Tag Archives: charcoal

Make Something Every Day – Writing 002

Today I rebelled. Slightly. Or perhaps I just tweaked the rules based on learning what works. I’ve been thinking for a couple of days that Sunday needs to be a review day rather than a full “production” day.

Writing

And then I pulled “Writing” again. The first repeat. And while I have done some writing and thinking about writing today (and I’m writing this) I gave myself permission to do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do, remembering that the important thing here is that I make something everyday and don’t get pulled into chores and duty all day long.

I think what I learned from the other day’s Writing assignment is that I need a longer term project. It might only be a short essay, but I need a goal for a series of writing sessions, rather than starting from scratch each time. What do I want to write? Well, the things that came out onto the page last time were the tweet storm about what I’m doing and the beginnings of a “What were the eighties like?” piece. Also the tweet storm about my dream the other day (though that was the day after – I am drawn to this form for writing short stories with a twist).

Perhaps another way of coming at the 80s would be to write some short stories and then try to tie them together, rather than starting top down to express the feeling of being there for me without explaining what I was doing.

Fire

I’ve been meaning to make a fire in the back garden for a while. It’s good for me to build it properly and see it burn well. I have plenty of earth and water and air in my life, I miss fire. So I put it together from the dried grass and weeds pile and some of the weedier rosemary twigs for kindling and then built it up with bits of a pallet that was broken and I’d chopped up into reasonable chunks.

I had a go at making drawing charcoal from some of the larger rosemary twigs in a little tin. I punched a tiny hole in the lid of an old vaseline tin (like a shoe polish tin only more like an inch and a half in diameter). The lid goes on very tightly, which isn’t ideal for this, it turns out, because heat and metal. I’ll look out for other more suitable vessels.

Then just as the fire was nice and hot and settling down to embers and I’d popped the tin on the top to cook, it started to rain. Of course, it’s the Bank Holiday weekend, obviously it’s going to rain as soon as you start burning anything.

Anyway, I left it, the rain went off quite quickly and the embers were still hot enough. When I couldn’t see any gas or smoke coming out of the hole in the tin, I lifted it out to cool.

When I opened it, I was pleased to see that it had cooked – I’d been worried that the rain would have spoiled it. It wasn’t perfect – I’m not sure that rosemary is the best material for drawing with, but it’s what I had immediately to hand and it was dry. I might go down to the river tomorrow and see what I can find in terms of hazel and willow. Anyway I made some carbonised wood, I tried a new process and it worked – and it’s pretty in it’s own way.

I should have taken photographs throughout the process, but all I got was the final result.

Untitled
rosemary charcoal

35mm film

The other distraction is that I now have all the bits I need to process black and white film, so I can’t see me resisting the impulse to use that tomorrow as well as reviewing the progress to date.