Stoking the Fire
by Kristen Manders and Grace Lim
Fired Up on Art
Teaching with Fire: Student pour master Kelley Gierach (l) and sculpture instructor Teresa Lind (r) get ready to light the furnace for the bronze pour. Photo by Shawn McAfee of UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies.
Cast Iron Demo
|What: Make Your Own Iron Cast Tile Art
Where: behind the Kolf Sports Center by the UW Oshkosh Aquatics Research Center
When: Saturday, April 9 From 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The furnace will be lit at noon and the pour will be at 1 p.m.
Cost: $12/Students; $15/others/per tile
Contact: Anna Olson at email@example.com
In Teresa Lind's Advanced Sculpture class, students are taught to respect the power of the flame, especially during a metal pour when the liquid bronze gets upwards of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
At a December pour, the heat is oppressive in the foundry, which is located in the basement of the Arts and Communication building at UW Oshkosh.
The pour team gets ready for a sauna-like, yet profound, experience. Lind, who has taught in the Department of Art since 2007, keeps a close watch over the operation. The pour is run like a well-oiled Broadway production. Everyone has a role and everyone must be in sync. Unlike a play, however, a misstep in a metal pour could mean a trip to the ER.
| Feeling the Heat: Teresa Lind and student pour master Kelley Gierach prepare the crucible full of liquid bronze. Photo by Shawn McAfee/UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies.
Pour master, Kelley Gierach, takes a torch to light the furnace that would heat solid bricks of bronze to liquid. Intense heat fills the room only minutes after the fire ignited. Students opens a large door to the furnace, heat radiating out of it like everyone in the room had stepped in to an oven. The ceramic molds made by advanced sculpting students are placed in the kiln to prepare to be filled with bronze.
Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine artists and the effort they put in to creating a thought-provoking piece of art. Donning a fire-resistant suit, student Caitlin Leu help pour the liquid bronze in to models that were casted by her and her classmates.
The work that Leu puts in to her work is well worth the literal blood, sweat and tears that go in to working in the foundry and melting down metal. In this pour, Leu burns the front of her sweatshirt, but isn’t upset because she gets to show her concept to others.
On April 16, Lind and her students will be showing off their casting skills at a community cast iron art demonstration. Those who wish to make a iron tile will be able to carve their own design into a block of sand; the art students will pour the iron and cast the tiles.
In this video interview, UW Oshkosh art instructor Teresa Lind talks about her love of the metal pour and how that act of pouring empowers her students. The interview was shot by Wayne Abler of UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies and conducted by COLS Special Reports producer Grace Lim.