Recently my other half asked me ‘What’s the deal behind the phrase “As mad as a hatter”?’
Well, he was asking the right person, I actually know the answer. Years back when hatters where hatters, mercury was used in the process of hat making. So this was all before people knew that mercury wasn’t good to handle and lick your fingers after, get it on your skin and such. So hatters would handle mercury and get mercury poisoning, which would become evident in them going nuts. Hence the phrase, as mad as a hatter!
In a similar vein, here are some of the nasty things that artists – or art handlers – have to take risks with.
As I say to my students. Once you get the temptation to lick your brush, wash your brush in your wine or drink it after, remember that one of those pigments might be phthaloCYANINE blue.