Lately, I have been interested in casting metal. I have a good friend that wants to set up a bronze foundry operation and between the two of us, we are both going to realize our dreams. By the end of the 2011, I think we will be up and running. I have a relatively new friend that is a sculptor over in Edwardsville, Illinois and she has the ability and the skills- she used to work in a foundry- to cast metal. As I was talking to her, she mentioned that there was a weeklong workshop nearby that was going to teach mold making and pour iron. Little did I realize that cast iron sculpture is becoming a big thing nationally. Though it is a recent development, everyone points to Sloss Furnaces where turning hot iron into art began. Anyway, my new friend, Snail Scott told me about this week long hot iron work shop at a new art foundry in Granite City Illinois called "Six Mile Sculpture Works". I found out too late to get involved, but not too late to go over and see the action as a spectator. Pictured here is the mold making activity.

These mixers mix sand and some kind of polyester binder that gives you 10 or 15 minutes to turn it into a mold. That is my buddy, Rich, on the left.

Noah Kirby and his wife, (I don't know her name as I did not meet her) are the prime movers behind Six Mile. That is Noah in the blue tee shirt.

After three or four days of making molds, they are ready to fire the furnaces. Here all the molds are lines up waiting for the hot metal.

Here is my friend, Snail Scott, putting the finishing touches on a mold. Note the hot suit. Pouring iron is dirty and dangerous.

You have to be covered head to toe.

Here is one of two furnaces that were fired up for the pour. They heat the furnace for an hour or two, throw some football sized pieces of coke into the furnace and when that is hot hot, they throw layers of ingredients in the furnace. The mix is something like a 25# layer of iron- old bathtubs and radiators broken up into manageable sizes- then a layer of small chucks of coke- maybe 6 or 8 pounds and a few pieces of limestone, which melts and acts as a flux. They put these layers on top one another until the furnace is full. You quickly see the raw materials settle as they melt and then the pour begins.

Is it any wonder you want to be cover head to toe in a fire suit!!!

The hot metal flows from the furnace into a pre-heated crucible that two people manage and then pour into the molds. It is exciting, but dirty, heavy and dangerous work. Unfortunately, I was not around to see the results!

As you probably know, I have been offering pots on eBay at no reserve. One little gourd pictured here went to Sharon, who is building quite a collection at give away prices!

This Dragonfly pot is at $217 as I type this. Three more days to go. Jump in and get your feet wet!

I thought I would show you this little painting I bought. This is by Mick McGinty whose stuff I love. He has not been posting to eBay lately, but usually there is a piece of his on there every week. Another person I admire that markets on eBay is Abbey Ryan. I feel like I stole the McGinty picture at $100!

If you follow this site, you will know of this little statue called "Carl- with attachments". It is ready to be painted and it should be done by the end of the month. I have to fabricate some things that he will be "wearing". Check back in a month and you will see what I am talking about.

Here is another figure I made recently. It has something to do with elevating pottery beyond craft. Or at least recognizing what an important place pottery has occupied in history- how it transmits history to us in the present day.


So, I made that figure and it has to have some kind of base. Without thinking, I started making miniatures of historic ceramics. Here is an Roman amphora, a Meiping vase and a Greek Krater vase.

When I began to think of "modern" representations of ceramics, I decided to make a small sculpture of Robert Arneson. It starts like this...

and turns into this.

To represent English (studio) ceramics, I chose the The Martin Brothers.

So without really thinking, I end up making all these small examples of what I consider important- or representative- historic pottery. My thought is that I will somehow turn it all into a base to support the figure holding the vase up high.

At first I thought I would attach the figure on top of the small diorama of pots. Nope. It would be too fragile and somehow, the figure detracted from the piece I had already made.

So, I make another base and incorporate the figure into the base as if it were just another historic piece of pottery. Mind you, you may not think this it "important", but it is and will be. (I hope.)

So, I make the second base that has 18 small examples of "pottery" through time. Left to right: , cuniform tablet, Colima dog, Martin Brothers tobacco jar, archic fertility figure, me, a Greek Krater pot, Mingei tea bowl, Anasazi pot, Chinese porcelain, buried Chinese army figure, an Egyptian ushabti, a scarab,an Arabic tile, Robert Arneson and one or two pieces you can't see.

Oh, and everything is resting on a book. The book will have the title "The Lowly Pot" -authored by Eberhardt. It is going to be tough to glaze!

Check back in 2011. Ans may 2011 be a healthy and prosperous New Year for each of you!