Day 32: Melting
programme is a much looser one than the others… the five of us get
to decide what to do and how to do it. Plenty of opportunity to argue!
So we just have to
make something out of gold. First thing is, to get the gold into a state
that we can use it in. We need to melt it, to get all the tiny flakes
into a single blob. But gold melts at 1062oC - pretty damn
Mike and Mike are always keen to decide quickly and get on and do. Ellen
and I are keen to discuss things before we do them: to get everyone on
board; to brainstorm all the possible ideas - then decide on the best
approach. M & M think this wastes time - once they have an idea -
they want to get on and start. So I think we drove them crazy. Mike
B seemed to have some idea how to make a furnace - so we assigned him
“Foreman” - and we followed his directions. This gets us all
doing the same thing. Partly 'cos Mike B is still a bit sick - and
needs to take it easy.
So - we all built
the furnace. Mike L built some gorgeous, huge bellows to keep the furnace
going. Ellen and I prepared the clay. Mike B and Jonathan and Kate built
the furnace from bricks.
Years of doing pottery
have taught me that you need to get rid of air bubbles in clay before
firing it - or else it explodes. The air expands on heating and can crack
or shatter the whole pot. Also - you're MEANT to really dry off
the clay carefully before you fire it, or it cracks. And here we are -
putting wet clay around a fire - heating it to 1000oC - and expecting
it to survive!
and I bashed out all the clay - trying to get rid of all the air bubbles.
Then we used bottles as rolling pins to flatten it out to line the furnace
- outside and in. I just love the feeling of clay - it's such a
gorgeous, cool thing to handle. And once it was lining the whole furnace
it was just irresistible. I just couldn't stop smoothing it down.
Drew - the cameraman - had to have a go too. He used to do pottery too
and loves the feel of clay. Really enjoyed working with Ellen today. We
laughed and laughed all day, like small kids.
We made a fire for
the furnace - a small one to leave overnight to dry out the clay - and
left it all. Meant we got an early finish. It was good that we decided
to work together on the furnace - it took all of us the day to get it
done. Would have been really hard to complete with just 3 people.
Over dinner with Ricky,
Pippa (Assistant Producer) asked us about what it's like working
together in one big team. It was so interesting. The Mikes said they do
feel like we're wasting time when we brainstorm at the start “we
only have three days to get it done, so we need to start”, not spend
lots of time discussing it all. And Ellen and I believe we will waste
time doing the wrong thing if we don't talk it through. And talking
it through gets everyone on board doing the same thing - thinking the
same thing (hopefully!).
But, sure if the conversation got tricky too - just some tensions skimming
through. Inevitable really, with such different people, all very opinionated,
having to work together. Interesting though and teams need people who
think differently and approach things differently.