Iron pour connects art and industry

December 19, 2013

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Iron Pour

PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — More than 1,800 pounds of molten iron heated to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit were poured at the first-ever University of Wisconsin-Platteville iron pour. The UW-Platteville Industrial Studies Department, American Foundry Society at UW-Platteville and Alisa Toninato, artist and owner of FeLion studios, hosted the event.  

The event featured cast iron melted in a cupola furnace and molded into various shapes including pumpkin molds that could be purchased for $5 with proceeds going to the AFS at UW-Platteville. Heated iron was also poured through carved pumpkins.

The cupola technology is new to the UW-Platteville Metals Lab. Dr. Kyle Metzloff, UW-Platteville industrial studies professor, and his students attended one of Toninado’s iron pours at Sector 67 in Madison, Wis., to learn more about how the furnace works. After learning Toninado was having trouble with some of her castings not turning out, they decided to work together.

“The intention was to bring our two different approaches in foundry work together to create an opportunity to learn something new,” said Toninato.

The iron pour was not only an event for the community, but also provided Toninato a chance to test her molds. She uses the cupola furnace to melt cast iron and create frying pan sculptures in the shape of states.

“The UW-Platteville Metals Lab was the only place where we could obtain a control factor to test, record, analyze and understand which parts of my process were working or not,” said Toninato. “This technical capability is normally beyond my reach as an artist.”

The event was attended by UW-Platteville students, staff and alumni, community members and AFS members. “It was a chance for people to see what this incredible metals program at UW-Platteville is really doing in a fun and spectacular way,” said Toninato.  

Contact: Dr. Kyle Metzloff, industrial studies, (608) 342-1142, metzlofk@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Nicole Smith, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, smithnico@uwplatt.edu

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