Over a painful three week period we were introduced to sugar work. I’m not going to pretend I enjoyed it (or was good at it for that matter); for our virgin hands it was a rather unpleasant experience which left us with blisters all over (and one partial second degree burn but more on that later).
On week one we worked with regular sugar, melted down with glucose and coloured. It is poured straight from the pan onto a silicone mat and left to cool slightly so that it thickens sufficiently to start working with a palette knife (see video below from 1:05 onwards). Each of us also had a heat lamp to prevent the sugar from cooling down too much.
Once gathered into a manageable mass, the sugar then has to be pulled and stretched so that it “satinises” ie. becomes light and shiny. And from that stage it can then be moulded and shaped into the most beautiful sculptures (you can Google “Notter pulled sugar” to see what I mean).
Of course, this being our first time doing anything with pulled sugar, I was aspiring towards anything vaguely resembling the rose we were meant to be creating. As the class got underway the kitchen was full of sugar which was either too liquid or too solid, broken petals, rubber gloves with holes and blisters forming in between fingers and on fingertips.
We all struggled through the moulding of the rose bud and the petals…. and that was when I accidentally brushed the side of the heat lamp with my palm. Big. Mistake. I whipped off my glove and immediately ran my hand under cold water and it didn’t seem to be too bad, but once the cool water was no longer running there was the most searing pain and an angry red, shiny blotch beginning to form.
Despite the pain I just had to squeeze my burned hand back into the rubber glove and continue, or risk being left behind. And so luckily I can blame my burnt hand on the slightly squished, melted quality of my sugar rose.
My hand needed a trip to First Aid after class where it was gelled up and bandaged and then I lived one handed for a while and watched as my burn went through all the disgusting stages of healing.
Sorry if that was too much information, but I found it fascinating! :p It took about two weeks from the first photo to the last and whilst now there’s no mark there at all, the area is still more sensitive to the touch than the rest of my palm. Moral of the story: keep your hands well away from the heat lamps…