Iron pour brings diverse crowd to Mesalands

Thomas Garcia

Students and guests of Mesalands Community Colleges’ fine arts program prepared for the college’s annual iron pour Tuesday.

The event marks a stimulation of creative freedom, a collaboration of expression, all in the wake of pouring molten iron into unique pieces of art.

The different styles of artwork, which will take form on Friday, is as elaborate and lively as the group of artists creating the pieces.

“I am making a rag doll,” said Robin Ringrose of Denver. “I will pour the iron into the molds then drill holes in the pieces and fashion the doll.”

Another artist, Dana Chodzko, head of the sculpture department at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is working to complete a conceptual art project she has been working on for several years.

“I will use text and turn it into form,” Chodzko said. “The idea is as important as the visual.”

Chodzko has fashioned a series of four words into her latest pieces. She said the “information tower will pour into the knowledge bowl, that grows into the wisdom bush which becomes the ultimate evolution: Truth.”

Joel Kiser, coordinator of the art lab at Collins Community College in Plano, Texas, has attended the pour for the past three years.

However, this year he has decided to bring two of his classes to the pour with them to give them a new experience in arts.

“We have the ability to work with bronze and aluminum but not iron,” Kiser said. “This gives them exposure to a different segment of art, which only helps to expand their learning.”

Kiser said it was an easy decision to bring the students to the pour because of the outstanding quality of the program and event along with the hospitality of the community.

“The town has been so supportive since our arrival,” Kiser said. “The townspeople along with Mesalands staff makes this an experience worth sharing with the students.”

The wax pieces which the artists were working on will be made into molds of either ceramic or bonded sand. Liz Henley of Eastern Carolina University has been attending and helping out with the iron pour for the past eight years.

“It is a great feeling to be involved in the pour, not just as an artist but as one in the background,” Henley said. “We have people from across the country come here to be a part of this event.”

On Friday at noon the artists will add the molten iron and, once cooled, their work takes form.