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Panels & Presentations

Toxic and Toxins: Self-Care in the Iron Community


Ashley Hope Carlisle, University of Wyoming

Jeremy Colbert, University of Kentucky

Hannah Dunham, Organizational Psychologist

Heather Spencer Holmes, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Hugh Patton, Sculptor

Jenn Peek, Sculptor and Graduate Student - University of Oklahoma

Mediator: April Terra Livingston, Auburn University at Montgomery

This panel will endeavor to discuss the current evolution in concepts pertaining to both physical and mental health and how these changes may impact the iron art casting community. Panel members were chosen for their unique perspectives on art and work. Each contributes personal experiences and unique individual approaches to health and self-care. This panel was created from the belief that discussion of iron work ethic is needed. We call for a 'shift change' for the mind/body approach used to make cast iron sculpture and champion healthier, more inclusive modes of thought and effort 

FeNix Iron Casting


Britt Clark, FeNix

Cricket Forge, Liberty Arts

Tripp Jarvis, FeNix, Josh's Hope Foundation, Liberty Arts

Join the owners of the newly founded FeNix Iron Casting LLC, Britt Clark and Tripp Jarvis, for a panel discussion on the ideology of the passing of knowledge within the world of metal casting. This talk will use the family tree of North Carolina casters as an example of the progression and inclusivity of the trading of hands within our community. Find out how they use their dynamic as business partners as a tool to help bolster and expand their community and spark discussion on what the iron casting world could do to further its preservation and meaningful, inclusive growth. 

The Chicago Ave. Fire Arts Center: Iron in Minneapolis, MN 


Brighton McCormick, McCormick Sculpture and the Chicago Ave Fire Arts Center Jess Bergman Tank, Chicago Ave Fire Arts Center

The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center (CAFAC) is a non-profit arts organization that fills a unique niche in the Twin Cities. We focus on art forms produced using heat, spark, or flame: blacksmithing, enameling, glass, jewelry making, metal casting, neon, sculptural welding, and more. The pillars of our programming are arts education, artist support, and public art, which together provide a platform for social impact and community-driven resources. Located at George Floyd Square, CAFAC is in the process of building a new foundry space, repurposing donated tools and materials from the UMN and Franconia, and getting the iron following again in Minneapolis!

Sustainability in Metal Casting: Alternative Patterns and Moldmaking Material


Jake Weigel, California State University, Stanislaus

This presentation discusses environmentally friendly alternatives for patterns and mold making in metal casting. A majority of the presentation discusses 3D printing with non-petroleum-based filament used in pattern making for investment and sand molds as well as 3D printed molds for casting wax patterns. Processes for creating a 3D printed patterns and molds go into details that include technical 3D printing parameters for hollow patterns and methods for combining 3D printing with other material. Mycelium cultivation using oyster mushrooms (pleurotus ostreatus) for patterns will also be discussed .

Methods to the Madness


Stacey Rathert, University of Mississippi

We share a great deal of knowledge about the material and process of cast iron at our conferences, which we take with us when we return to our respective corners of the world and pass on to others. For those working in academia or settings with the opportunity to teach, returning from conferences with new information inspires more engaging instruction and innovative ideas in the classroom. The actual process of translating this knowledge into something digestible for students is an art in itself and isn’t talked about at iron conferences as frequently as the raw material and process. Considering the theme of Shift Change, passing on knowledge from one to another, the goal of this presentation is to share the actual tools and methods used in our classrooms and foundries to teach the next generation of sculptors. Format for this presentation is invitational slide roulette.


Reigniting the Fire: Creating a National Metal Arts Center in the Heart of Memphis


Madison Miller, Metal Museum

Experiencing tremendous growth in the last decade, the Metal Museum, the only one of its kind in North America, has launched a capital and endowment campaign to create a vibrant arts center that builds the Museum’s capacity to serve its audiences and advance its mission. 

Through the campaign, the Metal Museum will transform a famous, historic mid-century modern building in the heart of Memphis into a state-of-the-art museum facility, metals studio, and education center. This dramatic transformation not only accommodates the physical growth of the Museum but also offers arts and education programs for the Memphis community and beyond. Learn how the Museum will be elevated into an internationally recognized, world-class center for the metal arts, and how reigniting this iconic Memphis landmark will allow visitors from all walks of life to gather, connect, and create.

Safety First?


