Rossol, Monona 1936-
ROSSOL, Monona 1936-
PERSONAL: Born January 31, 1936, in Madison, WI; daughter of Ben (a booking agent and entertainer) and Alva (an entertainer; maiden name, Topel) Bergor; married John Otto Holzhueter (a historian), 1962 (divorced, 1981). Education: University of Wisconsin—Madison, B.S., 1960, M.S., 1962, M.F.A., 1964.
CAREER: Bjorksten Research Laboratory, Madison, WI, research chemist, 1959-60; University of Wisconsin—Madison, instructor in integrated liberal studies and ceramics, 1961-62, project assistant in civil engineering, 1964-67; Center for Occupational Hazards (now Center for Safety in the Arts), New York, NY, cofounder, 1977, director of information, 1977-87, president, 1980-86; Arts, Crafts, and Theatre Safety, Inc., New York, NY, founder and president, 1987—. Ceramics teacher at schools and universities, 1964-80, including Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York, Henry Street Settlement House, and Greenwich House Pottery; proprietor of a ceramic studio in Mazomanie, WI, 1964-77; freelance art restoration consultant and restorer, 1975-78. Member of New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health; health and safety director for Local 829 of the United Scenic Artists Union, 1995—; consultant to J. Paul Getty Conservation Library, Boston Children's Museum, and Museum of Modern Art. Exhibitions: Ceramics, sculpture, and blown glass exhibited in more than forty group and four solo shows.
MEMBER: American Industrial Hygiene Association, American Institute for Conservation, American Society for Testing and Materials, American Welding Society, National Fire Protection Association, Artist Craftsmen of New York (president, 1977-81, 1992), Wisconsin Designer Craftsmen, Pen and Brush.
AWARDS, HONORS: Twenty-third Ceramic National Purchase Award; The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide won the Outstanding Academic Book Award from Choice and the Association of College and Research Libraries in 1996.
Stage Fright—Health & Safety in the Theater, Center for Occupational Hazards (New York, NY), 1986.
The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Art Materials to Make Your Workplace Safe and Comply with United States and Canadian Right-to-Know Laws, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 1990, 3rd edition, 2001.
Safety Training Manual: Our Right-to-Know Program, Edge Publishing, 1991.
(With Susan Shaw) Overexposure: Health Hazards inPhotography, 2nd edition, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(With Ben Bartlett) Danger! Artist at Work: A Guide to Occupational Hazards and Precautions for Arts Workers and Teachers, Thorpe Publishing (Australia), 1991, 2nd edition, 1996.
Keeping Clay Work Safe and Legal, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, 1993, 2nd edition, 1996.
The Health and Safety Guide for Film, TV and Theater, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Work represented in anthologies, including Health Hazards Manual for Artists, edited by Michael McCann, Foundation for the Community of Artists (New York, NY), 1978; The Business of Art, edited by Lee Caplin, Prentice-Hall, 1982; and Safety in Museums and Galleries, edited by F. M. P. Howie, Butterworth, 1987. Author of the columns "Ceramics and Health," in Ceramic Scope, 1980-82, and "Accent on Safety," in Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot, 1991-92. Contributor to periodicals, including Surface Design Journal, Creative Ohio, Leonardo, Puppetry Journal, and Art Hazards News. Editor, Artist-Craftsmen Newsletter, 1971-73, and ACTS Facts, 1987—; safety editor, Professional Stained Glass, 1987—.
