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School of Visual Arts

SoVA Represents at Prestigious International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art

Pouring Iron at Contempary Cast Iron Art Conference

Cristin Millett, associate professor of art and studio graduate program coordinator, traveled to Latvia in June to present and chair a panel, The 21st Century Foundry: New Approaches in Teaching and Practice, at the seventh International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. Speakers and conference attendees from across the globe converged at the Pedvale Open-Air Art Museum during the summer solstice to share their research, exchange ideas, and cast iron.

Occurring every four years, the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art is one of the most prestigious conferences for foundry practitioners.  The conference is a truly interdisciplinary gathering of sculptors, performance artists, musicians, and poets, who gather to collaborate in the dramatic endeavor of pouring iron.

In their presentation, “Integrating Digital Technologies in the Foundry Process,” Millett and her research assistant, Cydnei Mallory, who is scheduled to receive her B.F.A. in sculpture in December 2014, explained their research on printing three-dimensional forms in thermoplastic using rapid prototyping technology. Millett and Mallory have been testing whether plastic can be substituted for the traditional wax used in the lost-wax casting process, melted out successfully, and replaced with molten bronze or aluminum. Millett’s panel included two other presentations: Katie Hovencamp (’14 M.F.A) investigated the relationship between performance art and foundry in “Object + Subject,” and Kelly Wilton introduced artists that incorporate cast metal components with other media in “The Hybrid Object.” 

During the conference, Millett and Mallory created a mold of a 3D printed thermoplastic model using the ancient African technique of dung and clay molds. The thermoplastic was melted out and the dung mold was filled with molten iron, successfully merging new technologies with traditional processes.

In addition to the conference presentations and demonstrations, Millett’s work, Obstetrical Phantom: Fertility, was awarded “Honorable Mention” as part of the exhibition The Cast Iron Traveler at the Contemporary Art and Heritage Centre in Sabile, Latvia.

More information on Millett’s presentation can be found here: http://www.cristin-millett.com/#!news/c9vs

Millett received support for her research and travel from the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the College of Arts and Architecture, and the School of Visual Arts. Mallory received a 2014 Undergraduate Summer Discovery Grant from the Office of Undergraduate Education to support her research and travel and additional support from the College of Arts and Architecture and School of Visual Arts (for more on Mallory’s research, link to https://sova.psu.edu/story/summer-discovery-grant-report). Hovencamp and Wilton received travel support from the College of Arts and Architecture and School of Visual Arts.

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