Careen and the Tin Man

My friend Careen Stoll — a potter, permaculturist, educator and all around amazing woman — had build a seven ton kiln in the back garden of the house she was renting in Southeast Portland. It had been there as long as I had known her, but on Sunday I helped her dismantle it, brick by brick.

About a month ago I received an email, sent bcc: to (I imagine) everyone in her circle she thought might be willing to come lend a hand. There are legitimate, solid reasons for her being asked to move, which she addresses on her websitebut this email was not about reasons or sentiment. This was a call to arms. 

“It took me a year to build my kiln, but we need to take it apart and move it in a day.”

After what must have been a tremendous shock, Careen sat down and made her plans. She made painstaking calculations about load requirements of pallets, and secured a forklift and a flatbed truck. She broke the kiln down in her mind, trying to work out what had to go first and how. She thought about the tools we might need to chip mortar and glaze off of bricks, and to bash in the concrete dome. She lined her pickup with plywood and backed it up to the shed. She went to the grocery store to stock up on work party food. She of course wrote her email, shared her plans with everyone she could. She told us to be safe and bring work gloves and eye protection. She told us that she would give us food. She told us she needed someone to man the grill. She asked if anyone had a sledgehammer. She told us that even if we could only stay for an hour in the morning that it would be a tremendous help. And she outlined her plans for the deconstruction, step by step.

And, on Sunday, everything essentially went according to those plans. When I left after about seven hours of work there was just a whisper of dust where the behemoth had once stood. 

Note: whilst looking around for reference photos of the Tin Man in his former glory, I found this video of the concrete dome-roof being put together.

Careen has a wonderful about-tin-man page on her current website