There is little written about the brief history of iron casting in the art world. Most of our stories exist as oral traditions - passed down like folklore from professor/professional to student at conferences, in the classroom, or through residencies. The original iron pioneers have begun to retire and travel less, which leaves the next generation of casters to ensure this knowledge is not lost. As this generation embraces that responsibility, they are preserving the history, mythology and technical proficiency, and passing it along to the students and young casters below them.
Professors Wayne Potratz, Marjee Levine, and I created a book composed of letters written by the original “founding fathers and mothers” and/or “significant contributors to the field” of fine art iron casting addressed to a fictitious young caster (evolving the books “Letters to a Young Artist” and “Letters to a Young Poet” into our specific casting community). The books were fully funded through donations, which makes it possible for all proceeds to go straight to the specialized conferences and the venues that host and teach the art form. We believe that this will provide guidance and support to future iron casters from established and accomplished veterans such as George Beasley, Coral Lambert, Butch Jack, and many more.
We asked 22 iron pioneers to write a one – two page letter to a “fictional young caster.” They composed their letters surrounding their particular opinions, words of wisdom, technical advice, inspirations, experimentation, or anything that they feel might enrich a young caster’s understanding of why they do what they do and why they have encouraged so many others to follow in this path. This book will reach a variety of this field’s youth and provide solid historical context in a unique resource.