety, with acids and 1000 pound presses!
Actually Steve, it's a volatile subject (again, no pun intended) and
I hope some other people bite on the issue. Tell me, did I totally get
tangled in the keys of this keyboard and lose track of your initial
thought or did I come close? sandrahardee (sc)