Ideas behind “Cast Shadows”:

1. The process of casting iron is a fleeting event that leaves residue in different ways. Works submitted address this phenomenon in various way.
2. Artists who utilize cast iron produce “permanent” products in iron not only as work unto itself, but also as document to the event.

3. Iron casting process is connected to a long history of metal art, industry, and human history. Cast iron artworks are in a sense living in the shadows cast by this rich past. As well, contemporary artists are casting their own shadows onto those around and into the future.

4. There is a digital relationship between the curators from Illinois and North Carolina. There is a line like a cast shadow from a sundial that goes back and forth between Denton and Akagawa, two gnomon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gabriel Akagawa

ECU Foundry Tree
Tar paper, photographs, soapstone, chalk. 7' x  3'

Foundry Tree is a photographic project documenting the lineage of contemporary artists working with cast iron. Each artist is photographed individually wearing his or her safety equipment. The relationships between teachers, mentors and/or students are recorded through these digital photographs that are later mapped into a genealogy at

The documenting process began at the 2009 National Conference on Cast Iron Art at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama when over 250 people were photographed. Many of ECU's faculty and students were included. This project is an artwork meant to link generations of artists casting iron. The physical, photographic "tree" on a wall at Cast Shadows is complemented by the web-based entity acting as a resource for artists.

Matt Amante

Mohu Stone
Iron and Walnut, 21” x 10” x 8”

The word, “Residue” captured my attention when reading the description for this show.  When thinking about this word and the process of casting iron, the residual effects on my body came to mind.  The fumes from iron pours have become more of a concern to me especially when foam is vaporized, as it is in this sculpture.  Outside of the effects that vapo-casting has on me, there is also the residue left on the environment.  These two concerns highlight the irony and possible hypocrisy of my casting forms like this.

This is a direct reference to “Scholars’ Rocks.”  This is a Chinese tradition that dates back to literati artists of the Song Dynasty who select these stones as, “Objects of Aesthetic Contemplation.” They have ties to religion, meditation, and are intended to show reverence for nature.  I also intend to make objects that show reverence for nature and have contemplative aspects.  The irony stems from the fact that to make this intended compliment towards nature and natural processes, I use a process that potentially harmful to myself and to the environment.

Carl Billingsley

  Spring Rain

Clouds come and go
Like shadows
Rain descends
The earth abides

Jessica Marie Bradsher

Rocking Horse
Cast iron. 6” x 5” x 2”

This piece is reminiscent of a child's toy, which is generally something that is safe and soft. The cast rocking horse is meant to be a symbol of permanence rather than a child-friendly object. Even if the scale were proportional for a child's use, it would not be functional. Cast Iron is cold, and heavy. Viewing this piece is meant to remind us of our past. Our past is ever-present in our memories, and we never know when something will spark a memory. This piece is a shadow in that phenomenon. My goal is for viewers to look at this piece and remember their own experience with childhood toys. They may realize that those same toys are now gone. They could be thrown away, ripped, and broken. This piece is less easily broken but reflects the wear and tear of years gone by.

Jonathan Burger

Cast iron and cast bronze. 6” x 6” x 6”

The piece Intertwining addresses the concept of interacting forces, the way two forces meet and affect each other. The piece was made via vaporization mold, the cast iron and bronze igniting and replacing the impermanent foam with more lasting metal within the mold. The core is formed of cast iron, a ferrous mass that carries visual weight with it. The bronze, poured second around the piece, was affected by the presence of cast iron, causing cold shuts in it. The idea of duality and interaction of forces goes back far into the history of humankind, as far as the casting process at least, and the development of highly complex philosophical concepts was only made possible by the technological advances of the casting process.

Kat Cole

Untitled Series 
Found metal, cast iron, paint, rust. 24" x 12" x 48"

These pieces relate to the visual landscape of the mostly rural farming country of my new home in Eastern Carolina. Making these pieces allows me to analyze my environment and become more connected with this location. Elements of each structure are cast iron, poured during my first semester here at East Carolina. Found metal parts from local scrap yards are also incorporated in each piece.  

