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Ceramics

Includes pottery, porcelain and stoneware. Ceramics refers to any item made from clay and fired in a kiln (from the Greek keramos meaning clay).

Cleaning

- Generally clean with a soft brush. For bad areas gently clean with warm water (and preferably distilled water) with a small amount of washing-up liquid.

- Apply with slightly dampened cloth or use cotton wool or a cotton bud. Also, an artist's brush should be used to clean intricate and delicate pieces.

- Wash one item at a time preferably using a plastic bowl for protection.

- For delicate pieces, clean only small areas at a time and dry immediately.

- Do not immerse in hot water, do not use dishwashers, do not scrub and do not use strong abrasives or detergents.  Detergents may expose and damage repairs if present.

- Note, unglazed pieces which are absorbent, should not be exposed to water.

Repair

- Do not paint, glue or attempt to repair broken ceramics yourselves. Consult a professional conservator.

- Treat all ceramics that have repairs with special care. Heating, even gentle washing, etc., can easily expose, weaken or stain the more porous repaired areas.

- Minor stains can be treated with a solution of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of ammonia using a cotton swab.

Display

- Display cabinets are generally the most suitable display media for ceramics (the greatest danger for any ceramic are cracks or breakage)

- Avoid areas prone to vibration and unstable shelves that can be easily jarred or "knocked".

- Plates can be displayed using plate stands but ensure that these are of the correct size, are robust and stable and sufficient space is provided between each item on display.

- For best protection, free standing items items can be placed on a piece of felt, cut to size to fit the base, but do not glue felt to the item.

- Wire wall mounts for plates are not generally recommended, but if you feel you need to display plates on a wall use plastic coated wall mounts of the correct size.

- Ceramics can also be affected by sunlight, rapid variations in temperature and humidity and smoke so avoid direct sunlight and areas prone to coal or cigarette smoke.

Handling

- Always hold with two hands, support by the base and set down gently.

- Preferable wear white cotton gloves. Fingers can leave greasy marks that eventually may also stain.

- Do not hold cups, vases or pots by their handles.  These areas are often weakened by age.

- Always be aware of loose pieces such as lids etc. Remove these pieces and carry separately.

Storage

- Always store by wrapping in acid free tissue (newspapers are very acidic).

- If storing more than one item make sure that they do not touch.

- Always pack firmly (but not over tightly) to ensure that there is no movement.

- Clearly label packed boxes.

The Trusted Experts on the site will advice you about restoration and many other matters related to what we hope will be a very enjoyable and at times profitably hobby and past time.

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