I write rather cavalierly about burning things but I don't do this really. I melt things. I do it with great caution because it is a dangerous and toxic way of making art. I am armed when I do it.
Tools need to be mastered . Safe environments need to be created.
The unpredictable end result is what the goal is. Erosion, destruction, malformation create the surfaces that are desirable for what I am trying to communicate. Life and challenge. Frailty. Survival. Extreme experience. But it is not a cigar but a picture of a cigar. To mangle a great quote.
I work in a very safe way. Ventilation through fans and fresh air. Masks that filter smoke and chemical fumes. Surfaces that don't whoosh up in smoke when they are used for melting with tools like pyrography tools, heat guns, chemicals and heat presses. I rarely use tools like candles or open flames because they are even more unpredictable than the controlled tools I use.
In truth fire terrifies me. I am a fanatic about working smoke alarms, clean fireplaces and wood stoves, nothing near the water heater and clean gas ranges. Candles are never left unattended
My younger brother was seriously burned by an unattended fire when he was five years old. He was in hospital for over a year and we weren't even sure he would live for at least four months. The other children in the family could only visit him through a window of the Alberta Children's Hospital during that time. He did survive, grew up married and had children. He has had a successful career in construction and ended up looking very much like Robert Redford. We were all very much marked by this small fire for the rest of our lives.
Please be safe if you are working with extreme textiles. Fire hurts people and destroys homes and lives. Do this beautiful surface technique but have respect for it.