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I pour myself into my sculpture

I pour myself into my sculpture

November 18, 2016 // by Mary Ratcliff

Every spring and fall semester, the UNF Sculpture Guild hosts a student-led Iron Pour. Students spend weeks creating molds and prepping for the big day. During my first iron pour at UNF, I barely crossed the sidelines. Fear kept me mesmerized from a distance. I am not sure if it was the 2,000-degree molten iron, the physicality of lifting and pouring the weighty iron, or just the simple thought that I was bound to mess up something in this regimented process. At each subsequent Iron Pour, I felt my curiosity and courage grow, which led me closer and closer to the front lines of the action.

Mary Ratcliff Headshot a

Now, I anxiously await my fifth pour, a process necessary for the completion of the artworks included in my senior exhibition, Interwoven: Heart, Home, and Community. On November 19, that initial fear will resurface and nerves will be on high alert. However, once I am dressed head to toe in protective leathers, eagerly awaiting the intense fiery meltdown, the exhilaration takes over. The bellows of the fiery furnace mixed with shouts of scurrying students could stoke precarious feelings. But in reality, the yelling provides direction and encouragement, the movements are made purposefully, and all the cast members play their important roles in the production. The majesty of cast iron is not only in the end product but in the collaborative efforts that are necessary for its creation.

The Iron Pour is free and open to the public and quite a spectator event. The UNF Sculpture Guild also sells scratch blocks, which participants can carve for sculpture students to fill with molten iron. After the molds are poured, everyone pitches in to clean up. The results will not reveal themselves until the next morning after iron cools. The thrill of the day after the Iron Pour compares to Christmas morning, as all students return to the scene to reveal their newly created treasures. The Iron Pour takes place at the sculpture facilities behind Building 6 on UNF's campus at 4 p.m. November 19. Parking is available in lots 9 and 10.




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