The trip was arranged by Gordon Munro and Ewan Robertson, Lecturers in Sculpture at ECA, who are visiting artists at the Academy’s iron casting workshop. The students who attended were Ben Caro and Fernanda Zei, both Sculpture students.
“The idea of the workshop is to learn and explore different mould-making techniques through the creation of small scale works,” said Gordon Munro, “Students learned the fundamentals of metal casting through practice and cooperation. They took part in the whole process, including an iron pour.”
Every year since 2014, students from the Carmarthen School of Art in Wales have taken part in the workshops in Wrocław, and students from different universities in the USA have also been invited. The workshops are extra-curricular for the Academy's students but the sculptures made during them are often presented during end-of-term and degree exhibitions.
“I was honoured to be selected to go to Wrocław Academy and my experience there was beyond what I expected,” said Fernanda Zei, “in only a week I was able to make seven different sculptures and I learned three different mould-making techniques, as well as being able to pour iron for the first time.”
“All these experiences and cultural exchanges inspired me to create my artworks which will be shown in a small exhibition we are organising within the next few weeks at ECA. I wanted to create a meaningful object that would connect the past with the future as well as Edinburgh with Wrocław,” said Fernanda Zei, “I would love to think that ECA will be inviting students and staff members from Wrocław Academy, as well as from other parts of the world, so that we can keep this flame of creativity and cultural exchange ongoing for many years to come, and that our institution can be as generous, welcoming and inspirational to them as they were to us.”
“I was able to construct and cast four different types of moulds on this trip: a resin bonded sand mould, a ceramic shell mould, a 'dung' mould using horse manure and a polystyrene burnout mould,” said Ben Caro, “I enjoyed working with the students from Wrocław who welcomed us into their workshop. They were adept in the intricacies of the iron casting process and assisted us in our experimentations and the processes involved.”
“Through visits to several art museums in Wrocław, including the Four Domes Pavilion, and the contemporary sculpture on display in the city, I learned a lot about the history of polish art,” said Ben, “As an artist I have learnt a great deal in this week, which I would like to apply to future works with hot metal casting at ECA.”