Sitting at my torch can sometimes be quite a lonely pastime, one of the things I enjoy the most about lampworking. The peace and quiet, the low hum of the oxygen concentrator pumping oxygen into the flame and the occasional 'click' of the kiln as it regulates itself on and off. However during my torching session last week a 'lurker' in the studio created a bit of a stir!
The lovely photo above is Toffee is one of our new hens. She came to us from Happy Landing Animal Shelter in Shepton Mallet two months ago, rescued along with three others and now living out the rest of their lives happily exploring the garden of our Somerset home. Toffee is the most adventurous of them all and enjoys exploring new territory.
On this particular day, Toffee came to see what I was up to in my little garden studio and, like previous visits contented herself with being nosy near the doorway. However, she must have felt particularly brave on that day as she decided to join me at my bench by hopping onto the oxygen concentrator and then proceeding to jump practically onto my lap! At this point I don't know who was more surprised out of the two of us but thoughts of Kentucky Fried Chicken came to mind as I visualised Toffee leaping into the 1000F torch flame in front of me so I knew I needed to act fast.
If anyone was watching at this point it must have been quite a comical sight, a women frantically trying to shush a chicken off the bench whilst attempting to keep a metal rod with hot glass up in the air so as not to burn either of them :) The more sensible (and non-creative) person would at this point have put the mandrel down and sent the bead to the great bead maker in the sky but heck, old habits die hard:)
Suffice to say, I managed to get Toffee down without any incident (much to her disgust) and quickly put my bead back in the flame only to hear the dreaded 'tink' sound of breaking glass which meant it didn't survive - unlike the chicken who was happily pecking away at the raspberries outside when I finally surfaced from my studio.
Another day, another drama.....
Oh, and here's a pic of the finished bead which probably has a crack in there somewhere:(