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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Have I Ever Set Myself on Fire?

It is a popular question. It is asked almost every time I have a live [is there any other kind?] demonstration. The first time I used a torch for welding metal was a few years ago at one of my favorite art galleries (SICA- Shore Institute of Contemporary Art). Indeed, I did set myself on fire. Hot, molten metal fell to the ground and my co-conspirators were whooping, pointing and literally jumping up and down. I thought, "Awe, they like what I'm doing". LOL. Then my leg and foot were starting to feel rather HOT. The bottom of my jeans were on fire! I jumped up and down and put it out. I melted a hole in the bottom of my boot. Very exciting. We all asked for a lesson in using the fire extinguisher after that.

As far as using my glass / flameworking torch- I've burned myself many times. If a glass rod is not annealed well (this happens before I receive it) or if I heat the glass too quickly, thermal shock* will cause a mini explosion of glass. Sending small pieces flying through the air. Sometimes landing on my arms, hands, face, neck....you get the picture. I have ruined many shirts. My arms look very freckly. Those aren't freckles! You get used to it. If you play with glass and fire, it's bound to happen at some point, no matter how careful you are. As you can imagine, I've taken special measures to fireproof my
studio.

*thermal shock: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_shock

I welcome questions or comments.

2 comments:

Jane Wilsjane said...

A friend of ours used to demonstrate making glass animals at a local market. She was on a high stool and on a few occasions ended up with pieces of red hot glass on her lap which wrecked a few pairs of her Levi's. She came up with the idea of wearing leather jeans which withstood the heat better and due to the smooth surface, most of the time the molten glass just rolled of onto the ground. Needless to say, the number of guys watching her at work increased about ten fold.

YoYo said...

Hi Jane! Oy, somehow I missed your comment. Hahahaha, more men watching -love your story! I finally bought myself a suede apron. I'm always standing, so the burns for me were primarily face, neck, arms and chest. For some weird reason, I can't sit while I flamework. Maybe it's because I have short arms? LOL