Being in the field of pyrotechnics we are always fascinated by additional ways of using pyro in art especially. We have, on several occasions, featured artwork by the supremely talented Cai Guo-Qiang but these are completely different.
To achieve the fabulous picture above, you will need:
a sheet of light coloured plywood
small can of regular white interior paint (plain emulsion will suffice)
Spray bottle filled with a mixture of the juice of 1 lemon mixed with water (about half pint)
an image of two stags which you can trace around and cut out with either a craft knife or scissors (like the one below – most can be downloaded or copied from the internet but check the ownership first.
Next, paint the plywood with the white paint and let it dry thoroughly.
Cut your stag images (or whatever animal you would like to be) and put them onto the dry painted board. Spray the lemon water over the images making sure that the stag or animal picture is damp enough to stick slightly but not so there are water puddles about.
Let the board dry for around 5 minutes.
Light your sparklers and place them where you would like the trunks of the trees to be (this might take a few attempts, so be aware of this and we would recommend that you try first of all on paper.
The branches can be created with straight lemon juice. Great to try and you can incorporate all sorts of animals and pictures which would look great in the sepia colour.
Sparklers have added the sizzle factor to weddings, birthdays and other celebrations for years – all of which evolved from a similar mixture to that which became the original firework – as discovered by Litian hundreds of years ago.
They are the only kind of pyrotechnic device made today which is made to be handled when lit. The sparkler usually burns for around 45 seconds + but is largely dependent on length.
The construction of them is relatively simple:
They take wires around 40+ cm in length and pop them in bundles into the slots of a sorting machine
The machine vibrates and the wires fall one at a time into the openings
The operator moves a spring loaded rack into position that opens and closes like an accordion which drops the wires one row at a time into place until he has the rack filled (usually 300 to a batch). All of the sections are then tightened up holding the sparklers in place
The ‘sparkler slurry’ mixture is created by combining boric acid and barium nitrate in a mixing tank. The Barium is the oxidizer and will help the sparkler to burn and the Boric Acid is the neutralizer. They then add water and cornstarch to bind the ingredients – this is mixed together before adding iron filings which give the sparklers their gold colour. The last bit to be added is the Aluminium powder which is highly dangerous so the operator is shut off in a room whilst this is added. Once added, it is no longer a danger and the slurry is ready to go.
The racked wires are dipped and then allowed to set a little before they are dipped for a second time (our sparklers are double dipped to ensure a good quality ‘spark’ is achieved) and they are then left to dry
The sparklers are left for a week to ‘cure’ and they are then ready to use
Here at Epic Fireworks, we stock 3 sizes:
1. Coloured – Short and the colours are added into the slurry – less iron filings are added as a result of the chemicals added so they are not as ‘sparkly’ as our other two products.
2. Monster – 14” long with beautiful gold sparks – our most popular product by far.
3. Mammoth – 18” long with beautiful gold sparks – these are a little more expensive but they have a long burn time making them ideal for weddings and they look great on photographs, particularly when used as a guard of honour for the happy couple but they are a great addition to any event.
You Will Need
SPARKLERS (GOOD ONES!)
BUCKET OF WATER
We all treat sparklers with a certain amount of disdain, as they are considered to be the ‘least pyro-esque’ item in most firework shop ranges. Indeed, they are frequently given free or form part of the ‘afterthought’ process … you know the one, the order arrives on the trolley and the customer will then check out the purchases on the pile before the inevitable ‘Do you do sparklers?’ comes. But in reality, they are a beautiful addition to any occasion whether fireworks are there or not.
Over the last couple of years, Sparklers have been introduced into Wedding celebrations but one of our favorite uses is for ‘Sparkler Art’.
Pop the camera on the tripod and pick your spot in front of the camera (it helps to establish your position whilst there is enough daylight.
Set the camera up: set the aperture to F8 and the exposure time to 25-30 seconds for best results
Dumbing down, especially for techo-phobes like ‘moi’, the exposure is set to 25-30 seconds and this is your ‘drawing time’ where everything done in front of the camera will form the final image. You can avoid a ‘tail’ or ‘trail’ on your image if you just continue to overdraw until the click if the shutter. One other tip, if you are writing your name, you need to do this backwards.
Sparkler art is only really limited by your imagination – check some out from the internet:
We absolutely love sparkler art and have tried a couple of times with our point and shoot camera’s without much success, but having bought my hubby a Fuji Finepix S9500 for Christmas, we are only a few steps away from capturing some brilliant shots so we will keep you updated as this might be a project for the weekend.
Give it a try and we will feature the images on our website/FB page.