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Iron Pour Scratch Tile

Pouring hot iron is an old art which is only being done by a select group of artists choosing to keep the art alive.

The general premise of an iron pour is the recycling of cast iron into sculpture. In this process, scrap cast iron is repurposed by first being broken into small fragments and heated until molten. The molten metal is then poured into a hardened sand mold which has been custom-carved by an iron pour participant. Once the metal has safely cooled, the resultant artwork can then be removed; a process not unlike soap or candy making.

Scratch Tile Workshop

You can either pick up an 8” x 8” sand block from us and carve your design on your own time or attend the workshops on Friday, September 24 between 12pm - 9pm or Saturday or September 25 between 9am - 4pm. Come and work on your project as long as needed. Help and teaching will be available.

In addition to our previous offering of an 8” x 8” square scratch tile at a cost of $65 each, this year we are also giving you the opportunity to carve your artwork into five different 5” x 5” scratch tile shapes for a cost of $45. The shapes are Heart, Square, Star, Circle and State of Michigan.

To carve the block, use an old screwdriver or utensil you have around the house. Some have carved their entire block with an old nail and some choose to use a Dremel Tool. (Dremel Tools will not be provided at workshops) It’s really what is most comfortable for you to work with and what you have handy at home. (Simple tools will be provided at workshops, but feel free to bring tools you think may work).

Helpful Hints
  1. Be sure to keep your carving within the 8”x8” square working space.
  2. Maximum carving depth is ½” but should not be used on the entire 8”x8” working space or the mold may crack when cast.
  3. You are working in the reverse. If you plan to add letters and numbers, they must be carved backwards. The deepest marks you make will be the lines that are the highest portion of your relief sculpture. You can add texture by crosshatching.
  4. Keep your block safe. Do not get it wet, do not drop it - it will break.
  5. Come prepared with a sketch or design.
  6. If you are using text or numbers, you may want to first draw your design on a piece of paper. Flip the paper over when finished and using a light source (such as a window), trace your design. This will reverse your design so that it will be easier to reference.

Your tile will be poured with iron at dusk on Saturday, September 25.

Finished Piece Pick up: Should you decide to clean your own piece by aggressively scrubbing with a steel brush, your piece will have cooled sufficiently by the next day and can be picked up from our site on Sunday, September 26. If we sandblast for you, your piece will be completed during the week following the event and you will receive communication for pick-up.

  • The cost for the workshop and piece is $65.
  • The cost for the workshop and piece with sandblasting is $75.
Register for an Iron Pour Sand Tile
  • Sand Tile Questions? Contact Stephen Hargash 989-598-4967 or hargashartiststudio@gmail.com

Iron Pour Plasticine Tile

Plasticine is the name brand of a modeling clay with a putty-like texture. It looks, works, and feels similar to traditional clay, but does not dry out or harden and cannot be fired. It was invented for student use around 1887 by William Harbutt, then the headmaster of the Bath School of Art and Design in England. Although you may not be familiar with the Plasticine brand name, you have very likely encountered this product in your life already! Generic versions are readily available for children’s crafts in a wide range of colors. Because of its malleability, Plasticine is also used in the production of claymation stop-motion videos. The award-winning Wallace and Gromit short films used plasticine models.

Plasticine modeling is a method used by artists to create cast sculpture in various shapes. It is more advanced than simple scratch tiles and involves the creation of a raised clay model on a flat surface. This model is then used to make a sand mold which allows for the casting of a metal replica, complete with fine detail.

Method of Use

Unlike scratch tiles, clay models aren’t confined to a rectangular shape. In further comparison, a finished scratch tile becomes a mold in and of itself, while a clay model is a structure from which a mold will be created.

It is necessary to construct a sturdy base for the model. The first step involves cutting out the model’s basic form from foam core, similar to a silhouette. The foam board is then securely attached to a thin wooden platform for stability. Since Plasticine does not require firing, no special materials are needed. An appropriately sized cut of plywood and foam board bought from a craft store will get the job done.

After the construction of the base, modeling clay is then directly applied to and built upon the foam core silhouette. The foam cut-out serves to guide the artist in keeping the proper shape and proportions and the wooden backing allows for the entire model to be easily manipulated and transported.

Once the model is finished, a mold of it must be created. This is done using a high sided frame called a flask and a sand/resin mixture. The model is placed inside the flask and packed with sand. Once packing is complete, the clay model is removed leaving behind its hollow imprint. After ensuring there is no remaining Plasticine left in the sand, the hollow mold is then ready to accept molten metal. After cooling, the mold is removed and a replica of the clay model is obtained. The sculpture is then ground and finished to bring out shine and detail.

Plasticine Tile Workshop

Attend two workshops to learn how to carve a 10” x 10” relief with plasticine clay to be held on the two Saturdays before the event on September 4th and 11th, 10 AM to 2 PM at Hargash Studio located at 566 S. Main Street, Frankenmuth, behind the Great Lakes Escape Building.

Your tile will be poured with iron at dusk on Saturday, September 25.

Finished Piece Pick up: Should you decide to clean your own piece by aggressively scrubbing with a steel brush, your piece may be picked up on Sunday, September 26. If we sandblast for you, your piece will be completed during the week following the event and you will receive communication for pick-up. The cost for the piece with sandblasting is $125.

