Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Seeing Red

I've been promising to put up a few pictures to show Ed what really red soil looks like around here, as compared to the soil of my land and since I've taken a vow to Jack to actually stay off my bad foot as much as possible in an effort to get it to heal, I figured today was a good day for posting.  My foot is somewhat better by the way, but I really have had to take drastic measures to get it to heal all the way.  The new shoes and inserts and supplements and all the other stuff you nice people have suggested is working I think but I've also gone as far as to use crutches now whenever possible to just stay completely off my foot.
 Anyway; back to my original story.  The photo above is from a job I was on south of Birmingham.  Now, some of you may know that Birmingham was once a significant steel manufacturing town.  The Pittsburgh of the South! so they say.  Well, this was due, in great part, to the large deposits of iron ore that lay across the middle section of the state.  Red Mountain in the heart of Birmingham really is red.

And this is a chunk of ground iron ore that came from about 50 feet below the surface of Red Mountain.  Many, many years ago I was on a job being built right on top of the mountain and the building had an elevator installed in it.  The guys drilled a large hole down into the mountain for the hydraulic shaft of the elevator to fit in and every time they would bring the drill bit up, which was huge, I would clean the slurry off of it to save.  It was almost pure iron ore and makes a great colorant for ceramic glazes and clay.  Of course, this isn't really soil but this mineral is what gives that famed red clay of the south it's color.

There is actually a local clothing company, Earth Creations, that sells organically grown cotton clothing that has been dyed with this iron ore.  And yes, it will stain your hands and clothes and everything you get it on!
I still use the ore in some of my glazes and such and it's a great selling point when you tell people about it.

I also promised to show the birthday present Jack bought for me at the art show I did a couple of weeks ago and since it is predominantly red, I thought it fit right in with this post!  It's a very nice watercolor done by an artist from Tennessee and will be very appropriate hanging in a southern kitchen, I think.


Anonymous said...


I hate to hear that you're hobbled, at least you can get around better than that old "water rabbit", remember? I know, that comment leaves a bad taste in my mouth too. My old home place was an iron ore mountain, I've brought several bowling ball size rocks back south with me because rocks are scarce as hen's teeth down here. Was that strawberry patch ya'll went to out near Mountain Top Flea Market? Plan to spend a month or so up there starting in early June, you need to be well by then and be ready to make some more of that vegetable pie looking stuff that Ronnie and I ate all of.

See you soon,


Anonymous said...

The soil reminds me of the soil in PEI. However, it is not quite as red, but it is beautiful.
Love the watermelon. Such a thoughtful gift. Peg

Ed said...

I still say that is a picture of a bulldozer on Mars!

I'm just amazed whenever I am down your way and see that red soil. It just seems unnatural compared to our black soil we have. I suppose native Alabamans would say the same thing about our soil the first time they saw it.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Annie, now that is some red soil. We have nothing like it here on the VA eastern shore. It does seem like a wonderful color for pottery, but how do you get the stains off your hands? That gift art looks good enough to eat!

edifice rex said...

Hey Barry! that rabbit has become an albatross around my neck I think!! lol!
the strawberry patch was over in Locust Fork; Marsh Farms I think.. and yes, I'll make some more of that 'vegetable pie' stuff for ya'll when you're up here again! I can see now I messed up with that! ha!!

Hey Peg! thanks! I thought it was nice too!

Hey Ed! yeah, anytime I see really black soil I find it fascinating. We actually do have black soil here, down around Montgomery. They call that part the Black Belt region because of the soil and they grow a lot of cotton there.

Hey Bea! I only use the ore for glazes really and I wear gloves when handling it so it doesn't stain me. If you do get it on you though it just has to wear off.

Jenn said...

Beautiful. Both that red oxide soil and the watercolor.

I'm loving your header, too. One of these days I hope to be able to purchase some more of your work!

Anonymous said...

Is that cookie jars in the header? Love those. Look like they could store a biscuit or two.
Hope your foot continues to improve.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jenn! Thanks on all accounts!

Hey Anon! well, a biscuit or 2 is about all you could get in one! those are just small jars; they hold about 1 1/2 cups maybe. Lots of people use them for sugar jars or such.

grins said...

That is so cool!!

HermitJim said...

Now THAT is some red dirt! I just love it!

edifice rex said...

Hey Dan! I thought so!

Hey Jim! I would think some parts of Texas might have red dirt too. ?

dandelionfleur said...

Love the grittiness of the pics.