Ben Stagl (left) at his Portland Iron Pour

Liquid sun. We all agreed that the iron pouring from the cupola looked like liquid sun. And the air smelled like industry and action. At around 8 PM on Saturday in the courtyard in front of OMSI, as the sky transitioned from light to dark and two hours after its scheduled end, the metal scraps melting in the furnace for Portland’s first Iron Pour event (produced by artist Ben Stagl and Caitlin Moore) was finally ready. The plug was removed, the iron shot out of it in a glaring stream, and two volunteers who held a bucket on a long pole carefully poured the iron into the many sand molds arrayed in two lines. Some of the molds with wood framing caught fire.

If it was spectacle for us, it was also reminder of Portland’s industrial iron pouring past. For the participants it appeared to be incredibly exhilarating, as close encounters with the terror of scalding liquid metal might be.

Ben Stagl

Ben Stagl