It’s only June, but I can already smell sulphur and gunpowder in the air. The hiss of fuses and the crackle of sparks push forward in memory. My fingers start to tingle. It’s almost the 4th of July. Just as kids dream of sugarplum fairies at Christmas, I dream of earth-shaking booms, neighbor-rousing whistles and echoing reports. The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.
My parents said fireworks were a waste of money.
Luckily for me, we always spent the holiday at my uncle’s house, and he was not of the same opinion. He annually sent my cousin Clinton over state lines with a big wad of cash in a rubber band to buy “the good stuff.” We lingered over waterlogged coolers and leftover hot dogs as it grew dark and not-so-patiently awaited his return. We were not swayed by feeble attempts to pacify us with ice cream cones. Only flame and spark would soothe us.
As he pulled into the gravel driveway, we rushed the car like a crazed mob demanding sparklers, firecrackers and jumping jacks. Huge cardboard boxes were unloaded from the car’s trunk, filled to the brim with brightly colored bricks of firecrackers, mortar tubes and rockets on sticks. We amused ourselves with the magic snakes, parachuters and smoke bombs while the bigger kids lit the “big ones.” I have many fond memories of dud fuses, near-misses and misfire mishaps that cleared the observation deck (aka the front porch).
One thing I overlooked as a kid were how cool the firework labels were. I have grown to appreciate the artwork that was hastily ripped away in search of the fuse. I’ve rounded up a few firework labels I found around the web. From their inspiration, I went into our Design Studio and created some t-shirts using only clipart and design elements inside the studio. I’ve also designed a few t-shirts for my family’s 4th of July celebration this year which you will see below. I’d love to have your feedback on which t-shirt you like best- I’m having trouble picking the best one!
My take on the Dragon Lady design. I chose a yellow t-shirt, used black background to create a black base, and enhanced it with red text and garment colored text. Plenty of cautionary verbiage included.