"Art on Fire"
Iron Pour Art Fest
June 25, 2011

The Valley Arts Alliance conducted their Fourth Annual VAA Art on Fire Iron Pour Art Fest event on Saturday, June 25, 2011 at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla. Artists from across the country gathered to cast unique iron sculptures, create Raku pottery, and engage in other similar “fiery” events.

A team of skilled foundry men and women, consisting of Pat Garley, who owns Arctic Fires Bronze in Palmer, D’jean Jawrunner, a college professor from New Mexico who teaches metal casting, Donnie Keen a commercial foundry 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.

In the weeks preceding this event, Pat Garley offered workshops in metal casting and mold making at his studio in Palmer. These workshops concluded at the VAA Art on Fire Iron Pour Art Fest, when these molds were poured with liquid iron from the fiery cupola. This cycle of heating and melting scrap iron, and pouring the liquid iron into the artist’s molds continued throughout the day.

Artist Karen Lopez, who owns “Still Waters Pottery” in Palmer, conducted her Raku pottery workshop, providing each participant with a vessel or pot of unglazed ceramic ware, known as bisque, which the participants decorated with a variety of glazes and then fired in one of Karen’s special Raku kilns. After a short firing, the “red hot” vessels were placed inside a metal can full of combustible materials, a process that draws the oxygen out of the glaze and is responsible for the unique and completely unpredictable Raku look.

The Association of Alaskan Blacksmiths demonstrated blacksmithing techniques and Judy Vars demonstrated Encaustic wax painting. The Sahara Storm Tribal Dance Troupe performed and the Alaska Wild Bird Rehab Center displayed live rescued birds.

Outstanding acoustic music was provided by John Alexandroff, Bridgette Berry, Amy Beth, Corey Bjerken, Josh Fryfogle, Will Johnson, Janet Metzner, Sean Mormelo, Grover Neely, and Marietta Reid.

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