Monday, August 16, 2010

Minnesota Explored

One of the many great things about a Minnesota summer is all the fun community events, festivals and celebrations. Sometimes the best events aren’t well publicized and you often stumble upon them while going about your normal activities. I stumbled upon one of those types of events recently in the SE Minnesota community of Lanesboro.

The Lanesboro Arts Center presented an Iron Pour with local artist Karl Unnasch (brother of HandmadeMN member Stena of Crazy Busy). I had the opportunity to watch the actual Iron Pour portion of the event. Earlier in the week, molds were made by those interested in leaving the event with their very own piece of iron art.

For a $25 fee, tools, materials and guidance were provided to anyone interested in making a molded piece of iron. At the Iron Pour, the molds that had been created earlier in the week were lined up in Sylvan Park waiting to be filled with molten iron.

Karl and the group of folks who work with him, set up a large furnace to melt scrap iron to fill the many molds that had been created. The molten iron is then poured into a bucket like container with large handles on each side for two people to carry and pour the iron into the molds.

Those carrying the molten iron need to work quickly and carefully to pour the iron in each mold and then move to the next. While they are doing that, another batch of iron begins to be melted in the furnace.

Once the iron in the molds is cooled, a completed piece of poured iron art is removed.

As you can imagine, this is a really hot, dangerous process so they wear lots of personal protective gear to help prevent injury. Each artist gets a little creative with their gear as well. I liked the wings on this hat.

In all, more than a tone of scrap iron was melted during this event.

If you think this looks interesting, maybe you’d like to attend one of the other upcoming events in Lanesboro. Here is a link to the Lanesboro Arts Center web site where you can find more information about events they offer.