Gerry Masse, Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum

Tracey Pfaff, Sculpture Trails Safety Officer

Various Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum Artists

Here is a quick run down of the Sculpture Trails safety tips given to the inters and artists just before they pour 30,000 pounds of iron during the Cast Iron Sculpture Workshops at the Sculpture Trails every July.   Sculpture Trails safety officer, Tracey Pfaff, along with Gerry Masse, and a few Trails artists, share the most dangerous iron pour expereinces they've been involved in and what they could have done to protect themselves. Tracey has responded to the safety needs of our interns and continues to keep us safe while enduring a truly challenging internship. 

Changes in Seeing, Changes in Knowing, Changes in Making


Elizabeth Kronfield, School of Art and School for American Crafts, Rochester Institute of Technology

Allen Peterson, Kennesaw State University

Mary Neubauer,  Arizona State University

Vaughn Randall: State University of New York Cortland

This panel seeks to understand how artists evolve their conceptual practice through repetition of (or despite the repetition of) process. How do artists continue to change ideas when things such as mold-making, charging, patinas, or other technical aspects of making are no longer "new". We all find inspiration in learning, so how does this learning shift when the techincal becomes the ordinary, "suprises" or "happy mistakes" no longer occur due to mastery or even familiarity of materials and processes. Panelists will be asked to share their insights on their continuance of a practice long after the thrill of the new is gone and the literal fire is extinguished. 

Makin' A Way, Out of No Way - Public History/Arts Inspiration Series 1 ; Art and the Possibility of HeaIing in Bearing Witness: Praise House/Sun Shadows and The Northport School Project of Tuscaloosa


Tony Bingham, Miles College 

Dr. Julia Brock, University of Alabama

How can art contribute to a community healing process? Praise House honors histories of enslaved and descendant community members, who have a legacy of connections to the Wallance Plantation in Harpersville, AL. The onlgoing Northport School Project in Tuscaloosa connects public history and social practice art making as it evolves. Public history practice draws from multidisciplinary methods to share and preserve the past. In the past decade, public historians have partnered with artists to reveal the affective dimensions of history that often cannot be accessed through textual representation. This panel explores the possibilities of collaboration between artists and public historians. 

What I learned at Keen Foundry


Kurt Dyrhaug, Lamar University

Erin Cummingham, The University of Texas at Austin

Eric Fuertes, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Stacey Holloway, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Butch Jack, Contemporary Sculptor

Donnie Keen, Keen Foundry

Wayne Potraz, Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota

Luke Sides, Collin College

Jen Torres, University of Southern Mississippi 

This panel will address making cast iron art in an industrial foundry. All panelists have participated in the Keen Foundry International Symposium that has taken place between 2004-2019. Panelists will share their expereinces with how an industrial foundry has changed their technical and aesthetic decisions. -How does one approach an industrial foundry to amke your castings? -Why would an industrial foundry open their doors to artists and students? -How do you interact with foundry employees and supervisors? -What are the benefits for an indusstrial foundry working with artists? 

Shift Change: Recipe Book


Stacey Holloway, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Christyn Overstake

Shift Change: Recipe Book' will be a short presentation that introduces the collaborative project of a composed book of recipes from our fine art iron processes and community. For example: bot, bottom sand, ceramic shell slurry, and green sand mixures; furnace diagrams; tricks and tips with sand molds; hand-drawn directions of choreography of a performance; notes from a demo; a recipe of cupola cupcakes; etc. This presentaiton will be followed by an interactive forum discussion with the audience and all will be invited to contribute their "recipe". 

Mind Your Own Business: Finding work other than academia and building your own creative hustle.


Jen Torres

Kelly R. Ludeking

Corrina Sephora Mensoff

Phil Proctor

Isaac Duncan

A two-part panel that starts with a discussion on artists/sculptors developing opportunities, networks, and building skills in a variety of work environments that support entrepreneurship that leads to creating a business. Part two will focus on the items needed to start a formal business including how to register a business, developing a business plan, insurance, liability, etc. Ideally the discussion will circle back to and reinforce the concept of mentoring others, continued skills building and, diversification to keep a business healthy, keep money in your pocket and, to pass on the knowledge.

