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.
Toby was born in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1971. He studied printmaking, drawing and sculpture in San Diego receiving a BA from San Diego State University in 2000. At SDSU he changed his major from printmaking to sculpture after learning to work with metal under master sculptor Gerald Dumlao. He studied sculpture and blacksmithing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale receiving an MFA in 2003. He currently lives and works in Hays, Kansas with his wife, Libby and their son, Oscar. Their oldest son, Cooper, lives in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Toby has been teaching sculpture at Fort Hays State University for the past sixteen years. He has shown his work in over one hundred and sixty exhibitions throughout the United States, Germany, Wales and China.
David Lobdell: Born in Lafayette, Louisiana. He received his undergraduate degree in sculpture in 1979 from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and his M.F.A. in 1982 from the University of Notre Dame. He worked for a decade in foundries, potteries and as a commissioned artist before taking a full-time teaching position. He has taught at New Mexico Highlands University since 1991 and has recently ended his service as Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Art. NMHU holds the Iron Tribe Exhibit biannually since 2001. His work addresses the relationship between ceramics, casting and ritual.
A Shift Change in an industrial setting generally focuses on the immediate, but it also requires the passing of prior knowledge. The committee seeks artworks, demos, performances, workshops, and panels that will address this concept. Where are we right now, and where are we headed? Since our last in-person meeting at SLOSS, so much has transpired. We understand that subtle changes are always happening in the cast-iron community, but we must stay connected to our past as artists. Therefore, the committee also welcomes extended discussions that preserve our trajectory as an iron community. Everyone is welcome.
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 obsolescence. Reopened in 1983 as a museum and national historic landmark, Sloss sponsors an active arts program that focuses on 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.