Iron Pour heats up campus



By Drew Teague

The art department put on a show for spectators Saturday as it presented an exhibit of molten iron flowing and spilling.

The department hosted its 18th Annual Iron Pour, filling artist’s molds with the molten iron they melted from their own blast furnace as crowds of young and old watched on.

Garry Bibbs, associate professor of art and head of UK sculpture, had been with this event for many years and said the community enjoys the event.

“It’s an event where we invite universities, regional, local and national and the art Lexington community to view an actual pouring of iron,” Bibbs said.

Art studio senior Anthony Caruso said the department did enough pours to make sure all of the molds are filled.

“Based on the number of molds we got, we’ll have to do about 30 to 50 [pours],” Caruso said.

The department made its own machine that artists use to create their own art from start to end, Bibbs said.

“We’ve actually made our own furnaces,” he said. “We’re talking about furnaces that melt iron, so you’re talking about a blast furnace that gets up to about 3000 degrees, that allows the metal to become molten.”

SCRAP Student Sculpture President Club Robin Baker said the molds that students and other artist from across the country made, could take from a couple hours to more than a week to cool.

As the day began for the artists, they had to get their first pot cooking, taking over an hour and 45 minutes to get the first pour ready.

“It takes an hour to burn in the bed, then we’ll add coke and iron from there, fill it to the top,” Caruso said. “Then it takes about 45 minutes from then for the first pot of iron to come out.”

Caruso said after the first pot comes out, it is on a rotation of another pot every 11 to 13 minutes, with the members outside from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The department prepared the iron, poured it from the pot into the furnace and put the molten material in the molds.

As several people held a heated pot, several were ready with shovels, and others were prepared to open the plugged hole of the furnace, releasing the liquid iron into the pot. As artists prepared to pour into molds, a person was pushing the dirty iron to the back, letting the clean iron fall into the molds.

The department sold scratch molds to community members in attendance as a fundraiser. Those who bought a mold scratched into the sand, leaving a design that would be filled with the molten iron.

“I would say we’ve probably already sold close to like 80 scratch blocks,” Caruso said. “Last year we sold almost 200.”

Caruso said all money raised goes back to the shop, because it does operate on a budget.