Waupaca Foundry Donates to Summer Celebration Iron Pour Event

University students and local artists make cast iron sculptures

On June 10, 2017 students from the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point and artists from across the Midwest created art from raw materials donated from Waupaca Foundry. Contemporary sculptures were created for the Stevens Point Sculpture Park during the Summer Celebration Iron Pour community event.

“The iron pour is a way to spark interest in something most people haven’t experienced before—making art out of molten iron."
UW students and artist collaborate to cast iron sculptures. Photo by M. Nicolas Silva

Waupaca Foundry donated approximately 500 pounds of coke used as fuel to melt iron, shank ladles to pour the iron and refractory brick used in repairing the cupola. The cupula is a 3-foot-high steel kiln used to melt the iron and was designed and built by Keith Kaziak, the senior lab technician in the Department of Art & Design at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point. The cupola will reach temperatures of 2,500 degrees and iron will be poured into molds made of bonded sand.

“The iron pour is a way to spark interest in something most people haven’t experienced before—making art out of molten iron,” Kaziak said. The cast iron sculptures created will be installed permanently at various sites throughout Portage County. Once installed, these sculptures will create the first ever geocache art adventure: Sculpture Quest at Sculpture Park, engaging visitors with Portage County’s nature, landscape, and art.

A 3-foot-high steel kiln melts the iron used to make sculptures. It was designed and built by Keith Kaziak, the senior lab technician in the Department of Art & Design. Photo by M. Nicolas Silva

“It’s rewarding to be a part of an effort that connects the art of making castings to the foundry industry,” said Joey Leonard, executive vice president of human resources at Waupaca Foundry. “Thanks to Create Portage County, the University and countless artists, both students and the community will see first-hand the art of metalcasting in action as iron is melted and poured to create new sculptures.”

Senior Lab Technician, Keith Kaziak and Department of Art & Design students are planning a 2017 gallery opening featuring the cast iron sculptures before installation and addition to the geocache art adventure. For more information, please call (715) 346-2669 or email the Department of Art & Design.

Hand-held shank ladles are used to pour iron in to the mold. Photo by M. Nicolas Silva

The Stevens Point Sculpture Park, a twenty-acre site featuring woodlands, wetlands, ponds and prairie, is located on North Second Street on the Green Circle.

All images were taken and shared by photographer and fellow artist, M. Nicolas Silva.