Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Iron Pour Continues Annual Tradition December 13

Annual holiday iron pour and silent auction
2 p.m. Dec. 13
Edgewood Sculpture Studio, 184 Edgewood Ave. S.E., Atlanta
For information: E-mail George Beasley at

Flowing easily from the ladle and splashing into the molds below, it’s easier to compare the orange liquid to water than to metal. But that’s exactly what it is, molten iron so hot the artists handling it are forced to suit up in tough leathers and protective headgear.

“It’s very scary-looking,” says George Beasley, a professor in Georgia State’s School of Art and Design. “But, you know, that’s part of the drama. It’s almost medieval.”

Every year, Georgia State sculpture students, faculty and alumni come together for the annual Holiday Iron Pour, a celebration of their craft and a chance for the uninitiated to take a peek at this very physical art form. For a small donation, anyone can make a scratch mold, and sculpture students will cast the molten iron to create take-home souvenirs.

“Usually, the children love it,” Beasley says. “Last year, we did 150 of those. So it’s children and their parents and then anybody who wants to. We prepare the sand mold in advance and so all you have to do is just carve into it. We have all the tools and equipment.”

The tradition started in the early ‘70s and is one of the longest-running annual iron pours in the United States. It owes its origins to a handful of students who were getting antsy as the winter holidays approached.

“My students were right at the end of the fall semester and started doing all these knick-knacks and Christmas presents and stuff, and I got really mad about that,” Beasley recalls with a laugh. “I said, ‘You’re supposed to be making sculptures. If you just wait until after the semester, I’ll run a special iron pour and you can do Christmas presents.’ And that became kind of like a party, and it grew and it grew and it grew.”

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