After being postponed in February, Forge, Furnace and Kiln at Wytham Woods (https://www.wythamwoods.ox.ac.uk/home) managed to wedge itself between meteorological and viral storms. We enjoyed a wonderful demonstration of smelting green malachite into shiny copper, and tin ore into silvery ingots by Pete Hommel (University of Liverpool). The little furnace and hand-pumped bellows brought the alchemy of smithing to life before our eyes. We spent time writing myths of smithing, enjoyed profound and evocative poetry right on point by Joe Butler from his collection Hearth Stone about his time as a blacksmith. As if that wasn’t enough, we ended our writing workshop early in order to visit the Anagama kiln at Wytham (https://www.wythamwoods.ox.ac.uk/oxford-anagama-kilns), which just happened to be firing that day. These films are based on a fifth century Japanese design – thanks to all there for letting us wander in on a non-public day. Thanks also to Pete and Joe for fantastic contributions, to all those who came and took part and to Lucy Kilbey for making it all run smoothly. Participants – don’t forget to send Lucy your poems!
Sadly for now, future poetry and other events have had to be cancelled. The woods are still open though – enjoy a little social distancing immersed in nature to stave off the cabin fever!