"Art on Fire"
Iron Pour Art Fest
June 27, 2009

Artists from across the country came together in Wasilla on Saturday, June 27, 2009 to cast unique iron sculptures, create Raku pottery, and engage in other similar “fiery” events at the Second Annual Valley Arts Alliance “ART ON FIRE” Iron Pour Art Fest.

A team, consisting of Pat Garley, who owns Arctic Fires Bronze in Palmer, D’jean Jawrunner, a college professor from New Mexico, Donnie Keen a commercial fountry owner from Houston, Texas, and other local sculptors and skilled metal workers, demonstrated the fascinating 5000 year old iron casting process using a custom designed furnace known as a “cupola”.

Scrap iron was loaded into the cupola, where temperatures of up to 3000 degrees quickly turned it into a pool of molten metal. The artists and sculptors, dressed in fire-resistant suits of leather, poured the molten iron into molds created earlier in the week by artists at Garley’s workshop in Palmer. This cycle of heating and pouring continued throughout the day.

At the same time, artist Karen Lopez, who owns “Still Waters Pottery” in Palmer, conducted her Raku pottery workshop.  Karen provided each participant with a vessel or pot of fired and unglazed ceramic ware, known as bisque. The participants then decorated their vessel with a variety of glazes and fired it in Karen’s special Raku kiln.

After a short firing, the “red hot” vessel was placed inside a metal can full of combustible materials, and the can was then sealed with the “red hot” Raku vessel inside, a process that draws the oxygen out of the vessel and its glaze and is responsible for the unique and completely unpredictable Raku look. See photos of our April 2009 Raku Pottery Party on our ARCHIVES PAGE.

Throughout the day and concurrently with the iron pour and Raku events, the Valley Arts Alliance arranged for demonstrations of blacksmithing, glass flameworking, and Encaustic wax paianting from other skilled local artists, an art exhibit themed "Barn and Beyond", a visit from the Alaska Wild Bird Rehab Center, as well as an exotic dance performance. Live music provided by Grover Neely, Phil White, and Time To Live.

This day was an extraordinary Iron Pour Art Fest in the Valley!