Camphill Communities Ontario invited my family and me to build a festival bread oven to help them bake pizza and bread during their seasonal festivals throughout the year. 16 intrepid bread oven builders joined us to create this well sculpted oven out of clay, sand and straw. Our crew included people from age 3 to 60 and was inclusive of people with a variety of abilities. Everyone was able to contribute and feel pride in their creation.
We spread the work over two days, which gave everyone a chance to need the cob with their feet, build the oven, play in the straw and contribute to sculpting the final bread oven. There was plenty of time in between for sharing food and for discussing slow-bread-culture, for singing and silliness too!
It was hard to call it quits on Sunday afternoon as finding the final form was such an enjoyable process of collaborative sculpting. (Notice the temporary door that helped us model the oven as the real door was still being fashioned out of local hardwood. Soon a pavilion will be built to house the bread oven. This will match the architecture of the neighboring Novalis Hall)
Luciana took up the task of making a fire spirit, a salamander to acknowledge the essential working of elemental beings in this creative process of transforming flour, water, salt, leaven and fire into delicious bread. It is nice to see such a beautiful and lively fire being being born out of my calm and collected partner – nothing boring there!
Already one of the families who participated in the workshop have built their own bread oven at their farm outside of Toronto. Others are busy gathering clay and bricks…