“Well, we’ve got bandaids and a fire extinguisher…”

photo 1As I’ve mentioned several times, yesterday was my first torchworking demonstration, at Oglethorpe Fresh in Lexington.  I had a great time, although I was so drained by the end of the day, (we had family visiting, and then went to dinner and a concert that night) that I wasn’t able to write a blog post, either here or on Bynobleboldness.  That ended my 19 day streak of posting daily, so I’ll have to start the counter over…

It was a good day, particularly since we had no need for either Band-aids or fire extinguishers.  I was a bit worried about safety, primarily the possibility of a child grabbing something hot or sharp, or someone reaching too close to the torch flame.  I joined two 18″x24″ pieces of heavy Plexiglas together on the short side with a section of piano hinge, making a 2 sided shield, and then placed my torch and the shield at the left end of a table, leaving the right side open but protected to some extent by the right end of the table.

In the end I needn’t have worried, because we only had one or two young visitors, and most people kept a healthy distance from the flame.  It never was insanely busy, so I had plenty of time to talk with people, and since I talk to myself so much in the shop I was never at a loss for words.  Some people watched for only a few minutes, and others stayed for close to an hour.  I explained a bit about the process, the materials and the tools I was using, and then ran through that again as new people came in.  I made simple beads, pulled stringer and applied dots, and then demonstrated how to make two-color twisted cane with red and white.  I rushed the pull and it came out too thin to be a candy cane, so on the spur of the moment I made a snowman and used the twistie for his scarf.  After someone asked about colors I talked a bit about silver rich glass, and made another heart out of Boreas to demonstrate the amazing colors you can produce by changing the flame chemistry.  The favorite of the day seemed to be the simple sculptural bees and the fish I made, pictured below.

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Sadly I didn’t take my annealing kiln, just a crockpot full of vermiculite (to slow down the cooling of the hot beads).  This morning the snowman and heart cracked in half, and the fish is showing a slight crack, so he’ll probably split eventually.  I wasn’t intending to make anything for production, and everyone seemed to enjoy the show, so I think it was worth it.