From 6th to 20th May 2017, a series of events unveiled a six-year collaboration between Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) Lecturers, Gordon Munro and Ewan Robertson.

Gordon Munro, Lecturer in Sculpture and one of the event organisers, gives an overview of the activities.

Iron: Origins and Destinations included three different aspects that examined iron – a symposium, an exhibition and an iron-casting workshop. The symposium and related events provided a unique opportunity to learn about the fundamental role that iron plays in our lives, the impact of this material throughout history and how this has influenced ancient and contemporary culture.

Launching with the symposium, the day included the first viewing of a specially-commissioned documentary film, Iron: Origins and Destinations, made in collaboration with filmmaker and ECA graduate Rachel Nolan, along with presentations and discussion by a panel of experts.

Peter Davidson, Senior Curator of Mineralogy in the Natural Sciences Department of National Museums Scotland Collection Centre described aspects of iron’s arrival on earth through meteorite falls and its use in the creation of early artefacts. Gemma Cruickshanks, Post-Excavation Officer for National Museums Scotland discussed the material culture of Iron Age Scotland and looked at the first ironworkers in Scotland; what, where and how they were making, and how their craft and the uses of iron changed throughout the Iron Age.

"“The project has helped advance my skills and thinking around working with metal, which has been invaluable to me since I am beginning to experiment with this material and surrounding theory in my own practice. I have gained vast amounts of new knowledge from the symposium.”"

Megan Rudden, event participant

The hands-on workshop, which was run by Gordon Munro, Ewan Robertson, and ECA graduate Kate Ive, allowed participants to learn about the mould making process for iron and experience an iron pour at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.

The featured exhibition, which also included work by Gordon and Ewan, as well as ECA graduate Daisy Lafarge, is now set to be displayed at The Park Gallery in Callendar House, Falkirk from January to May 2018.

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop
Image courtesy of Graeme Yule
The event took place at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop
wasps hovering on iron
Image: Rachel Nolan
Still from Rachel Nolan’s commissioned film Iron: Origins and Destinations, 2017

The Iron: Origins and Destinations project will be developed to pay particular attention to Falkirk’s Carron Iron works. Gordon and Ewan will work closely with the curators at the Callendar House Museum to research this rich aspect of Falkirk’s heritage and create new work in response.

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