Blog no. 16 / SILLY GLASS DANGERS / by steve joseph

...and other dangers being a glass artist.

Living and working as a glass artist brings about dangers I had no idea I would ever face. Having loads of friends also working in glass, I see numerous Facebook postings. No missing fingers or deaths yet, more on the lines of cuts and burns. After my blog posts about my brain tumor (blog 13 & 14), I figured I would stay on the bodily invaders top and talk about what life is like as an artist dealing with a medium that even the littlest child knows can hurt you: glass. 

Part of the process of working with glass is grinding the edges of the glass, so they fit together perfectly, like a big jigsaw puzzle. Most stained glass artist use a water lubricated grinder, I opt for flat nose pliers. Mainly because it is a real time saver. One should always wear eye protection with both methods. The flat nose method takes strong hands, and as you can imagine, scatters tiny glass bits everywhere.

Inevitably at the end of the day, when changing out of clothes, these bits of glass tangled in the hairs on my arms, in my sneakers, and in my jeans pockets. Often I am walking on the street and feel shards inching their way down into my socks. This could be hours after I have finished working, or even the next day. All of the sudden there is a jolt of pain at the bottom of my foot and I have to immediately remove my shoes and remove it—even with street crowds around me or wet or ice below me.

Worst than a shard in my jeans or the bottom of my feet, is what I discovered yesterday that freaked me out bits in my pubic hair! Imagine the injuries that can lead to, and the embarrassing hospital visit afterwards!

It took a while, but that was the final straw. Unacceptable.

Other than giving up glass completely, a simple solution to this situation came into my life about 5 months ago. 

I met so many great people during a month long artist in residence program at the Torpedo Factory, including one beautiful and mysterious woman. She first visited and started up a very friendly conversation, then left, then returned a few minutes after with a t-shirt as a gift. I thought then that people in D.C. are friendly, this would never happen in New York. A week later she stopped in with another gift, a work apron. Now I thought people are super friendly. I placed this in my luggage and forgot about it, until the pubic hair incident.

joseph cavalieri.jpg

I immediately started to use this in my studio, and it works wonders for keeping the glass shards out of my private places. Or my public places. I also love the idea of wearing a work specific uniform, it puts me in the right frame of mind, and feels nice to take it off at the end of the day, hang it up, and feel good that I’m not endangering myself, or any of my special friends. Safer sex, indeed!


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See my latest work, and my teaching schedule including 10 workshops in the USA and Europe for 2015.