BY JESSALYN KIRCHHOFF
GRAPHIC BY ALYXIUS TORRES
With the new year comes new opportunities to pursue. The FHSU Fe Sculpture Club would like to extend a warm welcome (despite the bitter weather) to join their first meeting of this semester and to learn more about this fairly new club on campus.
The Fe Sculpture Club is an all-inclusive campus-wide organization committed to creatively communicate, educate and celebrate a variety of art forms and processes through metalworking.
Secretary and Co-Founder of Fe Sculpture Club, Cassie Sells, explains the reasoning behind starting the club this past Fall 2022 semester.
“One of the reasons we decided to start the Fe Sculpture club is to create a community on campus similar to the current iron casting community,” Sells said. “Our founding members are heavily involved in the iron casting community and that is where I first experienced inclusivity that is parallel with diversity.”
She continues by pointing out the benefits that being a club member entails.
“It’s a win to merge these two parts of our lives into one by teaching and being taught by our community members,” she said. “This includes providing the opportunities for the members to travel to workshops and conferences to pursue knowledge.”
Treasurer and Co-Founder of Fe Sculpture Club, Carly Marie Odegard, expands on the many advantages that club members hold as well as how the Hays community supports them.
“Common practices are shared between many sculptors within the club and it is a matter of using those practices to develop unique work,” Odegard said. “This work is inclusive to both the audience and the sculptor because of the techniques utilized to create handmade tools/ artistic work. The art field itself is very dependent on its audience, so the Hays community is perfect for sculptures of varying sizes.”
Odegard touches on how the club can merit the surrounding community.
“The Hays community benefits from our club by showcasing our work and inviting people into their stores/homes to share finished work made by local students/artists,” she said. “Art is a great talking point because every sculpture comes with a story behind the idea and the creation.”
Sells adds to Odegard’s statements.
“Constructing sculptures/art with the purpose of providing the community with engagement leads to mutual admiration for those seeing the works. The individual creating is given the opportunity to show their self-expression to a wide audience that can further their understanding of oneself or the feeling of the artist,” Sells said. “Having art installations to congregate around can help stimulate conversations and lead to a stronger community. For artists, making is a part of everyday life. Being able to share this passion and learn about others’ works is an avenue to create more.”
Sells then hones in on the importance of community for college students saying she can’t stress how important it is to have a supportive community in college.
“These last few years have made it challenging to develop these social supports and this makes it all the more crucial to acknowledge the current opportunities to create that community, such as joining clubs,” Sells said.
She stays with the theme of community by mentioning how the FHSU art department has fabricated strong ties with the people of Hays and how the Fe Sculpture Club aims to stay true to that mission, even through its earlier stages.
“The sculpture department has been involved in the community through casting demonstrations and blacksmithing demos, and the sculpture club is striving to be a continuation of this endeavor,” Sells said. “We are a new club that is still developing to be more involved and we are figuring out how to grow and nurture it every week.”
The club has now been around long enough for its members to create lifelong, lasting memories.
For Odegard, her most memorable moment so far is the club project they created last October – cast iron pumpkins.
“We used foam pumpkins as a template and made all of the pumpkins individualized through relief sculpting with plasticine clay,” she said. “Myself and other experienced club members were able to teach every part of the process – from making the mold, pouring iron into the molds, and finally, finishing the pieces.”
She hints at this semester’s project, which the club is very excited about – cast iron rings.
“We will be creating these rings using the lost-wax casting method and the centrifugal caster,” Odegard said.
On the other hand, Sells had a hard time choosing a singular memory, but says it is the people who make the club special.
“A majority of my favorite people are involved in this club, but my favorite memory would have to be the last iron pour,” Sells said. “Experiencing the excitement and the energy surrounding creating art in this fashion was exhilarating. The best way I can describe the feeling is an embodiment of accomplishment mixed with Christmas morning.”
Odegard encourages students to join the new club and displays the many opportunities students warrant by being involved on campus.
“Being involved as a student grants many opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise get if you weren’t. The opportunity to travel at the school or club’s expense is one of the biggest factors to wanting to get involved,” Odegard said. “Funds are allocated to clubs for students to attain materials, cover travel expenses, and attend workshops. All of these opportunities help students to build connections and develop relationships with people with different backgrounds and skills.”
The first Fe Sculpture Club meeting of this semester will be at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday in Room 103 in the Applied Tecs Building (when you walk into the building- left through the Taylor Gallery).
More information on the club can be found on their TigerLink page.