Pitt Rivers Museum welcomes fiery sculpture display in New Iron Age exhibition

By Culture24 Reporter | 09 December 2011
A photo of firey sculpting material being poured out of a pot in a darkened furnace
© Nigel Watt
Exhibition: New Iron Age, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, until January 23 2012

Casting replicas of Iron Age sculptures doesn’t sound like an easy task, particularly when you have to wear a hefty protective suit while pouring molten bronze and iron into miniscule pots from the fires of a burning furnace.

Inspired by the amazing Oxford University collections held at the good ship Pitt Rivers, 15 artists were given the chance to try their flame retardant arms at just that courtesy of the Bullpen Foundry, a family-run Oxfordshire farmland building which offers practitioners and the public facilities for wax moulding, pouring and metalwork, making it pretty much one of a kind in the UK.

Overseen by Bullpen founders Helen and Wesley Jacobs and fellow artists Steve Hurst and Daniel Hunt, the research session-turned masked sculpting swizzle has resulted in each heat-harnesser forging a new sculpture for the museum.

They go on display there alongside unfinished fragments taken straight from the moulds, fledgling versions of each piece and a series of photographs charting how each stage of the project progressed.

  • Open 10am-4.30pm (12pm-4.30pm Monday). Admission free. Visit The Bullpen for more on the site.

More pictures from the furnace:

A photo of a firey furnace with red hot material being poured out of a pot
A week-long course in mould-making techniques at the Bullpen Foundry accompanied the exhibition
© Nigel Watt
A photo of a sculpture of a miniature carriage with a metal claw coming out of it
The lead artists visited the Pitt Rivers to study selected objects from the collection
© Nigel Watt
A photo of a series of tiny sculptures and rings inside a museum case
The project was a lesson in skill development and inspiration for 15 participating artists
© Nigel Watt
A photo of a tiny sculpture of a brown chair inside a museum
The results of the process have gone on show in the Lower and Upper Galleries
© Nigel Watt
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