DVC iron pour melts into a success


Gustavo Vasquez

DVC Instructor Luke Damiani pours molten iron on alumni Laura VanDuren’s paper boat on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Gustavo Vasquez

Local artists, Diablo Valley College students and instructors participated in an iron pour as part of a fundraiser for the metal art and sculpture program in the art department on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Ceramic shell molds, and resin-bonded sand molds were used to create iron sculptures, iron jewelry, iron plaques and performances made using molted iron.

Sculpture instructors Hopi Breton, Luke Damiani, and Kevin Leeper were at the iron pour; assisting students, creating art and participated in the iron pour teams.

Leeper, a DVC instructor in sculpture and digital media, was new to the idea of metal casting. He explained it is “extremely rare opportunity to pour metal.”

Leeper cast two objects, one a large solid cube of iron, and another of an old mold he had for over 20 years.

Alumni art students Laura VanDuren and Alexander Smith, now local Bay Area artists, made it to the pour to create iron sculptures and performance art.

VanDuren did a performance piece which represented her letting go of the past.

“My performance is called “Burn the Life Boat,” and I made a giant 5-foot-by-3-foot boat out of quarter inch steel and my divorce paperwork,” VanDuren said. “I am going to perform by bringing my boat in like the sea, with a white dress representing my past. And then once I bring it to my mold, I will bring the boat over the mold, take my dress off and put it in the boat, ignite the boat and dress together as a performance of letting go.”

Alexander Smith is an instructor currently at the Crucible in which he’s been there for 13-14 years. For his undergrad he went to DVC, learning how to cast metal.

“I actually went to DVC in my undergrad before I went on UC Santa Cruz, and at that time there was a different instructor, David King, I think he was instrumental in building this place, and this place has got special meaning to me in terms of grew up here, and learned how to cast metal here, and returning is always special,” Smith said.

Cynthia Handel was one of the other guests at the iron pour. With over 10 years of experience in iron casting, Handel had something to say about why she likes to work with iron casting.

“The reason I like iron is one, I like to taste it, I like to smell it and I am very physical, I like to make objects, constant object maker, the other thing I like about iron is the community of people,” she said.

Other guests that made it was alumni Ivan Berjekoff, Nick Diphillio and Tom Brown.

There were about 100 molds that were made by artists, students, and instructors. There were about 1,500 pounds of iron, which was melted down, and poured into the molds. Students melted down the iron with a recently restored iron furnace, named Ferric Faucet.

Breton shared her thoughts after the event.

“All kinds of people came out, a lot of my colleagues, and other faculty, and a lot of alumni here, and a lot of students that never poured before, people from the community who never poured before, and everybody worked really great together,” she said. “A lot of people got to meet each other had lots of fun. It was really, really fun.”