Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Careen and the Tin Man


You remember Careen's kiln? A seven ton, homemade, backyard kiln? I spent last weekend helping her dismantle it, brick by brick.

chimney web version

About a month ago I received an email, sent bcc: to (I imagine) everyone in her circle she thought might be willing to come lend a hand. There are legitimate, solid reasons for her being asked to move, which she addresses on her website, but this email was not about reasons or sentiment. This was a call to arms.

"It took me a year to build my kiln, but we need to take it apart and move it in a day."

bricks on pallets

After what must have been a tremendous shock, Careen sat down and made her plans. She made painstaking calculations about load requirements of pallets, and secured a forklift and a flatbed truck. She broke the kiln down in her mind, trying to work out what had to go first and how. She thought about the tools we might need to chip mortar and glaze off of bricks, and to bash in the concrete dome. She lined her pickup with plywood and backed it up to the shed. She went to the grocery store to stock up on work party food. She of course wrote her email, shared her plans with everyone she could. She told us to be safe and bring work gloves and eye protection. She told us that she would give us food. She told us she needed someone to man the grill. She asked if anyone had a sledgehammer. She told us that even if we could only stay for an hour in the morning that it would be a tremendous help. And she outlined her plans for the deconstruction, step by step.

And, on Sunday, everything essentially went according to those plans. When I left after about seven hours of work there was just a whisper of dust where the behemoth had once stood.

Note: whilst looking around for reference photos of the Tin Man in his former glory, I found this video of the concrete dome-roof being put together.

dome 023 from Tin Man Kiln on Vimeo.

I find it very poetic that I recognize several of these faces from the deconstruction party.