Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Big Pour

What does the well-dressed artist and assistant wear to pour 1300 degree molten aluminum? As much as they can! Matt is always drawing, carving, shaping or welding something. Lately, he's carving shapes out of white foam to use as molds for cast aluminum sculptures. When he had about five done, he asked if I would assist in the big pour. Of course! I wanted to document my first experience as a foundry girl, but it's impossible to handle a crucible of hot liquid aluminum and take pix. Luckily, our good friend and photographer, Jay Blackburn, was visiting and he documented the process.

The welding supply store is not usually a fashion destination, but some of these items have a certain industrial chic quality. Especially Matt's Tillman leather welding cape sleeve, which is a very short leather jacket and as my friend Andrea mentioned once, it could be very sexy on a woman. (I just found it available on a site called "Weldfabulous", three snaps for that!) And Matt's welding cap, made of a Chanel-like quilted black cotton. Style potential!

Back to work: face shield down as Matt and I pour the aluminum into molds which have Matt's foam sculptures buried in a special foundry sand.  The molten aluminum vaporizes the foam on contact.

We poured about thirty-five pounds of aluminum, creating five sculptures, all from remnants of Matt's larger aluminum sculptures. This is all done right below our living room window.

Matt's happy with the pour, which only took about fifteen exciting minutes. Next step is to dig them out of the sand and do hours of finish work.

Old Friends, 8" high x 10" long

And here are the results. Matt worked his magic and took the very rough aluminum forms and smoothed the surfaces until it had the finish he wanted. Here are more of Matt's sculptures.

M-80, 16"high x 23"wide x 6"deep