Q&A with Professor Luke Sides
Each fall, spring and summer Collin College hosts iron pours. According to Luke Sides, professor of art, Collin College is the only college in the north Texas area that casts iron on a regular basis. Professors and students come from area schools, including Texas Woman’s University, the University of North Texas and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Sculpture students participate in the pour and work together to cast molds and create amazing works of art. Don’t miss the next iron pour October 26 from 12-5 pm at the Spring Creek Campus.
Please explain the iron pour process in a few simple steps.
We use the lost wax method of casting and use Ceramic Shell as our mold material. Next, we melt the iron in a Cupolette, which is a smaller version of a cupola but is ultimately a blast furnace that uses coke as the fuel. Finally, we tap the furnace, collect the metal in a ladel and pour the metal into the molds.
What is the highest temperature involved in the iron pour?
The furnace has to get the metal to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, which requires a much hotter environment within the furnace to accomplish this.
What do our students create?
Our students create a variety of sculptures in wax from utilitarian objects to complete abstraction.
How many years has the college offered the iron pour?
Collin has been casting iron for four years.
What do you love about iron pours?
The iron pour gives students the opportunity to cast larger pieces without worrying about cost. It also brings all the sculpture students and faculty together for a fantastic collaborative effort.
What is unique about iron pours?
The blast furnace we use is the star of the show. It is very impressive to see something created with raw materials melt thousands of pounds of iron.
If students want to participate in an iron pour, which class should they take?
Students should enroll in ARTS 2326 Sculpture I. In addition to iron, we have the ability to cast bronze and aluminum, and we also teach students to weld and work in wood.