Brushed Brass with Oak Fire Tools
The Fire Tools are the result of a long term study into man's historical relationship with fire, hearths, and the tools used for tending to a fire. Our history with fire is an important one, deeply embedded within our being. Fire itself is a tool that provides a means of warmth and nourishment; we are instinctively drawn to its presence. The design for the Fire Tools was inspired through studying tools of the past and how these tools have evolved over time. By examining this evolution and distilling the tools down to only the most essential components needed for modern day hearths – maintenance, cleanliness, storage, and tending to the fire - their forms emerged. Each tool was reimagined to address each of these necessities in a unique way. The set is comprised of a selection of natural materials that enrich with use and age – hardwood, leather, and brass.
The poker is the only tool that makes direct contact with fire. The inspiration for the simple form was a tree branch – a tool found in nature, that instinctively lends itself to tending to a fire in the wilderness. The poker, as with a tree branch, makes use of a stem situated perpendicular to the shaft. This sharp poker and opposable thumb is ideal for adjusting logs, and playing with the fire. The handle is wrapped meticulously in European leather by Michael Todd of Sore Hands Old Tools. The leather helps insulate the hand from heat transferring along the shaft and conceals a magnet embedded within the handle that affixes to the base.
The shovel is the greatest departure from what is commonly found in traditional fire tool sets. Dictated by the size of most modern day fire places, the shovel, when paired with the brush, functions laterally sweeping soot and charcoal diagonally into the shovel's spade. The spade of the shovel allows for easy removal from smaller fire places, disposing of dust and charcoal down the spine of the spade. The varied functions were adopted into a geometric diamond-like spade made of blackened brass, mimicking the form of a Japanese chef's knife when connected with the oval walnut handle.
The brush mirrors the size and geometry of the shovel. The brush and shovel work in tandem for ease of maintenance and cleaning up after an evening beside the fire. Made from black walnut and horse hair, the brush remains an essential part of maintenance after a fire.
The heavy brass base carries each tool along a T-shaped bar above a simple circular basin. The basin floats slightly above the ground, collecting residue left from the tools after use. Its geometric simplicity was inspired by the iron stoves manufactured by Shaker communities in Massachusetts. The Shakers held their iron stoves in high regard and the placement of stoves in a room was carefully considered. Much like these stoves, the base and tool set are objects of functional beauty within a living space. They become an essential component to the ceremony of enjoying the company of a fire on a cold winter's night.
- Thom Fougere