"What IS This Stuff?"

I ask questions. It's just kind of the way I operate. Sometimes answers seem like, you know, answers, and sometimes they just seem like doorways to more questions. This where the real fun awaits, by the way ... 

I was following my train of thought this morning, using my chosen search engine to look for information on questions that occurred to me, beginning with: 

[1] What on earth IS "Fordite"?  

I can't even remember how this popped into my head, but believe me, my email inbox is a rich treasure trove of randomly generated distractions. I suppose that had something to do with it. 

Fordite may not have been on the top of your mind when you woke up this morning, but jewelry makers who use beads have heard of it, and some use it and enjoy it. Fordite is sold in the form of beads to jewelry makers and then by consumers. (It is named for the actual Ford cars they are made from.) It is well-known that it is not a stone at all but paint bits from Detroit which were created as a by-product in car factories during a by-gone era. It is often marketed as kind of a "cool" alternative material that is novel and fun. I have not read deeply about Fordite, but when I learn about "stones" made of paint chips (formed, cut, and tumbled to be beautiful), I am simply not interested. They are made of layered acrylic paint (with some other stuff between the layers), so my next question is:

[2] Does acrylic paint have nickel in it?

and also I would want to know:

[3] Even if it doesn't contain nickel, what else about the car manufacturing process in that era might have introduced toxins in this stuff? 

I mean really, I might drive a car, but that doesn't mean I want to wear it. These questions are interesting starting points which I may continue to pursue. Still, I can tell that this Fordite stuff is not for me, or for my customers. 

But as I am searching, I find a listing for acrylic paint for which the heading PROUDLY ANNOUNCES its nickel content - Seymour 98-17 Spruce Metallic Enamel Spray Paint Nickel. I found this on Ebay, but could easily show up anywhere.

It's bizarre to me when I encounter entire industries that just think that nickel is cool - they brag about it, promote it. It's like we don't even live in the same world at all. So anyway, this is my next question: 

[4] How many things do we use all of the time with this stuff on it, which we have no idea about? 

There is also a companion questions to this: 

[5] What is happening to the people who use this stuff in their work - who get it on their hands, and breathe it into their lungs? 

It's not like there is only one place to get metallic paint. Actually, it's everywhere. Specific content will vary, even by individual colors, and really, at this level of detail even diligent people may just be overwhelmed. Let's just say, that if I were going to use this stuff on any regular basis, I would want to know more. By the way, people who may use this include creative teachers, and eager children. 

This does not even approach the questions for people who may work in heavy industry, and are using this or similar products all the time. But these are open ended questions, ripe for research, probably with complex answers. 

Clearly, though, the people who are selling, buying, and even using metallic paint are NOT asking these questions. When you become an artist or a craftsman, you probably choose your medium based on satisfaction of the final result, some pleasure in the process of creation, and hopefully a blending of the two. Frequently you are perfectly aware that the paint stinks or some part of the creation process is unpleasant, just on an environmental level. Usually that unpleasantness seems to go away when the paint dries, or the containers are sealed. I would not expect most people to guess that their exposure to this allergen may affect them for the rest of their lives. 

So, you know, it's just another average day at Naturally Nickel Free, staying curious. 


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