Critique Shift: The Things I Love/Hate About Iron


Wayne Portraz, Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota

LX Aguirre, FeNIX Initiative

Kurt Dyrhaug, Lamar University

Toby Flores, Fort Hayes State University

Brighton McCormick, McCormick Sculpture and the Chicago Ave Fire Arts Center

How can we critique our practice and process at the time of a cultural shift into digital technology, climate change, and aesthetic/political uncertainty? How does good practice and bad practice morph through our community? What positive practice upholds and nourishes our community?

An Iron Event in the Making


Kip Jones, Ontario College of Art & Design University

An Iron Event in the Making is a presentation on and about the Canadian Society of Contemporary Iron Arts (CSCIA) and what we are up to cast iron wise in the Toronto area. IT will give an insight to our journey into the process of creating an annual public cast iron event, the notion of which began in the spring of 2019. The hope is we will finally host our first event this June in the city of Hamilton, which is the nationally recognized "steel town".

FeNIX Initiative (Iron Networking, Involvement, and Cross-Pollination)


LX Aguirre, FeNIX Initiative

Jay Elias, Evolution Art Studio and Henry Ford College

The Iron Networking, Involvement, and Cross-Pollination (FeNIX) Initiative; is a coin-centric advocacy for iron casting. The Initiative's goal is to introduce the concept of the US military's tradition of challenge coins, encourage their adoption within the cast iron community, and create a tool to greet, attract, rally, or mobilize casters, artists, veterans, and other participants during iron casting events/ Individual organizations would create their own coins, and use them to diretly challenge others to attend pours. The aim is to avail an icebreaker to welcome others, bring distant casters together, and provide an opportunity to learn from other casters. 

Metal Health


Jay Elias, Evolution Art Studio, Henry Ford College
Adam Hazlett, Henry Ford College

Upon my discharge from the Marine Corps in 1991, I suffered terribly from the effects of PTSD. This led me down a path of self-destruction which eventually turned into an 11 yr. prison sentence.
In 2014 I met Casey Westbrook. He was a talented and amazing human who introduced me to the cast iron community, and through the creative process I began to explore the possibility of allowing myself to be vulnerable again by making things. As I found my voice, I discovered that many metaphors exist in the process of making cast iron art, and it felt natural using this creative expression to tell my story and help others heal from trauma.
I am currently pursuing a degree in psychology and a master’s in art therapy. My goal is to make art and the creative process available to all through a program I’m developing called METAL HEALTH®. It focuses on self-expression and healing from trauma through the cast iron foundry
This panel will focus on the work I am currently doing and how it ties into the theme of “Shift Change,” as I carry on the legacy of Casey’s work…always learning, always teaching.

Why Iron?


Alexandra Rose, Sloss Metal Arts

I've been asked this question countless times, and now I want to ask you! What is it about this material that draws you in? What keeps you coming back for more? This panel will be a community gathering to reflect on why we used iron in our pratcies, wheather you are just starting out, or have built a career on iron. Depending on attendance, responses will be kept to a 3-5 minute maximum as we want to hear from as many makers as possible! Answers will be documented to broaden our understanding of what connects us to this material.


ICCCIA: Looking Back and Looking Forward


Lance Vickery, University of North Florida

After a successful 9th International Conference of Contemporary Cast Iron Art in
Germany, the ICCCIA organization would like to recap the conference in
Germany this past fall. Additionally, we will be exploring ideas for the next
conference. Where should it be? What should be the aim and goals of the

Black Hole Gong: Universal Connection Through Frequency


Sarah Harling, Colorado School of Mines

Adam Zimmer, Denver 3D Print Company

What would a black hole sound like if it were a gong? Most of our experiences with deep space and the universe beyond earth are abstract. Experiencing the information that we have gathered often requires visual sight or a deep understanding of physics. Recently, the sound of a black hole was captured by NASA, octaves below what can be heard by the human ear. That sound was brought into a range we can hear by a project called System Sounds. Through an artist’s residency at the Colorado school of Mines and extensive collaboration with engineers, artists and musicians, we spent the 2022 year transforming a custom musical scale written by an Avant Garde performance collective into a set of bronze gongs and metallophones. We will discuss how material property analysis, CAD pattern design, and traditional bell tuning led our group to develop a process for transforming a desired note to a real playable object which was performed at the Fillmore in Denver. We will then discuss how that process can be used to translate the sonification of a black hole to a gong that we can stand next to and experience in person, connecting with a vast universal body in our own inner ear.

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