Monday, July 14, 2008

Barrels 'o fun

We did our barrel firing on Saturday and had loads of fun. Elaine and Becky are the queens of the barrel ball and Amy, Minke, Cindy, Nick and I were along for the first time. We had fun trying different techniques on the pieces, including but not limited to wet newspaper, copper scrubbies, copper wire, seaweed, banana peels, charcoal briquettes, coffee grounds, copper sulfate (Miracle Gro), copper carbonate, iron oxide, and more. Thanks to Elaine and Becky for supplying the materials!

Amy, Elaine, Becky, and Cindy preparing the barrels.
Go cart number 1 is burning in the background.

We put three kinds of sawdust and wood chips in the barrels, sprinkled them with oxide, sulfate, and carbonate. The pots went in next and then sticks and split wood (thanks for the wood splitting lessons, Minke!). Douse the whole thing with charcoal lighter fluid and woof! we were cooking.

Sawdust, wood chips, oxide, sulfate,
and carbonate in the barrel.

Minke showing us how to split wood.

Amy and Elaine throwing newspaper.

Model T burning merrily along.

Nice green flames --mmm good copper.

Nice glowing embers around the pots.

Our own Carol Merrill shows us
how to cover Bentley.

Now it's time to wait and "babysit".

Some folks just know how to relax.

It was pretty darn hot out there (maybe we should make this a winter activity, eh?) and Becky's husband Fred graciously brought us all large iced coffee drinks --the perfect refreshment on a day like that. Thanks Fred, that was a very thoughtful thing to do.

While waiting for the barrels we had a stamp-making workshop since I was still pumped about my experience from the previous evening. We sat around sipping and exploring stamp making at a leisurely pace. Individual discovery is a wonderful thing, and when you add a group to the process the enjoyment can multiply geometrically. Elaine made some wonderful pinched pots.

Near the end of my stay we took some of the pieces out of the small cans, named "Go Carts" by Becky. They were very nice with some contrasting variations. Unfortunately I had to leave early so I didn't get to see some of the later pieces. I am curious to see all that came out of "Model T" and "Bentley" (again, Becky's names). You can see some of the pieces and other photos on here on Becky's blog.

I had to leave early because we were meeting our friends Pam and Chip to eat and see Sideshow, about the conjoined Hilton sisters that went from being the toast of vaudeville to working at the Park 'n Shop weighing produce. The food was good, the dinner company fine, and the stage company strong. A good evening all around. Thanks guys!


Becky said...

It was GREAT having you join us, John & I hope you will again. Missed you at dinner. We decided to walk to Brixx and sup & sip to pass some time. (We were hpvering over Model T.) Elaine had some incredible pieces with mucho colours- greens, blues, orange, red, yellows, black & white. Amy's bowls looked really great. Minke's lady is phenomenal. We didn't unload Bentley 'til Sunday around noon. As expected, the results were much darker but I was very pleased with mine. I think you'll like your "barnacle bowls" too. Will you name one Bill? ;)

jbf said...

Can't wait to see all the pieces and am looking forward to doing it again (maybe when the weather is cooler?). I really enjoyed the firing and especially all the company --it's that creative family atmosphere that makes it work so well.

I'm not sure about the name, maybe Burnt would be better. If I make enough, maybe I can threaten the kids with keel-hauling.