  • The cost for the workshops and piece is $115.
  • The cost for the workshops and piece with sandblasting is $125.
Register for a Iron Pour Plasticine Tile
  • Plasticine Questions? Contact Stephen Hargash 989-598-4967 or hargashartiststudio@gmail.com

Aluminum Casting

New to the Festival this year is aluminum casting. The artistic process is the same technique used in carving a sand tile for iron. This workshop is a great way to explore the metal casting process and try something new! No prior experience or artistic background is necessary. Take a class with a friend to create a special and unique piece of art.

Aluminum Casting Workshop

In this workshop, you will learn how to create your pattern. You will be given the choice to carve an approximate 5” x 5” sand tile in the shape of your choice: Heart, Square, Star, Circle or State of Michigan. Plan to spend about an hour to carve your piece, reserving more time to carve a more intricate piece.

You are asked to register your time for attendance at this workshop.

Aluminum is able to be cast and cooled much quicker. Once your sand tile is carved it will be poured and required to cool for an hour. You do not need to remain to see your piece poured or wait for it to cool, but may pick-up at a later date.

Register early to assure your choice of shape.

We also plan to offer “make and take” experiences for those who have not previously registered.

  • The cost for the workshops and piece is $30.
Register for an Aluminum Casting Tile
  • Aluminum Questions? Contact Stephen Hargash 989-598-4967 or hargashartiststudio@gmail.com

Styrofoam Burn Out

This workshop will take you through the process of how to make a 3 dimensional sculpture. You will be working with Styrofoam to create your sculpture. Once the sculpture is completed it will be packed in resin/catalyst sand. The Styrofoam remains in the sand and molten metal is poured into the mold burning the Styrofoam out as it fills with iron.

In this workshop you will be creating a 3 dimensional bird out of Styrofoam to be poured in iron. You will be taken through the project step by step to create your own unique 3 dimensional sculpture. One on one instruction is given by artist Stephen Hargash at his studio.

Styrofoam Burn Out Workshop

Attend two workshops to learn how to carve a three-dimensional piece using styrofoam to be held on the two Saturdays before the Festival, September 4th and 11th from 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM at Hargash Studio located at 566 S. Main Street, Frankenmuth, behind the Great Lakes Escape Building.

Your piece will be poured with iron at dusk on Saturday, September 25.

Finished Piece Pick up: Should you decide to clean your own piece by aggressively scrubbing with a steel brush, your piece may be picked up on Sunday, September 26. If we sandblast for you, your piece will be completed during the week following the event and you will receive communication for pick-up. The cost for the piece with sandblasting is $125.

  • The cost for the workshops and piece is $115.
  • The cost for the workshops and piece with sandblasting is $125.
Register for a Styrofoam Piece
  • Styrofoam Questions? Contact Stephen Hargash 989-598-4967 or hargashartiststudio@gmail.com

Raku Workshop

Raku is an ancient Japanese technique which has been rediscovered by modern potters who appreciate its unique beauty and metallic luster and color. The raku process involves reducing (starving the oxygen) the glazed raku pottery in combustible materials such as leaves, sawdust, newspaper, etc. When the pieces are taken out of the kiln, they are placed in galvanized trash containers with combustible material and covered. Once the pieces are cooled, they are removed from the containers, washed, and will reveal the rich warm effects of raku.

Please be aware:

Raku Firing is a volatile process in the ceramic world. There is ALWAYS a chance for pieces NOT to survive the process. This is why we will allow for two pieces to be made in the workshops. HOWEVER, if both pieces do not survive, we will try our best to retrieve the remains. THIS IS AN UNAVOIDABLE FACT OF RAKU. Should our spots not all fill, every effort will be made to bring you back to try the process again. The process is a large part of the experience.

Raku Workshop Details

Due to kiln space and raku volubility, only 15 artists can be utilized to create a piece each day. Time slots are available Friday, September 24 from 11 AM to 5 PM and Saturday, September 25 from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Time slots are first come, first serve so register today!

Each workshop will take approximately 1½ hours from start to finish. You will be able to take your piece home when the process is completed.

  • The cost for the workshops and piece is $65.
Register for a Raku Piece
  • Raku Questions? Contact Mary Anne Schrems 989-652-8887 or MASchrems@aol.com

Glass Blown Solid Work

Glassblowing is a glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble (or parison) with the aid of a blowpipe (or blow tube). A person who blows glass is called a glassblower, glassmith, or gaffer. A lampworker (often also called a glassblower or glassworker) manipulates glass with the use of a torch on a smaller scale, such as in producing precision laboratory glassware out of borosilicate glass. (source: Wikipedia)

The Frankenmuth Fire Arts Festival Committee has hired Firenation Studio and Gallery from Holland, Ohio to bring their Mobile Hotshop, portable glass furnace to our event. Firenation will be bringing a display of their creations for exhibit and sale. Visit their website at Firenation.com

Glass Blown Solid Work Workshop Details

Participants will be working hands-on with a glass instructor learning how to make a glass pumpkin as shown above. You will be given the opportunity to choose your color of glass. The finished pumpkin will be placed into an annealer, to enable the glass to cool down slowly from 2000 degrees to prevent breakage. All pumpkins will be finished and ready for pick-up the following morning.

Color choices for the pumpkin are opaque orange, transparent orange, and orange mix. Color choices for the stem are green or brown.

Limited slots available. Time slots are available Friday, September 24 from 11 AM to 5 PM and Saturday, September 25 from 11 AM to 5 PM. Time slots are first come, first serve so register today!

  • The cost for the workshops and piece is $55.
Register for the Glass Blown Solid Work Workshop
  • Glass Questions? Contact Mary Anne Schrems 989-652-8887 or MASchrems@aol.com