Saturday, August 3, 2013

Glassblowing Shirt

I've kind of struggled with figuring out what to wear to the glassblowing studio/hot shop.  First, natural fibers are required, many manmade fibers have lower melting points and could melt to you and make burns far worse in the event of accident.  Second, it gets really hot in the hot shop, but I have definitely experienced that I prefer long sleeves that actually protect me from the heat. Sometimes when I wear short sleeves, I end up with a kind of burn rash on the inside of right forearm from where it was exposed to the heat, mostly while working jack lines. So, there's definitely a trade-off between sleeveless and long sleeves.

I have one particular long sleeve t-shirt that has become my go-to glassblowing shirt.  First, it's grey, which is a good compromise between the get-dirty-too-easily light colors and the attract-heat dark colors. Second, it's cotton, but it's a very thin cotton. So thin that it's one step away from translucent.  My thought is that it gives my arm a little protection while not making me too hot. Third, it has a nice deep scoop neck, to keep my neck from getting too hot. Fourth, it's old so if it gets really dirty or ruined, I won't mind too much. I usually wear it over a cotton tank top.

It looks like this:


Washing it every week and hunting for it every week before glassblowing class got me thinking about what my ideal glassblowing shirt would be. It's crazy, but it would probably be a one sleeved shirt. A long sleeve on the right would protect my forearm that's closer to the glass, but a sleeveless left side would keep me a little bit cooler.

That would be crazy! That would be ridiculous! Well, don't a lot of people wear specialized clothing for their sport or hobby that looks ridiculous to outsiders? You think bike shorts and cleats don't look ridiculous?  And... like I said, this is an old shirt so if I totally screw it up...

After thinking about it for a few weeks, and inspired by ReFashionista, I finally got out my scissors. Now my favorite glassblowing shirt looks like this:


Yes, they sell kevlar sleeves that you can wear on one arm. But why buy special equipment when something in your closet will do? 

 Hey, while I'm at it, maybe I should add a thumb hole like those kevlar sleeves I've seen:


Pay no attention to the pink undershirt here, which is not natural fiber so it is not appropriate for glassblowing. But here's the finished product:
Ta-Da! My glassblowing shirt! 

I wore it to glassblowing class and my teacher laughed. She said, "You know, you could buy a kevlar sleeve..."  To which I responded, "But now I've got more money to spend on glass color!" 

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