Faces of Fire

Tom sculpting with fire

Forged in fire

Thomas Fidler, affectionately known as Tom by those close to him, impacted the lives of many, especially in his home town of Greensboro, North Carolina. Tom's playful, mysterious, and undoubtedly wild character was always on full display when everyone gathered around the bonfire at one of his North Carolina "boogie" circles to watch the master of fire work his magic.

One can get a glimpse at the fun-loving, nature-loving, people-loving, and often downright whacky nature of Tom's personality through his many Faces of Fire.

Tom blowing fire through sculpture

One of a kind

Tom's process would start when he sized up a formidable scrap of wood, be it from a stump in the middle of the woods or a fallen telephone pole. This was only the beginning of a labor of love (and a love of flames). If the lumber were not already partially hollowed out, Tom would carve it out and set it aside for the next "Fidler Fire".

On a boogie night, Tom's pieces would go into the fire. He sometimes crafted his own air-blowing guns by modifying vaccuum cleaners to sculpt the wood by blowing fire through the hollowed out portion for many hours. Tom would adjust the placement of the air blower and his sculpture-in-progress throughout the night and into the morning. Inevitably, Tom always had a vision for the unique character taking shape in the flames.

Many hours of filing, sanding, and polishing or painting later, the end results were the beautiful and truly one of a kind sculptures you'll find pictured in our galleries.

Tom's sculptures in truck

Smoke emitting from sculpture
Tom and friend play guitars Tom and family canoe trip

A Lasting Legacy

Tom was known by countless neighbors, store owners, the renters who he treated as his friends, and by boogie circles across North Carolina. He is remembered through an obituary on Legacy.com signifying his February 2022 passing.

Tom's legacy was cemented with a celebration of life, perhaps best described as a mini-Woodstock, where hundreds of people from countless faiths, ages, and backgrounds gathered, burning fires in his honor, and everywhere telling the seemingly mythical tales of Tom Fidler's life--his adventures, his craft, his humor, and always his love and his impact. While an immense bonfire burned late into the night--somehow both somber and revelrous--to the backdrop of Rock and Roll music played by Tom's friends, Tom's spirit seemed to linger in the smoke, carried by the wayward wind of that last epic Fidler Fire.

Tom sitting on large log Tom raising power fist