National Conference on
Contemporary Cast Iron Art & Practices
National Historic Landmark
April 3 - 6, 2019
Photos by Jared Ragland
This National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art and Practices is a biennial convergence of students, educators, academics, and professionals dedicated to exploring and advancing cast iron as an art medium. Support from this conference helps the Metal Arts Program at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark preserve the history and knowledge integral to working with cast iron processes. In turn, Sloss Metal Arts provides opportunities that propagate and expand technical, aesthetic, and conceptual issues pertinent to our discipline. Collectively, this National Conference and Sloss Metal Arts create a magnetic field that helps hold our community together.
Beyond the Parting Line
2019 Keynote Speaker
Elizabeth Kronfield is an artist and educator who examines the interaction between forms in her art that raise questions about the nature of relationships. The pairing of specific natural and industrial influences is used as a personal investigation of gender identity forced onto both materials and forms. For Kronfield, these gender associations are meant to affect the relationship, adding depth to the inquiry. Her work is created primarily out of cast iron mixed with natural materials such as carved stone, porcelain, or horsehair. They vary in scale from small pedestal pieces and installations to large outdoor commissions. These works can be seen at ElizabethKronfield.com.
She received her BFA from Bowling Green State University and her MFA from University of Georgia. “Biz” has taught, demonstrated, exhibited, and lectured internationally over her 30 year career, showing her work at SanBao Gallery in Jingdezhen, China, The Metals Museum in Memphis, TN, RedBird Gallery in Columbia, SC, Jeske Sculpture Park in Ferguson, MO, The Nebraska Museum of Art, and Gallery r in Rochester, NY. She is Professor of Sculpture and Graduate Director in the School of Art, College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Her work recently shifted from large, heavy, permanent outdoor sculptures to temporary, lightweight, site-specific collaborations utilizing bright bold colors and construction methods. Recent creations include building block towers with her husband, Matt, and 2 year old daughter, Teagan.
Sloss Metal Arts
Sloss Furnaces is a 32-acre blast furnace plant where iron was made from 1882 to 1971, when the plant was closed due to obsolenscence. Reopened in 1983 as a museum and national historic landmark, Sloss sponsors an active arts program that focuses on cast and formed metal sculpture. This metal arts program is rooted in Birmingham’s historic ties to the iron and steel industry. For its first hundred years, Birmingham was a foundry town, the South’s foremost industrial center, and the world’s largest producer of cast iron pipe. No form of art is more suited for creation in Birmingham than cast iron art. Nowhere in Birmingham is it more appropriate than Sloss, where iron was made for ninety years.
Since initiating the metal arts program in 1985, Sloss has offered workshops, exhibitions, and conferences on all aspects of metal working—forging, fabricating and casting—but focuses primarily on the use of cast iron as a sculpture medium. Sloss hosted the First and Second International Conferences on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in 1988 and 1994, respectively, and has organized the biennial National Conference on Cast Iron Art since 1997.
For further information about Sloss Metal Arts, visit SlossMetalArts.com.