Alfred University News

Ring of Fire demonstrates the power of the flame in creating art

A student-driven event focused on the power of fire as it applies to art will be held Saturday. Nov. 18, on the campus of Alfred University.

Alfred University’s “Ring of Fire” will be held from 4-7 p.m. at various locations on Cushing Alley, including the Outdoor Kiln Pavilion, Foundry, and Glass Hot Shop. Three student organizations—the Clay Collective, Sculpture Society, and Alfred Anvil—will participate in the event, which is open to the campus and local communities. Attendees of this free event will view and experience the creation of art in ceramics, glass, and metal.

“The Ring of Fire will be an opportunity for members of our community to enjoy the incredible world of combustive arts here at Alfred. All of our flame-based art mediums will be on display for the public,” said Benjamin Buess, a junior fine arts major minoring in arts management. He, along with junior fine arts major Eva Gallagher, are co-organizers of the event. “The goal of this event is to build community and inspire creativity in others. I hope that by attending the Ring of Fire, members of our community will feel engaged, not only with our wonderful university, but also with art and the thrilling process of creating.”

“Ben and I wanted to create a celebration of Alfred's incredible capabilities within the arts and the students who make it happen. The methods of making that we are displaying on Saturday are processes that occur regularly on campus, and we wanted to invite community members to see into our worlds for the evening and make art with us,” added Gallagher, who serves as vice president of the Sculpture Society. “This event is 100-percent student-led with facilitation and help from our amazing faculty and staff members.”

poster promoting Ring of Fire art demonstrationsThe public is invited to view demonstrations of the “Raku” firing method, led by Gallagher and members of the Clay Collective. With Raku, glazed ceramics are taken from the kiln while they are still glowing red hot and are then placed in a flammable material, such as sawdust or newspaper. This technique is used to starve the piece of oxygen, which creates a myriad of colors within the glaze. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase and glaze premade ceramic pieces.

There will also be an iron pour and casting demonstrations, led by members of the Sculpture Society, during which attendees will have an opportunity to make customized iron objects. Members of Alfred Anvil, a club for aspiring blacksmiths, will give presentations of their craft, and there will be glass blowing demonstrations as well.

“Additional involvement from outside of these student organizations has also been essential for the running of this event,” commented Buess, who is president of the Sculpture Society and treasurer of the Clay Collective.

The Iron Pour is being led by M.F.A. candidate Rhiannon Scheidt, with support from Coral Lambert, professor of sculpture. The Raku firing is being run by a team of students in the School of Art and Design, ranging from first-year students to seniors. Blacksmithing demonstrations are being led by brothers Samuel and Theo Gross, junior materials science and engineering majors and Alfred Anvil club members.

Glass blowing demonstrations, coordinated by Angus Powers, professor of glass, are being given by graduate and undergraduate students who are passionate about glass.

S'mores and seasonal beverages will be available for free to those attending the Ring of Fire event.