Thursday, October 1, 2009

September in Colonial Williamsburg VA

The shed with raw dry green bricks protected from rain.

The kiln and some finished bricks from last year's firing.

Colonial Williamsburg brick maker telling us about his job standing next to this year's kiln.

This week I catch up after a really nice week in Williamsburg,VA taking pictures and walking through all sorts of formal and working back yard gardens. I had a nice break from DC down there in the slower pace of Colonial Williamsburg. Keith and I picked up my mom and drove down to her Powhatan Plantation time share to meet Mildred Cunningham her buddy and my sister, brother-in-law and his mom for a week. It was a nice ride with Keith volunteering to do all the driving down interstate 95. We all unpacked and settled in while Mildred and Phyllis (my mom) got our first meal prepared with all the goodies they brought. It reminded me of earlier days when they worked this magic for our families two or three times a day. Now as an adult we had to take up some of the duties of meals and Keith and I did a roast pork dinner one night. Brother-in-law Frank and his mom Elizabeth fixed their speciality Hungarian Chicken Paprika which is in a rich creamy sauce over noodles on another evening. As usual we had plenty of delicious food for every meal including pies from the pie shop and White House rolls from a bakery in Richmond that we all love.

Days we all went our separate ways to follow our own interests reuniting for those delicious dinners and visiting evenings. Keith and I set out the first day on a trip to Colonial Williamsburg (CW) and walked taking pictures all day. First stop was the brick yard where they discussed the way all houses were built in Virginia of the 1700s with home made bricks made on site by itinerant brick makers. They used local clay and created the bricks two at a time in forms. Those wet bricks were laid out in the sun to dry then were stored in a shelter till it was time to build a kiln out of raw green bricks and fire it for almost a whole week round the clock. In CW they make bricks every summer which are fired in the kiln in October and we sat around under the tent as one interpreter explained the process and another laid bricks into the stack to create the brick kiln that will soon be ablaze below with continuous burning wood. This was a very interesting talk and he showed us green bricks, salmon colored bricks, my favorite color orange red (half done and still soft). Then the finished hard red brick and the over done purple gray bricks that are close to the fire. I asked about the pattern we see of bricks in many colonial buildings where they appear to have glazed brick ends between red bricks and he said that all the bricks ends that face the fire are put aside and used to create that decorative brick laying pattern. Those he noted are the hardest bricks and most valuable. Something I have wondered about for years finally answered by a professional brick maker. Where else could you ask that question?
I took some 300+ photos and a couple of videos and I would like to tell you about all of it but I think that might take the rest of the month of October to write it all and instead I have to concentrate on my books and preparation for the Light in October show coming up in just a few weeks. You can go see the pictures from Williamsburg as I edit and post them on in my Colonial Williamsburg Set as time allows.
I am also working on a few other interesting projects this month. Neighboring poet and friend Peter Montgomery and I collaborated and got accepted to show one of my figure watercolor drawings with one of his poems. It will be in a exhibition of poet artists collaborations, honoring a heroic local poet soldier, opening Oct. 25th at Old Lorton Work House Arts Center. There is a catalog planned along with the art for sale to raise funds for the families of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital and Bethesda Navel Medical Center.
In addition I am helping to build boxes for a Pyramid Atlantic fund raiser project of artists books honoring City Dance and Pyramid Atlantic's book artists.

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