Lamar University art professor Kurt Dyrhayg breaks the plug on the furnace during the iron pour, March 31, on the LU campus. Photo by Andy Coughlan

If it’s true that creativity is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, then the students and visiting artists who participated in Lamar University’s iron pour March 31 are very creative, indeed.

The bright light of molten metal is reflected in a student’s safety visor.

LU art professor Kurt Dyrhaug poured coke into the furnace, located in the Art Building’s Foundry, followed by chunks of metal — the yellow flames bursting from the top of the furnace.

Once the metal was good and hot — at least 2,500 degrees — Dyrhaug broke open the plug amid a shower of sparks and the white-hot iron flowed down a chute into the ladle, which took two people to handle.

It was a lovely spring day outside the furnace area, but the temperature rose dramatically as the iron flowed. The ladle was carefully carried to a series of molds nearby.

As the students poured the iron into the holes, dust particles burst into flames from the heat, creating a mini-firework display.

Students pour molten metal during the iron pour, March 31, on the Lamar University campus. The sparks are caused by dust particles ignited by the heat.

An iron pour is always a visual spectacle. The students now face a wait until the metal cools before they can begin the task of polishing and refining their sculptures.

Students pour molten metal during the iron pour, March 31, on the Lamar University campus. Photo by Andy Coughlan
Art professor Kurt Dyrhaug, right, watches as students pour molten metal during the iron pour, March 31, on the Lamar University campus. Photo by Andy Coughlan

This photo story first ran in the April 7. 2022, edition of The Beaumont Enterprise.

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