The National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art and Practices features performances that make use of the process of casting iron to express artistic intent, and add to the conceptual discourse. We also feature non-iron specific or iron hybrid performances!



Kenneth Payne

SUNY Buffalo State


The Reverend Doctor Payne and his extra-stellar crew of fallen miscreant angels present a lavish indulgence into unadulterated pyrotechnica. Molten fire caresses sumptuous blocks of the purest ice, augmented by explosive highlights, echoing the first passionate kiss in the Garden of Eden, the beginning of time when the spirit of Iron was unleashed.


Historic love stories unfold of Isis and Osiris, Tristan and Isolde, and the iron passion of Ogun for Ochun in this pyro-theatrical composition. Confront your own passionate love for iron and watch it unfurl in a burning trail of temptation. Experience the beginning of creation as the swirling trail of cyclonic gasses blaze into the night sky and cool into the first molecules of iron.

Siege of the Pyre

Marshall Christie

Director, Sloss Metal Arts


The siege of a bonfire by trebuchet, an honored tradition at Sloss, marks the passing of the loved and lost. We remember our friend and fellow iron caster, Casey Westbrook

Performance Furnace:


10" cupolette

Alyssa Imes and Lauren Koch, We Are Women

Phil-Us is a 10-inch cupolette built by Alyssa Imes in 2017. Alyssa completed the furnace under the skilled instruction of Christian Benefiel and Kay Dartt during her undergraduate education at Shepherd University in West Virginia. Phil-Us has been featured at demonstration iron pours in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Her core crew is comprised of Shepherd University alumni, Alyssa Imes, Kyla Johnson, and Erin Bennett, who met and conscripted Lauren Koch, UWG alumni and UMD grad student, at Sloss during NCCCIAP 2017. Their ranks expand often to include experienced iron casters as well as those just learning the casting processes. During her run in 2019, Hannah Hones and Kay Dartt will be joining the crew again in addition to Ronda Wright, April Terra Livingston, Jackie Fischer, Haley Hester, Kay Dartt and Z Zhou.

We Are Women

Alyssa Imes

Ice Lab, Baltimore, MD

Lauren Koch

University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD


In the fall of 2018, Alyssa created the “We Are Women” performance in correlation with the Shepherd University Community Iron Pour, which was funded by the Women of Shepherd Foundation. Each woman picks a word that they feel represents there true self. These words are cast and then at the end of the pour, each woman raises their cast iron word high and declares it! The words vary from happy, determined, unapologetic, sensitive, etc. Once each word is said, then in unison their battle cry is heard, "We Are Women!” This performance is about women embracing who they are as female, artists, and iron casters.

Quiet Practice II: With Grit and Grace

Emily Baker

University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Quiet Practice II : With Grit and Grace is performed with a crew of all women or women-identifying casters. This piece is not about spectacle or explosions, but meant to counteract the aggressive, reactive performance pours. Similar to how a farmer prepares a plot, rows of sand will be tilled and will house molds of seed pods and other large fruit pits. As a metaphor for our commitment to teaching this craft to others, this performance is meant to give thanks to new iron friends, while also creating a space for others to join in. Touching on themes of fertility, community, and new life: new life as in the new work created within the molds, as in the inclusion of those new to iron casting, and as in the potential of a new generation of iron casters. The totality of the process thus invokes the paradigms of creation in an all encompassing way.

A Woman’s Place (semiotics of the domestic)

Lisa Evans

Artist, Carmarthen School of Art, Wales, UK


A Woman’s Place (semiotics of the domestic) emphasizes how a woman and her implements disrupt the familiar system of everyday meanings. An all-female crew conducts a production pour to encompass the live aspect. The performance features "a daily routine" parallel the conceptual aesthetic of the domestic. The presence of women in industry, specifically foundry work continues to bear concerns and prove challenging. This performance is an attempt to celebrate a female presence and to work with international artists to form dialogues and expand practices employing collaborative exchanges.


Tobias Flores

Associate Professor, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS


Carnival style ring-toss game featuring original sculptures by Zane Mahanna, Luke Sides, Joel Kiser, and Toby Flores. Conference participants can try their luck to win sculptures from some the biggest artists in the southwest.

Harder Barter Market

Kristen Tordella-Williams

Assistant Professor, Millsaps College, Jackson, MS

Jenny Hillenbrand

Programs Director, Salem Art Works, Salem, NY


The Harder Barter Market invites conference attendees to trade their goods in a fun, festive arena mediated by Lifetime Guarantee (a performance and sculpture collaboration between Hillenbrand and Tordella-Williams). Participants will enter the Market arena with all goods in hand and barter to their heart’s content until the hour is up!

