Friday, 24 February 2012

My Poor Thumb!

Working with glass is very hard on my hands because the processes involve handling, cutting, grinding and washing glass, not to mention the exposure to harsh chemicals and sharp objects.

Last Sunday was particularly bad for my thumb which I managed to cut, embed a small piece of glass, burn on the iron and super glue to my forefinger! I suppose these would be classed as industrial injuries but, for me, this is just part of being a glass artist.  There are plenty of hazards with glass and it is wise to have a healthy respect for the materials. Acid etch paste is particularly toxic and powdered kiln wash should not be inhaled. Then there's the possibility of ground glass being  ingested and sheet glass severing arteries (!) but these are the worse case scenarios. 

Although there is only one person with access to my studio (me) I still keep a stock of plasters and some eye wash to hand. I always make it a policy to wear work boots, never bare feet, slippers or open toe sandals and only handle large sheets of glass wearing cotton gloves. But, even though I rigorously brush my work mat down after cutting glass, there are still occasional small shards that stick to my palms. The annoying thing about cutting myself is that I have to stop what I'm doing to dress the cut and clean up the blood but at least I can't damage my work.

I'll always remember what my quilting friends would say when I pricked my finger with a needle - "don't get blood on the quilt"! Very sympathetic....


  1. Ouch Jo!
    I guess it's the price we pay. My nails are always looking like I just clawed my way out of the coffin
    Don't tell my mum...


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