The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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September 15, 2013

Water color: 2nd WaterFire event brings full spectrum of activities

SHARON — The thousands of people who poured into Sharon Saturday for World Fire had the whole day and night to hear music, dance, unleash their artistic skills or find something tasty to eat.

Downtown streets were crowded for the second festival organized by WaterFire Sharon.

Mike and Adonna Bryant from Gibsonia, north of Pittsburgh, came early to satisfy curiosity about the arts festival they first encountered when they lived in New England.

“We’re originally from Massachusetts and we knew about the one in Providence,” Adonna Bryant said. “We used to see it in the paper but we never drove down to see it.”

Planning to stay into the evening for the torch ceremony, the Bryants were pleased to find the “make-and-take pottery station” where, for $20, their daughter Maeve could glaze a pot and see its design emerge after firing in a gas-fueled kiln.

“I want it to be white inside,” the 7-year-old said, as she followed instructions from instructor Debbie Hinkson, who supplied a brush and different colors of glaze.

“That’s nice and heavy. You don’t want to put it on any heavier than that,” Hinkson told the young artist. “Now you can pick another spot.”

Nathan Myers, a Penn State student who also was helping with the activity sponsored by Circle K Pottery, Sharon, said pots placed in the kiln for about 20 minutes reach a temperature of more than 1,800 degrees.

The pots, glowing red, next were put into a newspaper-filled container that was closed tight so heat could reduce the paper to its essential carbon in the absence of oxygen.

“Without oxygen, the glaze becomes metallic and its colors become shiny,” Myers explained. “The surface of the pot will be black whereever there was no glaze.”

The science of ceramic glazing may have gone over Maeve’s head, but she knew exactly where she planned to put her newest treasure after it cooled.

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