What’s the narrative spine of your piece?

The narrative spine would be our interviewees explaining the nature and influence of the Crucible.

What are your main characters? What are your plans for getting footage besides boring talking head shots?

The main characters we have are the two instructors, one in charge of the blacksmith and the other in charge of the Youth students. We plan to get all sorts of footage of blacksmithing and the artwork developed at the Crucible by instructors and students.

How is conflict driving your story?

The conflict would be seeing how the teachers’s passion for their craft tries to get through to their students.

What kind of change do you wish to unfold within your piece?

What we would like to see is how the Crucible was created, then going through a class and then seeing the possible crafts that the students created when the class concludes.

What’s the inciting incident and point of entry in your story?

Our inciting incident would be the formation of the crucible, how it was created and what it’s become since then.

What issues do you foresee making your piece visually strong?

An issue we worry about is being in the way of the class or the teachers as they are melding hot iron and fire together to create their pieces. It could be a bit hazardous to attain certain shots with lots of power tools in use.

Interview Questions

(If you guys can think of a good question feel free to add on)


Can you tell us about the Crucible’s history?

How long have you been working at the Crucible?

Why did you decide to become a ___________?

What do you like most about the Crucible?

What are some of your fond memories you have of classes you have taught?

How do you think the Crucible influences the community?

What is your favorite activity here at the Crucible?

What would you say is your greatest creation?

How do you feel about how the arts are often disregarded in education?

How do you feel about the lack of funding for art and music programs?







A change in focus?

As I continue to look at this project, I keep seeing things differently. And sometimes these different views start to conflict with old ideas. Mainly: should I change focus to Carla Hall? I was originally going to talk about the Crucible itself, and use Carla as an expert to talk about the school. But I’m starting to wonder if I should just make it about her. Its something I just started mulling around in my head, but its defiantly something that needs more consideration.

What is a Crucible?

A crucible is a container built specifically to hold burning hot material such as molten glass and metal. Originally, they were made from ceramic clays to melt and poor bronze.


As more durable metals were discovered, such as iron, crucibles were fashioned out of thick metals to withstand the heat. Crucibles are still used in modern foundries, though in larger scale. 5205904395_9cf86c201f_o

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Founding the Foundry

In 1997, Michael Sturtz brought together a small collection of artists in hopes of building a supportive community-based school.  With a  grant for $1,750 and  $20,000 personal investment loan,  The Crucible doors opened on January 15th, 1999.  By March, The Crucible began its first session of eleven classes, six of which were taught by Michael himself. Under Michael’s leadership and with the generous support of donors, foundations, volunteers, and members, The Crucible has thrived and grown to become the largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the United States.After twelve years as The Crucible’s founder and executive director, Michael  moved on in search of new creative challenges and opportunities.


Micheal Strutz Innovation by design

Carla Hall: Blacksmith

When I first wrote to the Crucible and  asked to make a film about one of their instructors, I was afraid I would be turned away. Instead, Carla Hall returned my email, enthusiastic about my idea. She has been extraordinarily helpful in getting this project off the ground and I am very excited to work with her. Bellow are some pictures of her work from her website, as well as a link to the site itself.

Carla Hall Metal Design

Setting the Stage (on fire)

The Crucible is not only a school for teaching industrial art, it is a breading ground for unparalleled creativity and ambitious creation. Nothing is a better example of that than the Crucible’s stage work. They have preformed five different plays:

  • Jan 2009: Dracul, Prince of Fire
  • April 2008: Firebird: “L’oiseau de feu”
  • Jan 2007: Romeo and Juliet
  • Jan 2006: Seven Deadly Sins
  • Jan 2004: DidoO and Aeneas by Henry Purcell

Bellow are short videos showing two of the five.

Dracul, Prince of Fire

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Romeo and Juliet

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The Modern Blacksmith

Blacksmithing  is an ancient trade, but that doesn’t mean it is a thing of the past just yet. Bellow is a video that not only helped rekindle my interest in blacksmithing, but also demonstrates the tools and techniques of the modern blacksmith. Beyond that, it’s also a pretty amazing build.

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About The Crucible


The Crucible, founded on January 15th, 1999, in a rented 6000 square foot warehouse in West Berkeley by sculptor Micheal Strutz, is a nonprofit institution that teaches industrial skills and “fire art”. They offer a wide verity of classes, ranging from blacksmithing and glassblowing to bike repair and kinetics, to people of all ages.


serpent-motherEach July The Crucible’s hosts a Fire Arts Festival to celebrate creativity through fire and light. The festival is not only an amazing display of their special bran of artistic creativity, but is also a fundraising event, and proceeds benefit The Crucible’s arts education programs for youth and adults. The Crucible is an amazing mix of creativity, education, and community.