The Norman Transcript

October 27, 2012

Heating up Fuego Friday

By Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Community participates in iron pouring

Crowds toughed out the cold Friday night to warm their shivering bodies in the heat of the School of Art & Art History’s seventh annual Fuego Friday Iron Pour.

Hosted by the sculpture department, this event invites the community to learn about and participate in the iron-casting process, said Jonathan Hils, OU sculpture professor. The event was also a fundraiser for the school.

“It’s really fascinating as a spectator event. It’s not something very many people will ever get a chance to see up close,” Hils said.

Sculpture students worked together to melt scrap iron in a furnace into liquid form, extracted the molten iron and recasted the iron into a variety of molds.

Though the furnace reaches internal temperature of approximately 3,200 degrees, the iron is generally 2,300 to 2,500 degrees when the molds are poured.

The iron, extracted in approximate 100-pound increments, was used for some students’ small art pieces and for “scratch blocks” or plaque molds, purchased and created by the public. Hils said the public are able to take their creations home at the end of the night.

Tom Cravens, an OU employee, submitted a scratch mold he created of a dragon. He made a scratch mold last year that he now has displayed on his bookshelf. Though Cravens said he hasn’t participated in the arts much in the past, he enjoys being a part of the iron pour process.

Melissa Pickens, an OU employee, said she came to the iron pour to support the art school.

“This just fascinates me,” she said. “I’m very interested in this.”

Proceeds from this year’s event, including public scratch block sales, will be used to send School of Art & Art History students to the International Sculpture Center Conference in Chicago.

Several student organizations — the Red Clay Faction, the New Media Collective and the Print Club — also participated in Friday’s event with various sales and demonstrations. The Red Clay Faction sold ceramic pieces and demonstrated ceramic firing techniques; the New Media Collective installed an interactive soundscape on site; and the Print Club sold T-shirts to raise funds, which will help bring visiting artists to the School of Art & Art History.

Hils said the school can only continue this event in coming years if sufficient scrap metal donations are made. To make a donation or for further inquiries, contact Hils at 219-1955 or


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