DANVILLE — Kids will be able to create tie-dyed T-shirts using naturally colored sediment from mines during the Danville Heritage Festival.
The T-shirts are part of the living history demonstrations, which will also include making kitchen utensils from recycled wood, blacksmithing and firing cannons.
Robert Hughes, executive director of the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, will show kids how to tie-dye T-shirts from abandoned mine drainage or AMD.
Brad Becker plans to fire cannons from the 18th and 19th centuries at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
He also plays Revolutionary War drums and dresses in that historical period. Liam and Michael McCay will make wooden kitchen implements while Doug Firestone will show how he makes hand-forged pieces. Firestone was part of the festival last year.
The demonstrators will be set up July 16 at Hess Recreation Area.
Hughes, who heads the nonprofit coalition based in Ashley in Luzerne County, expects to use two colors of iron oxide pigment for tie-dying shirts. The pigment is a dried form of rust that comes from mines as part of clean-up efforts in the region, he said.
The AMD has been recovered, recycled and processed to be re-used as a pigment. It comes from mine drainage treatment facilities and ponds used to restore rivers and streams impacted by mine drainage from abandoned mines, he said.
Shamokin Creek is an example of where AMD has caused deleterious impacts on aquatic life, fish and wildlife let alone not being able to be used for recreational purposes by the public, he said. This is one area where the coalition works with local partners, the conservation district and local watershed groups, municipalities and coal companies, he said.
“We have artists, educators and others who use the pigment working with pottery glazes, watercolors and fabric dyes,” he said.
The coalition has held art shows featuring the use of the pigment.
“If kids bring their own shirts or if they are donated from funds or by a specific business, we wash the sizing off first otherwise the color won’t adhere to it,” he said.
The shirts come out in various patterns through the use of rubber bands, marbles and rocks, said Hughes who has been working with community groups for about 20 yaers.
The McCays — Michael, his Lisa and son Liam — of Bloomsburg, will demonstrate making wooden kitchen utensils.
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“We start with a piece that looks like firewood, split it and get usable pieces from it,” Michael said. With a hatchet and a knife, they can produce a finished piece in under 30 minutes. The kitchenware includes mixing spoons and spurtles which are like spatulas.
Among items they make in their shop are rolling pins and potato mashers.
They sell from their home, at shows and at area businesses including Bason’s Coffee in Danville. They have mixing paddles available at Henry Voelcker Inc.
The McCays have been creating wooden items more than 15 years with their son starting it as a fundraiser when he was 14. Liam’s Luck grew into a business with Liam now 22.
“We all work together, but primarily it’s his business,” Michael said.
They use a variety of Pennsylvania hardwoods where they repurpose wood from scrap piles or from old barns.
“People give us wood from trees that have blown over in storms. A small sawmill in Turbotville will call if it has twisted boards that we buy and reclaim the wood for other purposes instead of being wasted. It’s a lot of fun,” Michael said.
Liam’s Luck has been designated a Pennsylvania preferred agriculture business where they encourage customers to use their creations. “The first word is it should always be functional. It should look good, work good and should feel good in your hand and it should look pretty there,” he said.
Firestone, of Firestone Forge in Germania, Potter County, left a position working for an engineering consulting firm about 20 years ago to run his own blacksmith shop.
He makes hand-forged pieces that can be used but many people have chosen to display them instead.
Firestone got interested in blacksmithing in college after seeing a Donald Duck movie showing Donald moving through the iron ages during a mechanical engineering metallurgy class.
While working for engineering consulting firms in the Harrisburg area, he did blacksmith work part-time.
He makes cooking utensils, fireplace accessories, door hinges and latches, railings, candle stands, plant holders and more. He has customers who find him through his Facebook page and website from areas which include Philadelphia, Williamsport, Harrisburg, New York, Kentucky and Tennessee.
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