It was fifty-two degrees in the house when I woke up this morning. It always feels colder, these predawn moments in the first days of frost. I immediately started the fire in the porch room wood stove.
When we are solidly into winter, I will keep this stove going twenty-four hours a day, damping down a full hot chamber to last through the night and give me glowing embers in the morning. But I resist starting this practice too early. The frugal in me wants to preserve the current stock of firewood, make sure I have enough to eek out the winter, stubbornly refusing to order more just in case. So I will wait, and anticipate when the days become as frigid as the night to begin the practice of adding wood the fire continuously, to keep the inside of home warm enough to support the productive flow of life here.
I think of the wood kiln firing Molly and I attended this past weekend. My neighbor Mark Shapiro is a renowned potter and has created an impressive body of work that draws an impressive community. I learned that day that it takes at least five people to be attending to the needs of the voracious fire inside the kiln, heating the chamber to an epic temperature needed to fire the beauty inside. I learned that the fire was started at five in the morning and would likely go until well into the evening. I watched invested potters attend to their various jobs, conversing, taking breaks for soup and tea inside, and coming back to the fire with absolute dedication. I marveled at the intensity of heat that was building.
Invited back to the opening and unloading of the kiln to take place three days later, I had the honor of carrying one piece of magnificence after another into the studio to be placed on tables and shelves. I learned it was a ‘good firing’ with almost no casualties. I can only imagine the sense of anticipation in the three days of waiting. It was a sight to behold, the arrangement of beautifully crafted objects waiting to be removed.
As I stood talking with Mark and his apprentice Eli about being a visual artist, about the thrill of seeing and appreciating such accomplished work, I shared about the upcoming publication of my book. When I said the title, “Adding Wood To The Fire – A Quiltmaker’s Way”, there were smiles, as the synchronicity of FIRE serving both literally and figuratively, the flow of our respective work, registered.
The book is in the hands of the printer and all that’s left is to do a final review, make the last little tweaks, and make the commitment to send to press. I received the final proof of the book cover exterior yesterday.
This first effort, of integrating art and life in a series of chapters that have been written over and over and over these past four years, has now led to my own days of anticipation, of waiting to see the actual book in hand. I am only imagining a ‘good firing’ here too…