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Plunge into the fiery collection of objects and images that are the Ferrous Arthives! Discover the processes that turn scrap metal into molten “lava!” Learn how that material is transformed into cast iron skillets, tools, works of art both big and small, and much, much more! Let curiosity be your guide as you explore the process, tradition, and history of cast iron and cast iron art. The Ferrous Arthives are an eclectic mix of science, history, and art, designed to inform, captivate, and thrill audiences of all ages!
This body of work was created through the sponsorship of the Yoknapatwapha Arts Council and the Community Supported Art Program Oxford, Mississippi.
Cast iron as a medium for creative expression is something that has appealed to me since my first exposure to the material. To work with cast iron is to sweat, groan, and labor. Its physical properties require high heat to transform the metal from a tossed aside scrap pile into a piece of art. Casting iron requires strength, determination, endurance, and a community of fellow “metal heads” to produce an artwork. It is these qualities that first captivated me and continue to be my motivation to create with and alter this industrial material.
While I do create in a variety of other media, cast iron is by far my favorite material. I find great satisfaction in the processes involved, from the meticulous pattern and mold making to the rough swinging of a sledgehammer to break the metal down to usable sizes. I am also very attracted to furnace design, technical drawings, and the overlapping of science, mathematics, history, and tradition that are all integral components in creating with cast iron. The concepts I explore in my work often intersect with the physical characteristics and technical/historical properties of the material, as well as its intense and laborious nature and the community it creates.
The Ferrous Arthives is the epitome of this intersection. It is my hope that the experience given to the viewer, goes beyond the typical spectator experience of an iron pour; that the Ferrous Arthives act as a “backstage pass” to the processes and knowledge passed down through the generations of the iron casting family. Although it is not all encompassing, it is a glimpse of what transpires long before cast iron artworks see the gallery lights.