Art on Fire

Contributed by Carmen Summerfield

It’s time for another hot, hot, hot Iron Pour! Yes, for the 9th consecutive year, the Valley Arts Alliance Art on Fire Iron Pour Art Fest will be held on Saturday, June 25, 2016 in Wasilla. The Valley will be buzzing with artists from across the country, as they gather 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 will demonstrate 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 (441-6728) will be offering workshops in metal casting and mold making at his studio in Palmer. These workshops will continue at the VAA Art on Fire Iron Pour Art Fest, when these molds are poured with liquid iron. 

See scenes of last year’s event on our 2014 Art on Fire archives page, And for examples of completed iron sculptures that were displayed at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, see our 2012 Art on Fire Sculpture archive page.

Throughout the day, artist Sandra Cook, who owns “SL Cook Pottery and Fiber Works” in Palmer, will conduct her Raku pottery workshop. Sandra will provide each participant with a vessel or pot of unglazed ceramic ware, known as bisque, which the participants will decorate with a variety of glazes and then fire in one of Sandra’s special Raku kilns. 

After a short firing, the “red hot” vessels will be 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 will demonstrate blacksmithing techniques, Judy Vars will demonstrate Encaustic wax painting, and other fiery arts, such as glass flame working, will also be demonstrated. Sahara Storm Tribal Dance Troupe will perform. Live music and food will be available.

The VAA Art on Fire Iron Pour Art Fest will be held at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry, located at 3800 W. Museum Drive (near the airport) in Wasilla, from 10am until 5pm on Saturday, June 25.  The ticket price is $10, with children under 12 admitted free.  Please join the fun!  We hope to turn this day into an extraordinary Iron Pour Art Fest in the Valley!