Sssssssizzle. If you work with hot glass and a torch long enough, you’re probably going to get burned at some point. Being a lampwork artist isn’t all fun and games, there are plenty of hazards that go with it. I’ve had small burns before, picking up the wrong end of a hot rod or stringer of glass, bumping my arm against the hot torch head, grabbing a mandrel out of the kiln and grabbing too close, the list goes on.
But this one has been the worst so far and I’m lucky it wasn’t more damaging. I had just finished making a rhinestone cowboy and was running him through the flame one more time, to make sure he had plenty of heat built up before sticking him into the kiln.
I really don’t know how it happened except that I stood up and the end of my mandrel caught on something and yanked it out of my grasp. He just bounced around and hit against my arm. Ever seen those people who juggle a stick between another pair of sticks? That’s about what it looked like as it danced and bounced and landed against my forearm. I even heard it sizzle.
But I’ll stop with that before some of you with weaker stomachs get nauseated.
After running cold water over it for 10 minutes and applying a cool wet cloth for another 20, the pain wasn’t going away. What worked for me was Tylenol and Neosporin antibiotic cream. It seemed to take forever to heal and I still have a pink scar.
I didn’t write this to whine about my burn. Really. What struck me was how the burn itself looked like a piece of art. Do you see it? It looks like a striped Angel fish or maybe a Piranha.
Or if I looked from another angle I saw a sailboat, even a bearded German guy in his little traditional hat with feather. Do the Swiss wear those too? YodaLAY-HEE-HOOooooo.
Kinda looks like the Vernor’s Ginger Ale guy doesn’t it?
So there’s my red badge of courage and a glimpse into the not-so-fun part of lampwork. See what we go through for art’s sake?
Tracy Jerrell Akhtar blogs from her home studio in Southern Michigan. To see her webpage and more of her creations, click on TracyBeads