The High Summer Furnace

June 10, 2007

gila monster and forged iron torc

This year I’ve seen two gila monsters, the ashes-and-embers dragons who shake the ground when they walk.  I found the one shown above while hiking in a gravel wash.  They are most active in the early morning and at dusk.  Their colors are the essence of high summer, the living fire in the earth.  In the morning I work at the forge, and at noon the white desert air holds that same purifying blast of arid heat.  It is also Fire Season, and a primitive part of my mind believes that if I work with the fire – walk in the desert and work at the forge when the temperature is over 100 – that it will be enough, and none of my favorite places will burn this year, and I will store up enough of the sun’s strength to get through next winter.  This idea inspired a project – a series of sixteen spikes forged from cut nails, all different, to be used in protection rituals.  The spikes (wands, pins, transformed nails) represent Fire, as they do in my tarot deck, and draw energy from the agave stalks that are rising and blooming now.  They are some of the first things that I learned to forge, so they are comforting and familiar to make. 

iron spikes and torc

A double-ended spike curled into a circle becomes a torc, an ancient kind of necklace.  It feels cold when I first put it on, but quickly absorbs body heat and begins to feel alive, like a small snake.  The photo shows a nearly-finished torc (still needs a bit of tweaking, and still covered in gray firescale), some finished spikes that are being polished, and two finished, blackened spikes. 


4 Responses to “The High Summer Furnace”

  1. judithornot said

    I love the organic nature of your metalwork. It looks so alive, I almost expect it to move.

    Hoping the fire season is moderate there. I know fire renews even as it destroys, but it still hurts to see the places we love blackened.

  2. Wow! Where can I get one of those?

  3. penelope said

    beautiful work…I am a midwife of 30 years and truly your work is just so familia..r….
    visually fluid and female ..gorgeous

  4. Morgana said


    I just was searching for a torc, and then yours came out of google images. How much would cost a torc like that, with a custom mesurements and the shippment to Spain?

    Thank you! 🙂

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