Iron Pour

Now is summertime and all that comes with it, including travel, humidity and iron pours. This was only my second time out to Solsberry, Indiana where there are sculpture trails, as well as labor- and heat-intensive creativity going on.

My friends and I went out to last night’s iron pour, and it was quite a sight. If you happened upon the scene unwittingly, I’m sure it would be quite surreal. It is a very remote location and the work going on is like something from The Lord of the Rings. (Think dwarves working at their fires.)

Iron Pour

When you attend the iron (or aluminum) pour, you can buy a sand/resin mold to carve your own design to have made into a lovely iron (aluminum) cast. My family and I did this once before, and it’s a lot of fun to sit and talk at the tables with other visitors and see what everyone is doing. This visit I knew to bring paper and pencils to plan my design, and I also brought some tools. I shared paper with kids, teenagers and adults.

I spent at least an hour carving a smooth-surfaced abstract design, playing with varying depths to see how it would cast.

Rough Sketch for my Design

Much to my surprise, the end product looked nothing like my design, in fact it was barely recognizable as mine.

Failed Casting

Now there were plenty of other pieces that had smooth surfaces, so it was a puzzle to me why mine had turned into this.

I returned to ask one of the workers there if they could explain what had happened. The piece was passed from hand to hand, and at last enough people had seen it and put the story together: earlier in the day, someone had spilled water on a few of the molds. Mine had obviously still been wet, so when the hot iron was poured into it, it bubbled and spit and this is what emerged in the end.

I understand that the process of making art is often unpredictable and these things happen, but it was a disappointment. My consolation is that it happened to mine and not to one that belonged to a child that had sat and worked so hard to carve the letters of his name backward into the mold.

And next time I’ll know to make sure my sand/resin mold is dry.

Taking It Easy

Sometimes while I’m thinking about things, I get these really great ideas. Really ambitious ideas. But I don’t follow through on them because they suddenly seem undoable. Is it just because I’ve failed to follow through before? Is it self-doubt?

I am reading a book called Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister. It’s really interesting and hopefully it will help me strengthen and use my own will power. There was a story in the book about a woman who was overweight and her doctor said she should just march in place for 1 minute a day. She did, and soon she decided to increase that time to 5 minutes. After that she did more and more, until eventually she was hitting the gym regularly.

So that’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m aiming low, which for me means to make small drawings, and to do whatever I want, not search around for an “appropriate” subject. Yesterday I made this sort-of doodle. It wasn’t just a doodle, which I would describe as aimless –no original idea of how you want it to look in the end. It’s not that, because I had this picture in my head once when I closed my eyes. (I see a lot of really cool stuff that way.) And so, if I can, I will try to recreate those images on paper.

Here is small drawing #1, about 3″ x 5″.


Not a Doodle