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Andrew Denton

Aura Suit
Stainless steel, fireproof blanket, steel, leather, bronze slag, cast iron. 80” x 36” x 32”

This is a physical representation of the artist’s aura. The reflective stainless steel, which provides the structure of the basic form, is reflective of light. This will light up with the flames and glow of molten metal during an iron pour.  It will look as though it is made up of fire, similar to the wrathful Buddha, Heruka, depicted in Vajrayana Buddhist art.  The inside is lined with fireproof blanket, which references Joseph Beuys’s use of felt and the artist’s welding career, but it is functional as well as thematic because it provides some protection from the stainless steel that may get hot while casting iron. This blanket material will also be light and fluffy looking so that it will simultaneously reference the compassionate side of the artist/Buddha that are usually depicted floating in the sky upon clouds. 

James Dudley

Found Object
Cast iron and steel. 36” x 12” x 10"

Iron casting is about a community of men and women coming together. Artists work together not only to produce finished pieces but also to create dialogue and share ideas that could be passed on. This entails communication through hard work, dedication and a hint of insanity. It is during the pouring of reaction molds that I feel this culminate the most. The intensity of the iron hitting wood and creating such chaos as the metal explodes; though the process is actually ordered and controlled. Most important is that it is shared amongst students, teachers and friends.

Found Object combines my own aesthetic with my love for iron casting and reaction molds. This cast iron piece comes from the first laminated plywood reaction mold I have made, and truly one of the most powerful experiences I have had. I highlight the chaotic surface of the iron in the piece. Much of my work deals with industry’s relationship with nature. This piece shows how despite all efforts of control, the results of the iron are unknown as the metal reacts as it would in nature, violently and uncontrolled.  

Aaron Earley

Derelict Two
Cast iron, bronze, fabricated steel, aluminum. 24" tall

Over time, the mechanical feats of humans and the innumerable products of nature will each, in their own ways, become derelict and disintegrate into nothing. The infallible forces of nature constantly institute this factor. However, at some phase in their existence there stands a harmonious correlation between the two commodities - for example, the aesthetic of a weathered piece of driftwood, and any rusting fragmented section of a destroyed aircraft fuselage. In my work I use aged man-made materials, natural debris (driftwood), and I modify found objects. Through the use of cast metals, fabricated steel, and the incorporation of found objects, I express their intrinsic similarities by pairing them together in sensual and dynamic forms. In turn, this conjoining of neglected materials creates a language in itself, and echoes an otherworldly but strangely familiar set of objects to the viewer.

Abigail Heuss


Untitled Wall Collage
Cast Iron, Steel, Wallpaper, Silver, Copper. 13.5” x 13.5” x .5”
Untitled Wall Collage
Steel, Lace, Cast Iron, Copper, Thread, 3.5” x 7.5” x 1”
The pieces I am submitting contain elements created during the 2009 Halloween Iron Pour at ECU. My work is about memory and sentiment. Memories are rooted in a specific place and time.  All of these pieces include found objects and collected materials that reference places specific to my own history and memories of family. I am interested in how memories and stories grow and change over time to suit our ideas of self and how we fit in the framework of the culture and history around us. It is my intent that the cast iron elements in these pieces will in time rust, changing the more fragile materials they frame, leaving the physical mark of their history behind. In doing so they will alter their own surroundings, much as we leave marks of our lives on the structures and people around us.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hanna Jubran

cast iron, bronze

Nicholas B Kernstine

Play it where it lies, hole 3
Cast Aluminum, stone. 11” x 12” x 8”

I choose to cast sculpture in metal because it is a permanent form. It will last for all time, and for me this is a way to always remember where I have come from, and what I have done in my life to bring me to where I am this day. Each sculpture I make is a way that I can pass along a love that I have. This piece shows how we can interact with nature through the sport of golf.

Jeffery A Kiefer

Cast Iron and Ceramic. 14” x 4” x 4”

My work enters a play between two opposing materials; the hard cold iron being supported by warm wood fired porcelain. Inspired by nature’s resiliency to survive and grow through adversary, the smooth organic ceramics both supporting and ripping apart the strong geometric cast iron. Depth and dimension are enhanced by overlapping materials. A unique shadow play is created on the white surface of the ceramics.

