Those Who Play With Fire…

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.

wmc070902a1.jpgBut 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.

wmc070902a3.jpg wmc070902a4.jpg

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


8 Responses to “Those Who Play With Fire…”

  1. kabsconcepts Says:

    LOL… Sorry to laugh, but you have to right? I tend to be impatient about slowly heating rods. Opting for letting them shock and hoping they don’t burn me. 99% of the time I am fine. Until it is 98degrees out and I torched in my bathing suit!! LOL!! One big shock and I had a burn on my boob. LOL. Actually, a couple of them. None as bad (or artistic) as yours though.

    Hope you heal well. Hey, did you know they make a Neosporin “Pain Relief”?


  2. Angie Garren Says:

    Ouch, that smarts! Glad you’re okay now, Tracy, and glad you can see the humor in the bad things after they’ve passed.

  3. lori g. Says:

    Looks like a kanji for an Angelina bead if you ask me. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Ellen Says:

    I’m definitely seeing a sailboat and the “Vernor’s” description cracked me up. Got some in the fridge right now.

  5. tracybeads Says:

    Thank you ladies.(I didn’t even think of a kanji symbol). KERRY! You torched in your bathing suit? Better than your birthday suit, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Owie.

  6. Stef Says:

    I’ve been following your blog & I love your glass creations!

    I’m sorry to hear that you were burned, but I love the creativity that has come from this!

    Years ago, I burned myself with a hot pan handle – a large horseshoe-shaped burn on the underside of my forearm. My husband & I imagined a small “firehorse” kick – the shoe branding me with its mark. It’s now faded away and I have to say that I actually miss this scar because it reminds me of a time when I spent much of my time in the kitchen learning to bake…mmm…

  7. rose h. Says:

    OK. Everybody raise their hands who had to look over all of their burn scars to see pictures too.

  8. Marcia Says:

    I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I enjoyed looking at your site/blog. I am a new (as in not yet even started) lampwork artist and I’ve learned so much cruising around the forums and similar sites. Found yours on Lampwork Etc.

    I think your work is beautiful. In particular the last geisha. She’s perfect!

    You have a great writing style and it’s easy and enjoyable to read. The photos are great for visualization, and you seem to have a good sense of humor. Enjoyed it!

    Hoping your burn heals nicely and that it will be your last for a long while.

    ShaZazz Creations of Glass (someday soon)

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