After our week long immersion into the science of forest fires, I had many ideas for this show. As time went by, and as I eliminated one idea after the other – because they either did not seem strong enough, or because they were simply too monumental – one topic still hit home: the 19 hot shots that died during the Yarnell Fire. Although this is a show about positive change and new ways of dealing with huge fuel loads and extreme fires, we cannot ignore the fact, that the way we used to do things has caused many men and women to lose their lives. And I wanted to talk about it.
Early on I decided to work in my medium, Ceramics. Clay would allow me to fire the helmets in a wood kiln, which, conceptually, would be strong. I started by finding a hotshot helmet that I could use to make a mold of. Mark Shiery, a hot shot who had worked many fires, was kind enough to lend me his used and battered helmet. It was important to me that the helmet had been in fires and as such carried the memory of them.