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Forums > Technical Discussion > Aha! Question on Close Promimity Fire

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I knew I was forgetting something. I have been meaning to post this for awhile and forgot until now.I was recently having a phone conversation with a friend who is a professional fire performer. We were discussing eating and trailing and close proximity fire techniques when my friend mentioned that he uses a barrier cream. Imagine my surprise! They way I was taught to do fire and to regard other performers was that if you use something other than clothes between your flesh and the fire then you are less than professional, though I hold this friend in the absolute highest regards professionally, even still. He says that he feels the barrier creams he uses will help to elongate his health and well being, that they aren't necessarily to stay off burns but more fuel absorbtion. He does not use anything inside his mouth but does apply a cream around the outside of his mouth. Where ever he trails on his body he also applies a waxy cream.He was then equally amazed that I don't use anything on my skin except some lotion, and that is more so that I don't get dry skin. After which point he implored me to try to use one, thinking of my safety.I have never really had a problem and I have seen some accounts where people were actually burned worse from barrier creams than if they didn't have one. The conversation I had with him changed my view completely on those who opt to use this as a form of safe measure, as health really is an important issue in what we do, but I still tend to think it is not for me.What do you all think about use of barrier creams? Have you ever tried it or do you use it and to what effect? Do you feel it is more or less professional appearing?The whole conversation really got me curious, though not enough to try it. I figure I haven't been burned yet (knock on wood) so why change a system that hasn't failed me yet. That and I know me...if the barrier cream gives me the comfort of thinking I won't get burned then I may lose a bit of caution and really make a mess of things so I would rather stay on my toes.So.....What do you think? ------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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TheBovrilMonkey
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

TheBovrilMonkey

Liquid Cow
Location: High Wycombe, England

Total posts: 2629
Posted:I dont know much about barrier creams and stuff like that, but I can see how it could get dangerous if you used them so often you started taking them for granted.If for any reason you can't put some on, you could end up with a serious burn------------------King of all things Walrus

But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

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Gruff


member
Location: Gloucester

Total posts: 106
Posted:Pele,I used to perform with a group in the uk doing fire stuff and other silly stunts for them.We were made to sign a disclaimer so their backs were covered but also all fire/danger performers signed a contract saying we had to undergo safety training which generally focussed on fire. Part of this was that we had to wear barrier cream - no cream, no performance!!!We saught advice on this and not only does it protect from fuel absorption but helps minimise burn factor based on that if you were on fire then this would help in those precious few seconds untill someone got to you. Even though Im not with this group anymore I still try to protect myself as much as possible and pass on this advice to any other fire performers. I beleive that safe practice with fire is essential and it it looks really professional if you insist on certain precautions when performing - If you are safe and appear to be so then you are far likely to get another few bookings just because of the pure profesionalism you appear to be exerting. Many of my regular bookings now know just how I like to do it and can even set everything up for me - all I have to do is go round and check them before the show and everything is hunkydory!!!Insist on nothing but the best and you WILL be rewarded.Keep up the good work,Gruff
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melissa
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

member
Location: madagascar, USA

Total posts: 156
Posted:so does anyone have any more info on the cream debate? on the subject of fire transfer my ears instantly perked up, i am in the trial and error process of figuring out how to do it. as far as creams go i haven't begun to explore that possibility yet first hand, but i have heard about two products that might work. i don't know for certain how successful they are though. the first is silicon glove lotion by avon, (i think i saw something about it in an old post here) i guess it's suppost to work kind of like a silicon glove protecting your hands from gunk being absorbed like oil or nasty chems. the second product that i heard of is lubricant (the type for sex not cars) sound kind of odd (i heard this from one of the fire troupe performers in seattle) but i guess that might work because it is a waterbased jelly. has anyone experiement with either of these two products? does anyone have any other lotion names that you would recommend?

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Yes please...lots more information from the people who do use these things.My fiance worries (then again, i would worry if she was doing this stuff too) and anything that is good for me and can set her more at ease will be very welcome.technical info on the techniques please?!?!------------------Charles (INFERNO)newdolbel@hotmail.comhttp://juggling.co.nz

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Melissa...lotion isn't a barrier at all really. All it does is make topical dirt easier to wash off, like soot and maybe helps clog your pores so that your skin doen't absorb as much fuel as fast. Silicone Glove by Avon is perfect for this. But that is all it does.Leather Wax (like for seats) is what I have heard works well. The wax melts over your skin thus, biding you time until your safety can get there. I have heard of people using Vaseline and Zinc Oxide but I wouldn't. Zinc is flamable. Vaseline is a petroleum product which has flambe written all over it. I trail without a barrier cream and have had no issues. Take it slow and be very aware and focussed.Firemen have a heat resistant gel/cream that they put on their faces. Anyone know what that is?Before using anything I suggest a read over the label with a magnifying glass. There are so many chemicals that are combustible I am weary of putting any on my flesh.I am finding this absolutely intriguing.Gruff, I have never heard of a group mandating that you use cream, more like they ask that you don't. I understand working on the side of caution though. Very nice.Along these lines, does anyone know what the fire retardent spray for clothing is and does anyone use it? I suppose it should be mentioned as it is a barrier as well.------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Remember that barrier creams can prevent unwanted pregnancies but do nothing to prevent the spread of STDs. Or am I thinking of something else?
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Where is barrier cream sold? Or is it just a homemade mix of nonflammable creams? Can anyone buy it? Is there a website? How effective is it? How much is it? Is it tested by any "real" organizations?


