Recently, UW-Whitewater’s art department held an iron pouring outside the Greenhill Center building. There, those that have made molds or those that have just come to see what was going on were able to witness the iron melt and pour metal step by step. Considering the cold day, any chance for warmth is appreciated.

The program itself is a fundraiser for the sculpture department, raising money to buy tools for the students. Some students were simply there to learn the process itself, while others were making their own pieces for other projects. Brianna Krueger was one of these students, creating pieces for her part in the BFA Senior Exhibition in December before her graduation.

Brianna Krueger with her life-sized figure, fresh out the mold

“What’s most exciting is seeing your sculpture your working on you made in wax or something, and then its cast in a different material that you haven’t seen it in before,” said Kruger. She started sculpturing around two years ago, and has made an iron cast of her arm for her show as well.

One of the participants helping has been a part of this life for around four years ever since being an undergraduate. Taylor McDarison, founder of Arttayisa, LLC, finds events like the iron pour to be exciting and fun.

“I’m kind of a pyro at heart, so I really love the molten metal. I love working with dangerous metal. You’re reminded you’re alive,” McDarison stated. She has previously created several metalwork and art pieces that she shows throughout various social media platforms.

The process itself is straightforward, but interesting to watch. First, a sand mold must be made, which participants must have bought and then created beforehand. The metal is put into a cupola, with coke placed in to cook the metal until its ready. It’s then poured into what’s called a ladle, and the metal is carried poured into the molds before it cools down.

The next iron pour is set to take place sometime in April, as the event is biannual. It will take place at Maker’s Space, which is also located in Whitewater. Participants can create their own pieces or decide to create small scratch blocks to take home. Either way, seeing one’s own creation come to life is always cool to see.