Furtle: the fertile fire filled bread oven turtle (2009)
Shannon Crossman and myself were funded to facilitate the design and build with Sue Cohen and Kerry from SKETCH, an arts resource space for youth in toronto (http://www.sketch.ca). The oven is made of refractory cement, a insulation layer of slip-straw and finished with cob. the cart was assembled with found/upcycled materials.
Since, the bread oven and cart were forcibly dismantled. one day an intern filled the oven full of wood, lit it, and subsequently in the inferno the base of the oven cracked, and continued to burn a hole through the night. It was not until the next day that someone noticed and put it out. By then the hole was so significant, and in an impossible to reach place below the cooking plate.
The turtle sat for almost a year before being taken to pieces. Parts of the beautiful mosaic inlaid in the working surface were reclaimed out of the trash. Honestly though, the strongest memories I have are those depicted in the images below, and moments like: pushing the cart 5km through downtown toronto, losing a wheel, and strapping the cart to my bike to complete the journey begun by queen and spidina at 5am and concluding 3km up the don valley at 9pm. (video to be released soon, see below for a preview)
The vivid process of creating with so many hands this beautiful oven is what I remember. we had no idea that the original form was to become a turtle breathing fire….though this is the beauty of true collaboration…you all jump in a boat and see where you end up (though some people can teach how to plow into the waves..:)