Friday, July 4, 2014

VOLCANO FURNACE ERUPTS at Pedvale Open Air Art Museum, Latvia

The 'Volcano Furnace' erupted on 'JANI' the last day of Midsummer's June 23rd 2014 at Pedvale Sculpture Park as part of the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, Latvia.

The 'Volcano Furnace : Fire + Iron Earthwork' is a 13ft high earthwork and functioning iron furnace embracing the spirit of land and celebrating forces of nature.

Built primarily of earth, clay, stone and wood, a conscientious effort was made by the artist Coral Lambert to use appropriate technology and local materials. Construction of the interior of the furnace and earth moving with bulldozers began on site at Pedvale in early June. Approximately ten tons of earth and one ton of clay was used along with reclaimed steel and iron. The ‘Volcano Furnace’ was fired up on the midsummers eve of ‘Jani’. It was ritually charged with coke and air producing molten iron at temperatures up to 2700 Fahrenheit. As the air bellowed, the Volcano was tapped three times freeing the Iron to flow like lava out of three tunnels cut out of the earthen mound. The iron flowed into open face molds cut into the moss covered Granite boulders that were sourced from a nearby ancient woodland. Speeding up the work of nature like crystals that have been form over eons, the slabs of iron cooled to form diamond shaped platforms. The slabs of diamond shaped iron will remain in the rock as an artifact of the event. 
Here you see Coral Lambert making the first tap of iron near the 'Tree of Dawn' about to ignite: it is a symbol of renewal and the coming of the new sun after midsummers, the time is about midnight, the performance ran for about an hour and a half during the darkest hours of the magical night.

The Volcano Furnace tapped out 200# of molten iron three times out of seperate tap holes into three large carved garnite boulders. The Earth Mound Furnace and Boulders will remain as an earthwork for visitors to Pedvale Sculpture Park to enjoy for years to come.

Each tap of the Volcano Furnace Fire + Iron Earthwork provided a collaborative platform for a choreographed series of performances and ritual honoring the elements of dawn, sun, fire and iron, ultimately a reflection of earth’s creative process.

'Tree of Dawn' by Danielle Jensen, (Canada) : accompanied by Lily Montgomery and Daniel Totten.
'Forget Me Not Garden' planting by The Alzheimer's Glass and Iron: Rosemarie Oakman, Haley Jelinek and Elise Betrus. 
'Flight of the Phoenix' by Jenny K. Hager-Vickery, Susanne Roewer, (Germany) Cynthia Handel and Andreas Glaser (Switzerland).  
Musical accompaniment for the evening event was performed by Sarah Clover on vocals and Jeff Kalstrom on Bodiddly.
Coral Lambert was assisted by Ronda Phipps in the building and running of the Volcano Furnace as well as Alfred Students from the National Casting Center Foundry: Erik Nilson, Michelle Kweicen, Hannah Schilsky, Ripley Nichols, Becca Flis, Rose Oakman, Haley Jenelik, Elise Betrus, Dan Totten + Lily Montgomery.
Special thanks to:

The 7th ICCCIA
Pedvāle Open-Air Art Museum
Ojars Arvids Feldbergs

Alfred University's School of Art and Design
The National Casting Center Foundry @ Alfred
The Women's Leadership Center 
Naomi Winston Scholarship Award
Photo credits: Kristen Williams. Laura Feldsberga, Haley Jenelik and Gerhard Haug

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