Image Credit: The Glass Florist

 At VODEX, we’re passionate about supporting businesses in all industries. From dentistry to electronics and from artefact restoration to the automotive sector, we pride ourselves on being able to find effective and innovative solutions. Recently, we’re delighted to have been working with Andy and Donna at The Glass Florist.

In her unique studio, tucked away in the English countryside, Donna practices the ancient art of lampworking to create intricate floral designs from glass. The result is a captivating collection of delicate flowers, each piece a vibrant tribute to the beauty of the natural world.

What is Lampworking?

Also known as flameworking or torchworking, lampworking is a fascinating art form that’s been practised for generations. This technique involves using a torch or lamp to melt glass, which is then shaped into various forms while it’s in a molten state.

The historical roots of lampworking stretch back into ancient times, but it truly blossomed in the mid-19th century. Across Victorian Britain and beyond, lampworked paperweights, beads and other decorative items rose to the height of fashion.

Old fashioned lampworking illustration

Image Credit: Corning Museum of Glass

The Need for Fume Extraction and Lampworking

While lampworking offers boundless potential for creativity and artistic expression, it also carries certain risks. The process involves the heating of materials that can potentially release harmful fumes, including Arsenic and formaldehyde. These substances are hazardous to health and can cause a range of issues.


Formaldehyde, a colourless gas with a strong smell, is notorious for causing discomfort even at low levels. Symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation are common complaints. More intense exposure can lead to skin irritations, wheezing, coughing, and even nausea. Headaches and allergic reactions may also occur.

Prolonged or high-level exposure to formaldehyde has been associated with an increase in certain types of cancer. Studies suggest a link between formaldehyde exposure and stomach and intestinal tumours, as well as a rare form of cancer that affects the nasopharynx.


Most people are well aware that Arsenic holds toxic properties. When heated or in contact with acid, it emits fumes, including arsine gas, which can have acute toxic effects. Long-term exposure can lead to cancer, skin lesions, cardiovascular issues, and altered myocardial depolarisation.

High levels of arsenic inhalation can cause a sore throat and irritated lungs. Chronic exposure can also result in weakness, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle cramps, and even death.

No one should have to compromise their health for their livelihood. That’s why Donna, in her commitment to both the art and safety of lampworking, reached out to VODEX to ensure a safe working environment.

How VODEX Helped

Assessing the Issue

From the outset of our partnership with The Glass Florist, Andy and Donna were aware of the risks of arsenic fumes that come from the lampworking process. Our experts at VODEX immediately embarked on a meticulous process of understanding the unique needs of the situation.

All of our work is guided by and in line with our in-depth understanding of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidelines, ensuring that our clients’ safety and health are held in paramount importance.

Collaboration and Discussion

VODEX’s team guided Andy and Donna through each step of the process, providing detailed explanations of the risks associated with arsenic fumes and discussing the importance of proper extraction. This collaboration resulted in the selection of a specialised system to filter and eliminate the hazardous arsenic fumes.

In-Depth Testing

VODEX’s partnership with The Glass Florist didn’t end there, though. In conjunction with a third-party testing company, VODEX conducted a rigorous assessment to ensure the efficacy of the new system. During these tests, another potential hazard was identified as formaldehyde was also present in the process.

Overcoming the Challenge

Leveraging their experience and technical expertise, our VODEX staff were able to quickly develop a bespoke filter capable of eliminating both arsenic and formaldehyde risks.

What Was the Experience Like?

“We had an unusual fume extraction issue in that my wife is a glass worker who was suffering from arsenic poisoning. Our contact at VODEX, Andy Cotton, couldn’t have been more helpful in trying to find us a solution. The product itself is well-made and easy to use, maintain and install. VODEX will now be our go-to supplier for anything fume extraction related.” – Andy Collinson, The Glass Florist

We’re delighted to see VODEX extraction systems in use at the Glass Florist, providing a safe and healthy environment. You can see our product in action on the Glass Florist’s TikTok, as well as updates and other information from Donna and Andy’s studio.

Extraction Solutions for Artisans

If, like The Glass Florist, you’re looking for extraction solutions for your artisan business, then the VXJ-1 and VXJ-2 are a great place to start.

VODEX Jewellery Extraction Systems

Above: VODEX VXJ-1

The VXJ-1 is compact, standalone and multipurpose and is an ideal fume and light dust extractor for low-volume applications. Filtration is provided via a pre-filter, HEPA filter and a special blended acid carbon gas filter that enables filtration of organic VOCs from a wide range of fumes and vapours.

The VXJ-2 contains the same comprehensive range of features but with the capacity for two arms instead of one, doubling the potential workload.

Alternatively, why not view our other artisan solutions for jewellery manufacturing and arts and crafts? All of our products benefit from excellent reliability, efficiency, and ergonomic, easy-to-use designs.

Looking for an Extraction Partner Who Goes the Extra Mile?

When you work with VODEX, you’re taking part in more than just a transaction. Each of our projects is marked by collaboration, innovation and a commitment to safety and efficiency.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help keep you and your employees safe and healthy.

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