Performance Furnace:


14” cupola

Kelly Ludeking

KRLMetals, Ironhead Sculptural Services, LLC, St. Paul, MN


Eleanor was born in early spring of 2010 from the philosophies of her creators, Eric Stephenson and Kelly Ludeking.

She sprouted into a Beautiful Hot Rod Cupola fashioned after Kelly and Ironhead Sculptural Services business partner Brad Hertko's first brain child. This differently engineered machine was so successful, it became inevitable that there would be a creation of multiple other furnaces affectionately referred to as Hot Rods. Her body is only 4' tall with a 14" ID, 1 1/2"- 2" of refractory, and a crown of flames. All this makes for a furnace that can light up and be pouring iron within the hour of a flame touching it. It is also light enough and manageable to assemble with a small crew without mechanical assistance.

Eleanor reaped the benefits of Eric's long history of studying the human form and in helping to bring her to life. He infuses elegant design into every object he makes regardless of its function. The pleasure of creating Eleanor was the ease and flow between Kelly and Eric to combine performance and beauty into one rocking beast of an iron furnace.






Performance Furnace:


12” cupola

Andrew Marsh & Feral Fagiola

BLDG 15 Studios, Louisville, KY

This 12" cupola was immaculately conceived by Marty Linson and the students of Lindenwood University in 2010. Originally dubbed "The Blessed Mother Without Her Makeup," this workhorse fired and inspired in sanctimonious style for 5 years before succumbing to slow rotting death. In 2016, Andrew traded for her remains and pilgrimaged with Feral to Sloss, where they rebuilt her decayed body, lifeless respiratory system, and crumbled intestines, thus forging an evil beast to reign unholy despair and endless torture upon the lazy and annoying.


Emerging from the pit of broken hearts, her demented crew desecrated the new year 2017 with boiling iron from their fallen "Lucifer," or "LUCI," in memory of Lindenwood University Cast Iron. With Andrew, Feral, and Katerina Nissa at LUCI's command, she laid waste to Marsh's Walking Wounded (2015) installation at Sloss alongside Gerry Masse's LADY ROY in the dashuhua burn performance Compos Mentis with Marjee Levine to open 2017's NCCCIAP. For the 2019 conference, LUCI devours the earth and bleeds molten metal with her crew of the damned, joined by lost souls Gwen Chiu and Eric Fuertes, before retiring to her hellish realm at BLDG 15 Studios in Louisville, KY to feed on epidemic insanity.

The Golden Ballot Box and Other Reactions

Chris Meyers

University of South Dakota, Western Cast Iron Art Alliance

A reaction molds spectacular, which will include ice molds, log molds (which are part of Shelter Belt, an ongoing series Chris is currently developing into an installation), and the Golden Ballot Box -- a gold spray painted toilet.

The Ferrous Garden: Boom and Bloom

Coral Penelope Lambert

Alfred University

Sound by Paul Higham 

Within the shadows of iron’s industrial past ‘The Ferrous Garden’ can be experienced as a contemplative landscape of seed like sculptures during the day. As the dark veil of night encompasses the garden it is activated through a choreographed iron pour performance. Ignited it will come alive, full of color, mysterious, reactionary and glowing. The act of casting iron is akin to planting seeds, the molten iron will activate the seeds like water from which flowers ferociously bloom. Almost violent, the nature of this destructive act such as burning something with great heat also provides aspects of beauty, awe and rebirth, it is the giver of new life from old.

The Gates of Hephaestus

Rich Stewart and Bret Daniels

Chief Performance Monkeys


Inspired by Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, Rich and Bret construct a modern reinterpretation of his work, utilizing pop culture themed maquettes in an exploration of contemporary sin. Molten iron flows over and through the form and into a reaction base in a ritual cleansing.


Phen Wheel 9 / Ferrous Wheel

Stephen (Phen) Edwards

Master Carver at Swanson Stone Sculpture


Pyro dancing, fire breathing and an iron ‘Pherrous’ wheel. Layers of solid and liquid iron rotating at the core of earth make life on our planet possible by providing our magnetosphere. By creating rotating wheels and pouring liquid iron on them, Phen celebrates how iron protects our planet. This will be Phen’s 9th Phen wheel in an ongoing series of performances.

FerrouSutra: Thunderboxes and Rolliemolds

Kelly Ludeking

KLMetals & Ironhead Sculptural Service, LLC

Kelly’s unique mold making and iron casting style reaches its zenith as thunderboxes erupt and rolliemolds go for a spin!


Sloss Furnaces 

20 32nd St N

Birmingham, AL 35222

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© 2019 design by Feral Fagiola.