Minimally supervised college kids gathered to pour molten iron!
This is the mid-semester project for two groups of students; one that is interested in casting (i.e. sculpture), the other in events planning.
and we entered a courtyard set up for a party. A loud heavy metal band energized the crowd while iron-workers (IWs) stoked 2 furnaces with bags of coke, a low-smoke derivative of coal. The sky lit up with fireworks of ash and a brilliant glow.
Campus security thought they were helping by dragging out a garden hose. Obviously, everyone feared a Johnny Tremain moment, but a trickle of water was not going to make a difference at 3000 degrees.
A student in medieval costume swigged some lamp oil and began to blow fire at us as the IWs, wearing asbestos coats and silver face paint, began to hammer the clay plug at the base of the furnace. A massive two handled ladle was brought near, and the glowing molten metal flowed like the rivers of Hell. Distributed by two brave casters, it oozed down wooden troughs onto burning pumpkins, and dripped onto logs creating a cloud of sparks that enveloped the crowd.
As we waited for the second pouring, trying to stay warm by drinking coffee, I was amused to hear a girl with a sweet tooth say “nice night for a cookie.”
In my head....
My expectation for the evening had been either a scene resembling Meatloaf's 'Bat Out of Hell' album cover or a play called Cellini. It’s a rather meladramtic memoir of Benvenuto Cellini, the Renaissance Florentine artist famous for his sculpture of Perseus standing on the corpse of Medusa and holding her head aloft. The bronze casting in the second act is very much about the finished piece and the reputation of the artist; a highly choreographed event with as much of the artists’ ego as metal being poured into the mold. ‘Iron Pour’ is about creating community in the moment of an exciting and dangerous event. I may need to get to a Cirque show in Vegas to top this.