Mugs or cups are a special class of handmade ceramic art. Not only must they have a visual and tactile appeal, they must stand up to continuous daily use, alternating between hot and cold, and are subject to acidic foods like coffee, tea, soda or orange juice. I formulate and use a a special porcelain clay body to stand up to these extremes. I use two glazes on all the mugs. The INSIDE glaze is formulated to be stable over time and hold up very well to the acids and bases found in food. The OUTSIDE glaze is primarily for beauty and interest, although I do take steps to increase their functionality, and may contain zinc silicate, and metallic colorants like copper, iron, nickel or manganese. None of those materials are regulated and most are considered necessary nutrients in extremely small quantities. Since they are on the outside of the mug, they will not interact with anything you consume, and are in any event not considered toxic in small amounts. The risk in using these materials, including clay, is to the potter, as well as to miners and processors, through inhalation of the powdered forms. I take great care to avoid this in studio practice. The mugs can be used in a microwave oven and cleaned in a dishwasher.
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