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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melissa
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

member
Location: madagascar, USA

Total posts: 156
Posted:as far as fire retardant spray i know a little more about it than the fire lotion gunk. you can purchase fire proof spray from theature supply companies. make sure though that you don't buy the fire proof spray for x-mas trees. that stuff is supposted to be a major skin irritant. usually the theature spray stuff is just fine for clothing, i know that it comes in gallon size containers that you dilute for about 30 bucks. i have found that i don't really need the spray stuff because my costume is pretty much flame proof to begin with (it is covered in metal scales) but i know that it can be a great addition to a regular fabric costume. i have never tried to do flame transfer on my costume but i have seen videos of other folks who do with fire resistant fabric spray. i got this info from my friends mom who used to do the costumes for the cirque du flambe. i know that the key thing to remember is that it makes the fabric fire resistant, but not fire proof. on a slightly back track note the lube that i made reference to was the kind to make things slippery (like for anal sex) not the pregnancy preventative type. its kind of odd to think about as a fire skin barrier but who knows, it might work because it is water based. has anyone tried this? at least one good thing about it is that we know its been tested by millions (minus the flaming object to skin part) on rather sensitive absorbant parts of the body with no side effects. if you can get over the fact that it is sex lube and look at the ingredients i know that it can also be used to make super low budget body glitter by simply combining it with fine confetti (the two products have vertually identical ingredents but a vast difference in price.)ok i know that thats a bit weird but i thought it might be worth mentioning.

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Pixie


member
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

Total posts: 8
Posted:Barrier cream is like sorbolene, they may be the same thing, or they're just really similar. You should be able to pick it up (or something like it) from your local chemist or supermarket. It's often used under theatre make-up to make it easier to remove. It puts a neat barrier between the skin and the make-up, is a bit of a moisturiser, but I'm not sure of how it helps with fire. Given that it soaks into your skin to form the barrier it shouldnt' catch alight too easily so it might be useful. It at least protects lips when fire-breathing, and it stops the kero rash.

FTA- Fire Twirlers AnnonymousIt's not just an act, it's an addiction

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Last I knew though Sorbolene was not water based fully, which is why it helps make up come off easier and it is flamable.I use chapstick on my lips for fire breathing, but not if I am going to be eating, though it doesn't matter really since I end up wiping my mouth anyway.
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Down, NYC, down boy!
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Barrier cream is not a brand, it is a title given to anything that can be used to prevent your skin from burning, at least for a little bit. It also helps to keep fuel from fully absorbing into your flesh.I know someone who swears by saddle polish wax, no I am not kidding. Makes you wonder doesn't it? ------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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melissa
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

member
Location: madagascar, USA

Total posts: 156
Posted:would a hand salve like burts beeswax work? its a combo of olive oil and wax, its like lib balm but more of it.

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GaBBeRave19


member
Location: Alexander, Iowa

Total posts: 72
Posted:i see creams as being unprofessional. i would sooner roast alive then consider using them. if i tangle a fire wrap i want the scar to remind me to practice harder. then again i used to see how many safety pins i could fit in my arm for entertainment ...hmmm...oh well live fast die young

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:That's a good idea melissa...I bet it might.I've never heard of it though, but as long as the ingredients are so straightforward as that then I can't see why it wouldn't. The oil would act as the lotion and the wax would slow the burn. Now....who's volunteering to be the guinea pig to try it?
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And GR...the quote actually ends...."Live hard, die young and leave a good looking corpse." (it's a favorite of mine). I am thinking that burns all over prolly would kill that last part!
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I used to have the same opinion as you...though not to that extreme obviously.I still prolly won't use it except on my lips...maybe the ends of my hair...but for those who want to use it, it is a great idea to have the information here.Now that I am thinking about it though. I bet I could get my trails to last longer witha barrier cream by a few seconds. Hmmmmm...fod for thought. So who's ganna test that beeswax stuff?I wonder if I could make some! Ganna go rummage through my stuff now!
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I dunno. I dont' think I'll try anything that is not specially made for the purpose. I'd hate to fry an arm because someone told me to try butter.