Jesse Morrisey

Evolutionary Construction
Steel, kozo. 30” x 24” x 18”

Walking through the woods of my summer home in Cape Breton, Canada, it’s not difficult to find any number of discarded items, from old cars to washing machines to skeletons of mattresses. It’s almost like finding treasure—these cast-offs of human society have been here for thirty or forty years rusting, the forest has grown up around them, hiding them as it slowly consumes them. They are full of dirt and bursting with plants and animal nests, but their essence, the rusty steel frames, still remain despite many years of decay.
In Evolutionary Construction I portray a steel structure that, while it has been covered with natural fiber and has evolved into a natural form, still carries with it the essence, or residue of its former self in the rust that can be readily seen as it bleeds through the kozo paper. Human existence is fleeting, but like the rust on the paper, the evidence of our lives can be seen even after we are gone.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Juliana Pivato

I want to be alive with you.
Cast Bronze. dimensions variable

For the work, 4 inch high extruded letters cast in bronze are installed on the floor in the window bay of a 7th floor gallery space in Downtown, Chicago. Modest in scale, the bronze letters accord a triangulation with the viewer: a direct address in which the I and the you are dimensional sites transformed by whoever is reading them. The sun is also a participant in the work when the weather permits.  Each day from roughly 2:30pm-5:45pm, the sun comes through the window and creates a trapezoid of light that moves along the floor and eventually envelopes the sculpture.  The light will cause the letters to cast long diagonal shadows such that they mimic the buildings of the cityscape seen through the glass. The shadows locate the words beyond material - in direct conversation with time. Each day when the sun sets behind the office buildings, the sculpture returns to its original scale, becoming once more a sentence only legible from above. 

Veronica Plankers

Spinal Trap
Iron and steel. 28 1/2'' x 7'' x 6''

Spinal Trap illustrates a struggle for validation. The spine symbolizes a burly structure that emanates strength. Casting the spine in iron supports this idea with the material’s enduring presence. This piece was cast in Birmingham, Alabama at SLOSS Furnaces with ECU’s elected furnace, Fe Faru. The product of this experience held great importance for myself as a sculptor.

Iron casting has been a brief part of my experience as an artist but has left a heavy impression on the way I approach my art.  The process of casting has introduced an appreciation for not only the physical effort that the process demands, but also dedication and persistence that are humbling. I can only hope that my offering to this craft can be accepted as a reverence to those who have ignited the passion within our hearts to continue this rich tradition.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Austin Sheppard

British Invasion
Iron, sand, wood (documentation of performance). dimensions variable

This piece is documentation of a reaction mold called British Invasion, performed in Salem, NY in 2009. The documentation consists of two parts: a still photo of the reaction itself and the resulting casting from the mold. Both are intended as evidence of the temporal act of creation morphing into a permanent resulting object. British Invasion itself was a highly experimental mold, consisting of a four-part, bottom-fed and direct-carved sand mold with a wooden core. The image of the event captures not only the feel of the moment, but of the entire event (a symposium and pour) itself.

Alice Steffen

Cast iron, 6” x 6” x 4”

Sitting on the train to go from London Kings Cross Station to Glasgow Central, I happened to sit next to a young Scottish man, named Mathew. He was fiddling with pieces of paper and I asked him what he was doing. He told me he was Scotland’s origami champion. He was practicing the art for a tournament he had in a few weeks. Matthew taught me his skill. During the 5-hour journey, I was able to master the paper Rose.

The Emblem of the Rose is very important to my heritage. The civil war of the United Kingdom, known as the War of the Roses (1455-1485), is how England won the right to the throne. This is how the English Hierarchy came to dictate and cast a shadow on the rest of the U.K. The rose is also thought to represent the artist in the Scottish architecture such as in “the Mackintosh” building at the Glasgow School of Art.  Artists and art students are considered precious and inspiring just like a rose. Casting the origami rose into iron makes it everlasting, made out of a memory that easily could be forgotten.  The shape of the paper is still to be seen, but its fragility has been taken away.