SIDELIGHTS: Monona Rossol is best known as the author of The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, "a standard in the field," according to Daniel Lombardo in Library Journal. The book went into three editions in the space of ten years, garnering accolades on all sides for its comprehensive presentation of information on safety regulations and health risks posed by the chemicals used in most artistic endeavors. Reviewers noted that the information contained in the volume is especially vital to independent artists and hobbyists as well as teachers, who are liable for exposing others to hazardous materials. Thus, after explaining her terminology and outlining the general hazards an artist might face, "the most useful section of this book is on artist's raw materials," according to E. Lynn Moss in American Artist. Here, Moss noted, Rossol effectively uses charts to provide both a comprehensive listing of the various solvents, pigments, dyes, and other materials, their potential hazards, and their less-toxic alternatives in a clear manner that is easy to use. Karl G. Ruling, writing in TCI: The Business of Entertainment Technology and Design, singled out Rossol's balanced approach to her subject for special praise. "Rossol is refreshing in her balanced and candid discussion of the hazards involved in making art," Ruling remarked, citing the author's discussion of batik as a noteworthy example of her approach. Here the author discusses the hazards from fire, the chemicals in the dyes, and the possibility of toxic gases emitting from the hot wax, then she discusses ways to avoid using the offending substance, offering less toxic alternatives, and submitting rules to follow in order to avoid accidentally causing a fire. Ruling also advised librarians who already own the first edition to spend the money on the new edition: "What might have been considered safe a few years ago may not be considered so now, and there may be better alternatives. $19.95 is a modest investment to keep up-to-date."
Rossol is also the coauthor of a similar book, Danger! Artist at Work: A Guide to Occupational Hazards and Precautions for Arts Workers and Teachers, written with Ben Bartlett especially for Australia. Like Rossol's volume covering the United States and Canada, the volume for the Australian arts was praised for its comprehensive coverage of all the arts, from drawing and painting to the performing arts. "However, one disadvantage of the guide is that there appears to be a general scarcity of information about first aid procedures," complained Jacquie Woodbury in Australian Academic & Research Libraries. For this critic, the inclusion of first aid tips right alongside information on hazardous materials and techniques would make "a comprehensive and useful manual" just that much better.
Rossol once told CA: "I was born into a theatrical family, worked as a professional entertainer from age three to seventeen, and left my family to enroll in the University of Wisconsin. I earned a degree in chemistry and got work as a project assistant and research chemist. The money I earned was used to put myself through graduate school, where I earned an M.S. in ceramics and sculpture and an M.F.A. in ceramics and glassblowing, with a minor in music.
"In school I realized that the same acids, solvents, metals, and other chemicals were being used in both the chemistry and art departments. In the art department, however, there were no eye wash fountains, gloves, fume hoods, or other safety equipment. I began to write papers and give graduate seminars on the hazards of art. Both teachers and students walked out of my seminars, and they wouldn't read my papers; they claimed the information 'interfered with' their creativity.
"Death and disease interfere with creativity, too, so I have persisted. Now there are laws (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Hazard Communication Standard) which require all employees who use toxic materials to attend formal health and safety training sessions. I specialize in these sessions, and much of what I write can be used as training materials. Some of the same people who walked out of my seminars in the sixties have had to sit through them in the nineties.
"My unusual background in the theater and entertainment industries, as an art and science teacher and as a professional artist and craftsperson, allows me to speak and write with understanding for these groups about the hazards of their work, the precautions they must take, and the governmental regulations with which they must comply."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Artist, December, 1998, E. Lynne Moss, review of The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 80.
American Reference Books Annual, 1996, review of The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 431.
Australian Academic & Research Libraries, March, 1997, Jacquie Woodbury, review of Danger! Artists at Work, p. 77.
Bookwatch, July, 1994, review of The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 2; August, 1994, review of The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 2; April, 2001, review of The Health and Safety Guide for Film, TV and Theater, p. 7.
Ceramics Monthly, February, 1995, review of TheArtist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 28.
Choice, May, 1995, review of The Artist's CompleteHealth and Safety Guide, p. 1483.
Library Journal, September 15, 1994, review of TheArtist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 66; March 15, 2002, Daniel Lombardo, review of The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 79.
School Arts, February, 1993, review of The Artist'sComplete Health and Safety Guide, p. 65.
TCI: The Business of Entertainment Technology andDesign, March, 1995, Karl G. Ruling, review of The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, p. 59.
Allworth Press,http:/www.allworth.com/ (June 14, 2002), "Monona Rossol."*