2017 Community Collaborative Hot Metal Pour at Franconia


Temperatures have been hot so far this summer, but its about to get even hotter here at Franconia, 2,700° in fact. That’s right, it’s that time once again for the annual Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour here at Franconia Sculpture Park! This summer marks the 21st year of the event, with an iron pour having taken place every year since Franconia’s founding in 1996.

mold process

Over the years, our Hot Metal Pour has become a major community event, with over 200 community molds poured yearly. Park visitors are invited to create their own scratch block design during mold-making workshops prior to the iron pour each year. One of our major goals here at Franconia is to involve our visitors in the art-making process and make that process visible and accessible. These ideas are central to our Hot Metal Pour, and without community-made molds, this event couldn’t exist. Furthermore, those who make molds and attend the Community Collaboration Iron Pour get the unique experience of watching the process by which their design is cast and becomes a three-dimensional piece of art.


Mold-making is an activity fit for all ages, as children and adults alike are invited to participate in our workshops. During each of the free workshops, visitors purchase blocks of resin-bonded sand and are given drawing and carving tools to create their own unique design which will be cast during the August 5th pour. There will be no dull moment this Saturday: In addition to the casting of our community molds, there will be live music and three free behind-the-scenes tours of our temporary foundry! Musical entertainment will be provided by the Minneapolis-based found-object band Savage Aural Hotbed, who will perform three sets throughout the day.


The pour will be led by this year’s Hot Metal Artists and Interns, who work together to break down (literal) tons of iron, operate the furnaces that melt the metal, and cast each mold. These artists come from all over the world to participate in Franconia’s Hot Metal Pour. In the weeks leading up to and during the pours, they live and work at the park, helping lead scratch-block workshops and also fabricating their own artwork.

The Hot Metal Artists and Interns find or create a 3-dimensional (positive) form, which varies depending on the subject matter of their artwork. Using the same resin-bonded sand as the community scratch blocks, they construct large-scale sand molds. Once the sand has hardened, the temporary form inside is removed, and the pieces of resin-bonded sand are re-assembled to create a negative space that will be filled by molten iron. Some of these molds can have up to 20 parts and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. On August 12th, one week after the Community Collaboration pour, our artists and interns gather once again for a second pour, also open to the public, during which they will fill their molds with molten iron to create their own sculpture for the park. Examples of these sculptures from previous years are on display in Franconia’s Iron Garden located alongside the house where the artists and staff of Franconia live and work.


This year’s interns and artists are:

Hot Metal Artists

Joe Bigley, GA

Page Burch, GA

Peter Leone, NY

Erica Mendoza, TN

Matt Mroz, NY

Cassi Rebman, MN

Tamsie Ringler, MN

Alix Shaw, IL

Heidi Zenisek, IA

Bobby Zokaites, AZ


Hot Metal Interns

Rachel Carruthers, MD

Claire Stromberg, NC

Zach Tabb, CO

Hanna Umin, PA

Lily Wujek, MN

Anticipation for the Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour is heating up here at Franconia, and we hope you’ll join us in the festivities!


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: