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master of disaster
Location: New York
Member Since: 8th Mar 2004
Total posts: 3354
Ok, so I did a Durbs, and have found nothing satisfactory.
I know there are tid-bits out there, but I am seeking to make a thread for easy searching/ reference on Wire Wool

(inspired by reading the Fire Breathing glamourization thread)

I'm fairly certain that many people aren't completely aware of the dangers of spinning steel wool, especially those new to HoP. Like Fire Breathing, spinning steel wool is extremely dangerous, particurlarly for the careless. For those that choose to spin fire, most know to have a SAFETY, fire extinguisher, blanket, first aid equipment, covered fuel cans, etc. But basic fire safety will only take you so far.

As part of a performing troupe at my uni, I spin quite a bit. Sometimes when we feel the conditions are right, and the mood warrants it, we will spin steel wool. This is undertaken in a parking lot with no cars around. Even still, accidents can occur.

One time, during a filming shoot in the late winter/early spring, a member was spinning wool and some embers that flew off happened to land in the dry leaves/brambles next to the lot. Had someone not noticed that there was light where it should be dark, it was quite possible that there could have been uncontrollable flames.

Full clothing cover is so extraordinarily important I cannot begin to stress it. Most fire spinners know, or should know, that natural fibers are better to where while twirling. This extends even more so for steel wool, as you have embers that burn hotter flying all over the place, some that land places you don't expect, and leave singe marks. My advice...if you're going to do it, cover as much skin as possible...most importantly your hair.

The intensity of the light is another thing to watch out for. Having spun several wire wools myself, even with my eyes shut, and a beanie over my head extending down to my neck and over my eyes, the light was brilliant. Even taking pictures of it leaves the eyes dazzled.

If you're not the one spinning, and are the safety, be ready to douse anything right away, but be sure you're way out of the way of the sparks, because once they start going, they fly extremely far.

And there are of course people that think you can do it anywhere, even in a small courtyard surrounded by buildings, grass, trees and the audience.

I know that it is a spectacle that is amazing to see, but even so, I fear that there are too many people that will simply go and attempt it without stopping to think what they are doing.

Spin Safe hug

kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear
Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted:just a link to a thread by mintsauce thats specifically for wire wool and is in the "technical discussion" board


safety around burning metal is a goooooooooood thing wink

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley


master of disaster
Location: New York
Member Since: 8th Mar 2004
Total posts: 3354
Posted:so now the circle is complete biggrin

kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

Location: Ashton.u.lyne Manchester.
Member Since: 8th Sep 2007
Total posts: 10
Posted:Thanks to FnI, everyone else and Mint Sauce - Steel Wool link - for the info. I've linked this post to a myspacegroup (sorry if that's swearing!) for others to read and learn from as I've been asked about this and have no other information.
Cheers folks


Good Ol' Yarn For Hair
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Member Since: 24th Jan 2006
Total posts: 422
Posted: Written by: flid

out of interest, as this is a safety thread, does anyone actually have a 'safety' person(s)? having met well over 100 HoP people now it seems a bit like an urban legend to me

... I always have a safety. In fact, I haven't spun fire in over six months purely because I wasn't convinced my new safety could handle it (he's proven me quite wrong recently).

The fact of the matter is that, wire wool aside, fire is unpredictable, and people would be foolish to spin, breathe, or otherwise play with it without a safety. Seriously. There are probably tons of HoP members, myself and at least one of our moderators (Miss Pele's story A season in hell (A FIRE BREATHING accident) comes to mind) who can tell you that even with gobs of experience, a great safety, and well-checked/stocked gear, anything can go wrong.

offtopic Sorry. I know that was mighty off topic of me. I just have this thing about fire safety.

But, a good thread in discussion of the unusual and extraordinary safety procedures needed for wire wool spinning. hug

"So long and thanks for all the fish."


Object Manipulationist, Chain Maille Artisan, Didgeridoo Performer and Teacher
Location: On the Road, Gypsie Style
Member Since: 15th Jun 2007
Total posts: 37
Posted:I am very adament about having a spotter, or being a spotter if another is spinning. Its imperatave to have a code word, we use "HALT!" followed by where they are on fire (example- "Halt! Hair!" then the spinner knows what and where and acts accordingly as the spotter comes in and saves the day.
I have seen several people at sevral places who was the spotter or "safty" that saw the performers pants had ignited and the spoter yells "Your on fire!" which doesnt help, cause the spinner may not know where he is on fire. Ive never seen anyone get seriously hury, but am usually more nervous than not when spinning in the festival scene, and people are too smashed to think straight.
So in our tribe, there is at least 1 spotter, usually 2 to keep a very close eye on things and help police the circle.
I think people take fire safty WAY too loosley. But maybe because its so important to me, is why i am a professional, why i get paid for gigs, and why I usually get put in charge of fire safty workshops for official peroformers before spinning at fests.
As far as steel wool poi, ive never spun it, but plan to in the very near future. Id like to see how my chain maille poi heads hold up to sparkly poi. They are perfect cages and am excited to put em to the test. If chicken wire holds up, i have no doubts that my 14g stainless steel balls will perform excenlently.
Just to reittereate, when using sparkle steel wool poi, have at least 2 spotters and plesnty of room on all sides. Pay atention to wind and fire conditions, and make sure the spotters AND spectators know about what is about to happen.
Spin safley my friends!

I do not have a Soul, . . . I AM a Soul.
I Have a body.

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