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> Friday, June 1st, 2012 > News > The hottest course at Fanshawe: Around 2,000°F
The hottest course at Fanshawe: Around 2,000°F
Victor De Jong
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Published: Friday, June 1st, 2012
It’s a process perfected over thousands of years, first to make weapons, then to build, and now the Fanshawe Sculpture and Mould-Making class is using the process of smelting bronze to make art. The students had a unique opportunity this spring when their work was displayed at the London ARTS Project, a gallery located at 203 Dundas St. downtown.
Kristen Poisson is the course instructor and an artist himself. As he showed off the various pieces his students created, he pointed out a piece that he personally worked on and started describing the changes he’d like to make on the seemingly complete piece. “That’s what I tell the students – bring in a personal piece.” The process can be time-consuming but with an end result of turning what may have been a tacky keepsake into a piece of art. I asked why he chooses to create art using something like bronze and Poisson had a readymade answer borne of years spent honing his craft: “(Bronze) is a luscious material because it’s subtle, it’s also supple, you can make anything with it, you can even carve it.” The passion behind his bronze work was obvious as Poisson spoke about his favourite artist, Marcel Duchamp, who pushed the boundaries of what was considered art.
The course is attended by a more mature demographic of college students and includes many professionals from the community who work with metal in other capacities. Shortly after our introduction, Poisson commented that he “want(s) to get a foundry here in London through Fanshawe College. I have a growing amount of people that are interested in this process and we want to do more but we don’t have the facility.” The students do all of their casting in a facility in Windsor for lack of a local foundry.
The event showcased two classes, one from each semester of the course that Poisson teaches, and both groups “were extremely dedicated and devoted to the process, they worked hard.” Some students came in with advanced knowledge already while others were complete novices. The work on display was stunning and Poisson said he hopes to be back again next year to build on this success and promote the course further.