” Take a nice,dry, willow stick; and make some little slips of it the length of the palm of your hand, or, say, four fingers. Then divide these pieces like match sticks; and do them up like a bunch of matches. But first smooth them and sharpen them at each end, like spindles… Then tie them up in bunches this way,in three places to the bunch, that is, in the middle and at each end, with a thin copper or iron wire. Then take a brand-new casserole, and put in enough of them to fill up the casserole. Then get a lid to cover it, luting ( sealing) it with clay, so that nothing can evaporate from it in any way. Then go to the baker’s in the evening, after he has stopped work, and put this casserole into the oven and let it stay there until morning.”
I understood the word CASSEROLE!
Aren’t we all fortunate that we live in a time when we can just drive on down to the art supply store or go on-line and order our supplies? There must have been a feeling of preciousness to the above described charcoal sticks, once they were “baked”, as there was with the hand-made pigments and hand-made brushes of the time. But, with the invention of tubes for paint came the Impressionists. How would the history of art be different if art materials had been easier to come by during the 15th . century? When I buy new materials, I DO have a feeling of preciousness about them at first. To make the first mark on a piece of brand new watercolor paper seems sacreligious…. to dull the beautiful point on that brand new colored pencil feels like a crime…. but I get over it , get down to ‘business’ and never look back.
Maybe we should all go and “cook” some charcoal sticks today, and then thank our lucky stars in a Van Gogh’s Starry Night kind of way for Dick Blick and Michael’s Crafts stores !!