So this past weekend I went to Birmingham, Alabama for the 25th Biennial Sloss Iron Pour. Talk about an amazing experience to be apart of. It was quite the adventure from start to finish. It was me and a couple of my friends left milwaukee at 7 at night and started our 12 hour drive. We ended up getting to sloss around 8:30 in the morning getting maybe a collective 2 hours of sleep.
We were lucky enough to meet up with Alabama State and jump in on their pour right off the bat. They even let us pour right away. Talk about intense, 12 hour car ride, near zero sleep, and then pouring a 75lb tap. First Iron pour as well, so there was a slight learning curve. Luckily our pours went great, everyones pieces turned out.
After the pour we had some time to go explore the furnaces. They are something to leave you in awe. They towered over you and made you feel smaller than I ever have. Walking around the buildings trying to comprehend how it was ran and operated. It was mind boggling at the size of the levers, cranks, and valves. Some of them looked like it would take a team to turn them. The whole place just seemed surreal to me, that something of this size was created and operated by humans. I still am just in somewhat of a bliss from the overall experience.
The whole trip left me in a hole financially but its one of those moments that makes it all worth it. Seeing the passion that these fellow sculptors had for their material is inspiring in itself. One of my favorite times was watching the others operate the cupolas and pour. The passion can almost be seen on them while they poured. The focus and determination in each of them was just awesome to watch. It was like watching a chaotic dance, each person had their role and they knew how to do it. That alone was an learning experience worth the entire trip.
All in all it was another moment in my life that I will never forget. I got to see something amazing that I may never had to chance to see and got to meet some amazing people that I may never have gotten to meet. All spent with some amazing people.
If you ever are in the Birmingham area I recommend taking a few minutes out of your day and explore Sloss, the place is crawling with history it seems to seep of the walls. The photos do not do justice to the place in any way.
I will be posting my finished iron piece in the upcoming week!