Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Senior Writer 

Metal artists unite

About 30 participated in Mesaland's annual Iron Pour.


March 15, 2017

Thomas Garcia

As the flames rise off the sand molds, D'Jean Jawrunner smooths out some of the molten iron as the crew continues to pour.

Christmas came early Saturday morning at Mesalands Community College for artists who participated in the 19th annual Iron Pour.

"It's just like when you were a kid, you rip through the wrapping to get to the good stuff," said Jacob Burghard of Denton, Texas.

Burghard and more than 30 fellow artists were chipping away at the sand and ceramic molds surrounding their pieces from this year's Iron Pour.

The sand and ceramic molds contain the culmination of the artists' week long efforts.

The artists designed a mold out of wax that was coated in a ceramic shell then hollowed out or carved a design into compressed sand blocks. The molds were then carefully filled with molten hot iron Friday during the pour ceremony.

"This year, we probably poured more than 4,500 pounds of iron," said D'Jean Jawrunner, event coordinator and Mesalands faculty member.

Burghard said he wanted to pour something fun as he chipped through the ceramic molds that contained two sets of 'Sting' a sword from the books and films "Lord of the Rings."

Burghard also cast an iron bell from a mold that was unsuccessfully poured the previous year.

"They were just going to throw the bell mold away," Burghard said. "I knew I could make it work."

The event is such a great environment with friendly people who are so helpful, said Jim Curry of Roswell.

Curry said this is fist first time back to the Iron Pour after taking a five-year break from the event. He said the event is every bit as wonderful as the day he left.

"It was as if I had never left," Curry said. "The people I had met in the previous years were happy to see me, and we picked right back up like we were family."

After being told about the event and attending the aluminum pour during Fired Up! in September, Carlos Barela of Taos said he knew he had to attend this event.

Jawrunner said they had more newcomers this year than in previous years. She said at first, the newcomers were a bit apprehensive during the pouring event.

"After they got their first taste of the event, they were operating like seasoned pros," Jawrunner said.

Jawrunner said many of the newcomers enjoyed the event so much, they have already started making plans to attend next year. She said these newcomers are now experienced in the operations and happenings of the event, so they will be able to help with much of the daily projects and training for next year's new people.

The Iron Pour attracts artists and participants from all across the country, including Bob and Sue Milton of Richardson, Texas.

"This event would not be what it is without D'Jean Jawrunner and Joel Kiser," said Bob Milton.

Milton said Kiser, a Mesalands fine arts faculty member, helped him with his train mold to ensure it poured correctly. He said Jawrunner and Kiser were so supportive and offered their guidance and expertise without any hesitation.

"I do not believe my train would have come out as great as it did without the help of Joel and D'Jean," Milton said.

The event also had several area residents participating, including Susan Stacy of San Jon and Brittany Pulcini of Tucumcari.

"I am really happy with how my pieces came out," Stacy said. "Even if I had a piece that did not turn out well, it is always a learning experience I can carry over into next year."

Stacy's art pieces carried a horse theme, which she said is another one of her passions she has melded into the event.

Pulcini, a junior at Tucumcari High School, said this was her first year taking part in the Iron Pour. She said she has worked with aluminum before but never iron.

"This was a great experience," Pulcini said. "I look forward to next year's event."


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