Aluminum pour shows artistic process
Marion High School art teacher Janessa Wood likes to show her students every detail that goes into a work of art. She had her advanced art students build their own canvases for the same reason she wanted to do an aluminum pour on Friday.
Students from MHS and Marion Middle School crowded into the vocational agriculture building to observe aluminum scraps melted in a crucible furnace and then poured into more than 30 square sand molds.
Under the direction of Fort Hayes State University sculpture professor Toby Flores, Logan Maytum, Alicia Maloney, and Angel Funk alternated in different positions in the process. Maytum took two turns with FHSU graduate Cort Boss on one end of the long rods used to tip the red-hot crucible cup. Funk and Maloney were on shovel and hoe duty, using their tools to scrap any flaming fragments of overflow away from the wood canyons between the eight molds and into the sand below the bench.
While some of their classmates were doing a little bit of heavy lifting on Friday, for most artists the hard work was already over. Each of Wood’s students carved intricate designs into their mold — including Warrior heads, faux fossils, and animals. Wood said the deeper the carvings into the center of the mold the better chance of the sculpture meeting expectations.
The challenge of the project, according to senior Andrea Nordquist, was working backwards, thinking in terms of a mirror image while engaged in carving.
“Think about looking up at it from underneath a glass table,” Boss explained. “That’s how you have to carve it.”
Sculpture is not Wood’s preferred medium, electing to major in painting in school and paint often for her own art. She has noticed with many of her students that those who struggled with two-dimensional artworks have responded well to three-dimensional pieces. The opposite also is true. Boss said what he struggled with was working in layers in painting, while sculpture is more linear.
Part of the reason Wood likes to show multiple sections of the artistic process is to illuminate the skills of different students.