Meltzone in Scranton

The next two weeks I will be taking you along with me on my journey at a “meltzone workshop”. The program reaches out to at risk high school students to work with them for a few hours each week after school. It is a small group that comes together to make art.

Recently the program has expanded and is now working with college students during the summer. The college students that wanted to join this summer workshop had to apply online and show some previous artwork. I wanted to join the conferences because of my experience in my sculpture class, were we did a simpler process but we melted bronze instead of iron. I was really excited about the whole process, and I think that is why my professors told me about the workshop during the summer and I decided to apply. The college students who participate in the meltzone workshop come from all over the world such as Seattle, West Wales, France, California, Long Island, and some locals from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

During the first week, the college students are paired up with mentors that have previous experience in the field of melting iron, along with experience in sculpture, printmaking, welding, carpentry, and ceramics. The mentee has to come up with a mold prior to the first week of attending classes. The molds could be made out of any material. Some mentees worked with wax or clay, and some worked with found items. I decided to work with oil-based clay because it was easier for me to transform it into human figurines. The mentees worked one on one with a mentor to refine their mold. Mine mold was a little difficult because I had both of my figures sitting on an angle and it was hard to create a box for them.

After the mold is finished, we have to cast them. The first step is was mixing sand with resin bond that would hold together. Once the mixture is put together you have to move fast to pack your mold into your wooden box because the chemical reaction will happened quickly. Some molds require three to four parts depending on how much detail and spacing. Mine required three because of the angle they were sitting at. The chemical reaction will take at least two hours to harden. Then the mentees were able to remove the material out of the sand.

The next step will happen next week where we will cast the mold. Stay tuned!

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