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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melissa
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

member
Location: madagascar, USA

Total posts: 156
Posted:before experimenting on the human body with various unknown substances it might be good to try it on something other than your body right off the bat. do you think it would work to try transfer + barrier cream combos on a light colored piece of leather(rather than dark so it is easier to see burns and levels of absorption) or purhaps on hog gut (the stuff you use to make home made sausages or weird art sculptures)? it might work to wrap the material around a board or your arm, or stretch it out over a frame, and then apply various possible barrier creams in strips, (including a stip with nothing on it.) it would probally be good to have a stop watch to record time, and to time a regular fire transfer on your own arm and compare the time results to a basic tranfer on your test medium. if the time is vastly different then it would be good to factor that into the final results. after this purhaps go and do a burn test on the potential barrier cream strips to measure: 1)see if it makes the trails last longer 2) see if it potentially causes a worse burn from funky chemical reation 3)try to figure out if it blocks fuel absorption into the skin. hmmm... if i can find a leather place within biking distance then i'll give it a try and report back. is anyone else intersted in trying this experiment? i guess that with any experiment like this it is good to do the test a number of times to determine if there are consistant results or if it was a random fluke of chance. any suggestions as to weither or not you think this may work as an indicator of barrier cream effectiveness? im really excited to explore transfering more. pretty much this is me just pondering ideas but any suggestions/critiques/comments would be cool.

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smilee


member
Location: San Diego,CA,USA

Total posts: 40
Posted:I haven't actually started eating fire yet, but was thinking (or have become determined) to add it into my show. I was checking out "Meistro The Master's" web site ( I guess he has been doing it to make a living for thirty years or something, and really seems to know what he is talking about). Form what I gather, alot of "barier" creams actually create a bigger risk. This being that many of them are flamable, so you might as well pour fule on yourself and light up. Also if they are not flamable they can still trap heat next to your skin, thus causing a worse burn. He also says that professional fire eaters will shunn you saying that it is cheating and not true fire eating. (But who really cares about what other people think - safety should come first) I think Melissa's idea about conducting experiments is a really good idea, and should be done before anybody tries anything that can potentially cause more harm than good. Also check out "The Master's" website, I think you can find it by doing a saerch useing the words fire performing or something to that effect. I don't know if you guys will have the same problem, but getting to the Fax page is kind of tricky, you hit fax and it shows it to you, them a "this webpage does not exist" screen pops up. I have to hit "stop" as soon as I see the fax page to be able to read it. I think he does this to keep stupid people from getting a hold of information that they will hurt themselves with (you have to want to read the page enogh to play tag with it) but it seems to have everything you need to know to become a fire eater and the some. He covers fire safty pretty well.

later - Smilee

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Burnt


member
Location: Sydney

Total posts: 13
Posted:Just one question, are the barrier creams used to prevent burning or to prevent your skin absorbing the highly carsenogenic fuels?------------------Play with fire and you might get Burnt.

Play with fire and you might get Burnt.

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Smilee...it's actually Mephisto's site, the person who designed the site calls him Maestro. He has alot of good introductory information but please don't use him as the end all beat all bible. There is much knowledge to be had but much is left out there too. He has been doing this 35 years at Renaissance Faires and nightclubs. He also does slight magic and that is how he makes his living. Several Ren performers do.Anyway, if you read through he has bruned himself a few times, including a several month stay in a hospital. Much of what is written is not by him either. Please read that site carefully. It is a wonderful source of information to start with. There are also several threads on Fire Eating if you use the search. There is tonnes of info to be had!Melissa, I love the idea and sign me up to try it, as soon as I find some of these things.Burnt (I hope the name isn't from experience:eek
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technically a barrier cream is for both purposes. But most look at it from the burn perspective most.Cheerios and thanks to all!------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Posted:Hi guys and hi Pele. I think it may have been me who sparked this debate in the first place while chatting with Pele not long ago.She was surprised to find out that i used barrier creams as part of my trailing and manipulation show. I first want to say that i can do it with or without creams, doesn't matter. I'm a big boy and wouldn't be doing this if i wasn't prepared to except the risks and the pain. But as a professional performer who makes a living out of this and performes it at least once a week, i need to insure that i minimize both exposure and damage to my body so i can continue to do this for a long time to come. I'm shore nobody wants to look at a scarred, sickly looking man light himself up for fun. No way.For the record, i use a number of different products for different applications. Silicon based, wax based and even zinc cream. The sheer number of times i have done this has told me whether or not i'm doing something right or wrong, for me. Trailing is not for the faint hearted and safety should always be the number 1 concern. Pele is hardcore and dont you just love her for it. If she choses not to use creams because it works for her, shes doing the right thing. But it really comes down to the individual. As for professionals who think cream users are less than pro, they can go and suck the sweat off my cats hairy nuts. We'll get together when we're 50 odd and compare whos bod looks the tastiest. I plan on keeping mine in one tasty piece. Each to his own along as you keep safe.Nice to be back after an extended absence from the board and nice question Pele.C'ya, Chris @ FireWorks (www.fireworksdance.com.au)

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