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June 26, 2021: Art on Fire

This was the name of the Valley Arts Association event that I attended today. I was planning on blowing it off, but last night I got a call from one of the organizers, my friend Nan in fact, and consequently decided to accompany her today, to the Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry.

She met me at the Meeting House. We took books, a table, and a portable shelter in her vehicle. Good conversation there, and on the way back. In between we both set up the free book area. We both hawked books, and Nan participated in the iron pour.

I had previously hawked books at the Girls Day Out and Palmer Senior Center events.

The Art on Fire crew

This time, I had it just a bit more together, or so I thought, that is until a couple from Healy showed up and began putting up their photography exhibit. I learned that if you have a shelter, it’s a good idea to bring a rug or a tarp. This way, you have more space to spread out, and the area is more inviting. Also, crates are more aesthetically pleasing than are cardboard boxes.

The books went, in spite of my lack of oversight. The last two times I didn’t have kid’s books. This time, I laid them on the table. Maybe there were more parents and children. Most of the kid’s books were taken, and after, I donated what were left to My House, an organization that helps troubled teens.

All day I swapped stories with those who checked out the Bright Lights Book Project inventory. (Notice I didn’t say display). This again supported my belief that the printed word connects us all, in wonderful and mysterious ways. For instance, I discovered that Bea Adler, a local resident, was the one who assisted Pete and me in putting together our Wheels on Ice display at the Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry in the late 1980s.

The Iron pour took place late in the afternoon. I went to check it out. Essentially, chunks of iron are dumped into a preheated kiln, then when molten, released into vats – buckets with insulation. The molten material is then poured into molds, where it cools down and hardens. I watched as the bright orange iron flowed into the buckets, then was poured into scratch blocks, small sand containers with etchings on them. The molds included a scratch block that I’d etched, an hour before. They were then dunked into water where they cooled off.

The iron was also poured into several sculptures that others had made. What was most amazing to me was how the dozen plus workers interacted with one another. They were much like bees in a hive. Everyone had a job to do, or two, or three. They traded off in an agreeable fashion. My friend Nan was in the thick of it. She’s small, the guys tall and beefy. I never thought of her as being of less than average height, but this made itself apparent in this instance.

I was entranced by the entire process. I am glad that I got one of the pours on video, on my cell phone.

Next: 177. 6/27/21: Wants and Needs

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