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Charcoal from a Forest Fire


Fire has an odd fascination and while I trained as a chemical plant/refinery firefighter, participated in numerous drills at school and in the dorm, watched with horror as fire consumed houses and acres of trees, my plan always was to exit quickly and wait for someone to bring the injured to me.

However, I viewed the remains of the forest fire that swept over Colorado some years ago, the beauty of the starkness of the blackened tree trunks against the snow on the mountains. While wandering about, I found some smallish twigs turned into charcoal, picked them up and brought them home. I had used vine charcoal in some of my drawing classes and thought these bits might work in a similar fashion.

My plan was always to use fabric as the base for the drawings; I used a relatively coarsely woven fabric, spread some gesso on until it was just barely damp and then attempt to use the twigs. I found it was easier to dip the twig in the gesso and draw—but still the lines were very faint.

I decided to embroider over the lines.

Then while reading about book-cloth, I wondered why I couldn’t use a decorative paper as the paper layer.

I’m gathering up courage to finish this book–I must glue it to the cover; everything is done but this very last step— and now that I’ve written about it here, I may be compelled to complete this project.

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