Living Ind

The Flame and the Flower

by Mary Tutwiler

Two festivals — one dedicated to fire and the other to flora — come together this weekend Blackham Coliseum. Fire and ice. Oil and water. One would think the searing heat of a kiln has little to say to the delicate daisy. But for every flower there is a mass of tender roots, and what better shelter than a beautifully hand thrown pot, hardened in the finishing fire. That’s how the opposites, Lafayette Art Association’s Pyromania and the UL horticulture department’s Festival Des Fleurs come together this weekend, April 5-6, at Blackham Coliseum.

Pyromania, a celebration of all heat-generated art forms, is back for its 13th year. More than 125 artists will be creating works of glass, clay and metal on the grounds surrounding the coliseum. There will be demonstrations of stained and fused glass making, blown glass sculpture and a glass bead workshop. Earth works include Raku firing, clay sculpture, wheel throwing, and firing in all sorts of kilns — paper, woodfire and trash cans. Metalworkers will demonstrate bronze casting, metal smithing and cast iron pouring. There’s a chance to win a hands-on lab in glass bead making, and on Sunday afternoon, clay artists will compete in the Clay Olympics. “It’s a home-grown festival,” director Ty Devalcourt says, “an event for artist to artist collaboration and a great place for those who are fascinated by fire to exchange ideas.”

Meanwhile in the green shade under Blackham’s roof, 85 booths will offer growing things old, new, hybridized and native in the plant world. “Look for the unusual,” says Billy Welsh, horticultural center manager and Festival Des Fleur organizer. “There are always new hybrids of daylilies, and plumeria has become popular.” The plumeria, also known as the flower for making sweet smelling leis, is a native of tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, South America and Mexico. Culinary herbs, Louisiana natives like rose marsh mallow and Turks cap, old fashioned roses and newfangled tools are all part of the flower festival.
Pyromania and Festival Des Fleurs will take place Saturday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Blackham Coliseum, 2330 Johnston St. in Lafayette._