In November of 2015 the show Fires of Change moved to Tucson. Because of the configuration of the room and some restrictions of the museum (I was not able to use a plant, for example) I had to find a new way of installing the helmets.
I took ash from our latest wood firing in the Anagama kiln, placed it in an 11 foot long trough and added hand built porcelain leaves. I chose ash because of its strong symbolism: the glazes on the helmets derive from ashes in the wood kiln that transformed due to the extreme heat; the nineteen hotshots walked through ash before they perished; but it also talks about the fact that we go back to ash when we die. The porcelain leaves stand for new life, growth, and hope. I left them unglazed as a symbol for purity, and also to increase the contrast with the ash.
Please read my artist’s statement on this piece under Nineteen at Coconino Center for the Arts.
For more information on the show at U of A, please click here: http://www.artmuseum.arizona.edu/events/event/fires-change