Striking While the Iron is Hot
- March 7, 2016
- Posted by: Eureka Springs School of Art
- Category: News
During our winter session our campus can get a little too quiet. Thank goodness we had some brave artists willing to venture out into the cold to work in our iron studio nearly all winter. In December we had the Blacksmith Organization of Arkansas (BOA) visit our campus to execute a traditional form of smelting (or making) iron! These blacksmiths first made the furnace in which the iron was to be heated out of heat resistant clay. (all mixed my hand)
The clay was then formed into “bricks” to dry slightly and then the forge could be assembled. (We joked that our leather studio looked like a cow pasture for a few hours)
The furnace was then built with the slightly dry clay and fired without the iron first, to harden the clay even further.
Two days of hard work mixing and building the furnace culminated in a five hour firing during which four pounds of iron and four pounds of charcoal are shoveled into the furnace every 10 minutes.
Then all there is to do is wait. The blacksmiths picked a particularly cold and rainy weekend to fire this furnace so the large amount of heat coming off the smelt offered some relief to cold hands and noses.
Finally, after five hours in the cold shoveling coal and iron the “bloom” is ready and is gently pulled out of the bottom of the furnace.film 10 Cloverfield Lane streaming
The final step before using the iron is hammered to get rid of any impurities and slag that attaches itself to the molten metals. We cannot wait to see what these gentlemen make with this product, but as with many things that happen on the ESSA campus its the process itself that brings the most joy. A big thank the Blacksmithing Organization of Arkansas for using our campus to strike while the iron is hot.