Inspiration & Testimonials

The Foundry Tree project was inspired by:

-Workers at SLOSS Furnaces and other laborers who have shaped the United States, but remain faceless, undocumented and rarely recognized.
-Anthropological and genealogical processes that preserve familial structures.
-The continuation of the craft through one of America’s most important resources-creativity.
-A group of artists who wear their history of experiences.
-Having a document that will hopefully maintain necessary storytelling.
-The potential of connecting Cast Iron Artists through a web-based database that can grow and change with new generations.
-Preserving connections between “tribes” of artists.
-My professors who have passed away.
-My students who need to connect to their peers and to their elders.

Gabriel Bizen Akagawa

Founder of the Foundry Tree


Iron Casters’ reflections about the Foundry Tree:


I am inspired to continuously share the Foundry Tree project with studio guests, on my website, with new members to the iron casting scene, and at public events where people are just learning about this underground network. The organized documentation of the artists who are pushing and innovating our unique craft forward onto new generations is such an important part of keeping our community connected internationally. To see the lineage of where you first learned about cast iron and who influenced your personal energy on the pour floor is such an interesting insight to know about. The vast collection of people involved in our trade is a remarkable testament to how quickly our artisan communities have grown in essentially one lifetime of passed on knowledge. This craft is old but our family is still young, and I’m looking forward to adding to the tree as we live out this wild life we have chosen.”

Alisa Toninato, FeLion Studios, Madison WISCONSIN


“The Foundry Tree connects cast iron artists through their mentors, traces a lineage of knowledge, and adds to the sense of inclusion that this process seeks to promote.”
 

“I am so happy to be included in this wonderful project. Currently I am taking down the history of the iron casting movement in the USA and I am sure that your website will be an amazing resource as I continue my research. My goal is to produce a book within the next 5-6 years.”-Kara Brown.  For more information or to see how you can contribute her project, please email  barakrown@googlemail.com


“The Foundry tree is an important asset to our cast iron art activities in the present and will prove to be an equally important historical resource in the future.”

Tom Fox, President of the Western Cast Iron Art Alliance


“As a community of artists, traveling and making all the time it is a privilege to have the Foundry Tree Project as a record of us in action. It is truly unique to be able to capture artists as they travel through our community and I always look forward to seeing the growth of the project celebrating old changing faces along with the new. Over the years the Foundry Tree Project has become a crucial record of the Cast Iron Movement and is especially relevant as we now come into what is essentially our 50th year. “
 
Iron Sculptor and Professor of Sculpture at Alfred University
 

“I love your project and it is so neat to see myself in 2009 when I first had a photo at Sloss and now. I think it is really the only collection of all of us — so great to see it expand; keep up the good work.”-Paige Henry
 

“Given the ongoing learning in the iron community, we can all say that we learned from many people. I appreciate the ongoing development of this project, as it gives the cast iron art movement in contemporary sculpture practice a presence that is ever more important.” Tamsie Ringler Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Foundry, University of Minnesota Department of Art
 

“I just love being on Foundry Tree, it shows the lineage in the cast iron education system and how skills are passed from teacher to student. If you cast iron you should be on Foundry Tree.”
Phen Edwards