Paint Love Metal Artists at Kate's Club: Demonstrating the Grief Journey

We are so excited to share with you the story and pictures from our final 2014 Paint Love event on December 6th of last year.  This event provided an amazing end to an incredible year.  The love, leadership, time, resources, planning, and foresight that our artists put into the Paint Love projects in 2014 was extraordinary.  The three artists that led our final project of 2014, perfectly exemplified this dedication and generosity.

Under the leadership of metal artist Miranda Kyle, she, along with Alex Pate and Audrey Dakin created and delivered a portable metal foundry to the teens of Kate's Club in Atlanta.  Kate's Club is an organization that empowers children and teens who have lost a parent or sibling.  We have been honored to partner with them in the past.  (You can read about our previous event with Kate's Club and Paint Love's two wax encaustic artists Penny and Kim here.) Each month Kate's Club holds one to two Clubhouse Days where their students can come for a free day of programming.  December's Clubhouse theme was "Reflecting on your grief journey." Utilizing melted aluminum cans, Miranda Duncan created a project for Kate's Club that beautifully depicted the journey these students were walking through. Together with local communities, Paint Love and Kate's Club collected soda cans to be melted down.

Miranda, Alex, and Audrey built (yes, built! we think this is amazing!) a portable furnace that they brought to Kate's Club. Each student was given a sand mold, that they could carve into to create an image (similar to relief printing). The cans were crushed, placed into the furnace, melted down, and then poured into the sand molds to create aluminum metal sculptures for each of the teens to take home. The most incredible part about this project was that the students, themselves, got to put on foundry gear and participate in each step of the process including pouring the metal. 

The idea of taking something broken and crushed, melting it down, and creating something beautiful and new is a wonderful image of the grief journey. Loss of someone so close forces us into a new way of life, but as the metal project helps to demonstrate, beauty can come from those ashes. The staff and volunteers at Kate's Club play an amazing role in helping these students learn to grieve and find the strength to envision a beautiful life ahead.  We consider it a joy to be able to use art to partner with the work Kate's Club is doing.

Kate's Club Program Director, Lane Pease commented on the project saying,  "Paint Love offers our members a chance to express themselves in unique ways.  Our members are excited about what they create while being able to process their feelings and thoughts in a positive way."

Below are some of the pictures and notes from the day's activities: Miranda, Alex, and Audrey set up the portable furnace in the parking deck of Kate's Club.  We ran into a bit of rain, but we found a great covered spot with plenty of ventilation.

The teens were given sand molds to carve into.  This butterfly was brought as an example and gifted to the staff at Kate's Club.

Alex and Miranda gave a safety demonstration to the teens before heading downstairs.

The students were split up into teams to rotate through all of the foundry jobs. First, they had to gear up in order to work next to the furnace. They did an incredible job with each role they were assigned.  Including our amazing can crushers! With the crushed metal divided into batches, the students, along with our artists, loaded the furnace with the metal pieces.  

Once, melted, the teens helped carry the melted aluminum over to the carved molds.  

Then they carefully poured the liquid metal.  Check out this great video of their teamwork!! 

Once cooled, the sculptures were taken from the molds and cleaned off!  We LOVE how they all turned out!!  The teens were an amazing group to work with and did such an incredible job!!