Grizzly Creek’s fire and floods in the summer of 2021 is a salutary lesson in counting the cost before one begins to build. The most expensive 12 miles of road in America were nearly destroyed when a lightning strike fire, followed by torrential rains, washed out major portions of the construction. We ignore the fearsome power of nature at our peril. Like the work of the foolish man who built his house on sand, the road was washed away.
Grizzly Creek Fire and Floods is hand-built with my favorite Laramie Formation pure white native clay, which I dig and refine myself. My favorite firing method, fumed saggar firing, actually requires 2 firings – one to 1830ᵒF to harden the clay, with nothing more than a super-refined white slip air brushed on the bone-dry piece, and perhaps a little additional color, in this case some more of that white slip tinted with cobalt sulfate, blotted onto the surface. The second, more dramatic firing creates the rest of the color. Tightly wrapped in crumpled aluminum foil, the piece fumes after being immersed in ferric chloride (a liquid iron source) and is sealed up to smoke with various other combustible elements until it reaches 1300ᵒF when I shut down the fire. After it is cooled and cleaned, each piece is buffed vigorously with several coats of a very hard wax to seal and protect to color.