Saturday, January 26, 2019

8th Annual Night of Fire at Crealde School of Art

Each year, Crealde School of Art (600 Saint Andrews Blvd Winter Park, FL) opens its campus at night for guests to explore during the Night of Fire. Coming straight from teaching at Elite Animation Academy, I arrived late. I quickly wandered around searching for a subject to sketch. The outdoor kiln was glowing hot. In the courtyard there was a Raku and horse hair firing in progress in a much smaller kiln. Outdoor torch cutting and blacksmith demonstrations were going on, but there was a line to get in, so I skipped those options.

From the small foot bridge, I saw the light and fire painting demonstration on the lake. A small row boat was in the middle of the lake and someone stood and twirled a sparkler. It was quickly released and flew off into the water sizzling out. It wasn't much of a sight but the point was that people could take open exposures and the light would create a pattern on the final shot.

Cats in the House Band was performing on the back patio. I decided to sketch them. Pam was going to meet me there, so I sent a photo her way via messenger so she knew where to find me. Before I got a line on the sketch the band took a break. Rather than hope they might start playing again, I wandered off again and settled on sketching the fire pit. Some people sat here to eat their Peruvian Food truck fair.

A storyteller sat and told tales around the fire. When Pam arrived she sat close and listened. One story was about a magical blank book that was given to a couple which could be used to record each day's good memories and bad memories. I assumed the blank book might be a sketchbook. The couple recorded their memories diligently at first but then got lazy and started to skip days. Soon, they were skipping weeks at a time letting memories slip by because to the stress of everyday life. At the end of the year they opened the book and relished in seeing their memories relived. The good memories were vibrant and fresh. They wished they had been better about keeping them alive. The bad memories however slipped away on their own, becoming distant and faint.

The fire snapped and crackled with embers floating up into the night sky. Some people recognized me and we joked as I kept sketching. As I worked to finish, I realized that people had left, and the event was winding down. Pam and the storyteller spoke about how oral histories help to keep stories alive. They exchanged cards. Their core missions seemed much aligned. With the fire embers smoldering we walked out to the parking lot and decided to get some groceries at the Publix supermarket next door.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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