When I was first learning about lampworking and what it entailed, I knew that it wasn’t the safest hobby you could have. There are high pressure combustibles and fire involved, as well as fumes and electrical equipment. I’ve read message board horror stories about nasty burns on various parts of the body, impaling fingers on stringers (thin pieces of glass uses for decorating beads), but that kind of stuff happens to others and I was born with a horseshoe up my butt.
I’ve been doing this for about 14 months now. In that time, I’ve accumulated about five and a half new scars. I can only say two good things for myself; 1. None of them have been the result of direct skin-to-flame contact, and 2. There aren’t about 500 more of them. All my burns have been because hot glass has cracked off the end of the rod from temperature shock with the resulting shrapnel landing on some exposed part of my body. One and a half of the scars were caused where the same piece of glass hit my chest then rolled down to a part of my body that I definitely do not expose on a regular basis. Um, yeah. Not my best moment.
There was also an incident involving a reluctant flint striker, propane build-up, user error, a big-ass fireball and a torch-tip-turned-high-velocity-projectile, but we don’t speak of that anymore. Other than some serious butt-pucker cramps, I escaped injury. My point is that I’m respectful of the flame and the torch and I’ve been careful. That didn’t save me from the random electrocutions (plural!) that I suffered last week when my three month old kiln’s shipping damage reared its ugly head and zapped me. Twice!!
Hmmm. Psychological terror, electrocution and burnt private parts… If the lampworking thing doesn’t work out, I can always rent out my studio as a torture chamber. If you’re interested, let me know. Leave a message, though, because I’ll be checking the position of my horseshoe.