Metal Arts


For a list of classes and workshops,

click here: >>>events ticket page.

Sloss Furnaces is a 32-acre blast furnace plant where iron was made from 1882 to 1971 when the plant was closed due to obsolenscence. Reopened in 1983 as a museum and national historic landmark, Sloss sponsors an active arts program that focuses on cast and formed metal sculpture. This metal arts program is rooted in Birmingham’s historic ties to the iron and steel industry. For its first hundred years, Birmingham was a foundry town, the South’s foremost industrial center and the world’s largest producer of cast iron pipe. So no form of art is more suited for creation in Birmingham than cast iron art. And nowhere in Birmingham is it more appropriate than Sloss, where for ninety years men made iron.


Metal Arts Power House #10Since initiating the metal arts program in 1985, Sloss has offered workshops, exhibitions, and conferences on all aspects of metal working—forging, fabricating and casting—but focuses primarily on the use of cast iron as a sculpture medium. Sloss hosted the First and Second International Conferences on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in 1988 and 1994 and has organized the biennial National Conference on Cast Iron Art since 1997. For further information about the National Conference, visit Monthly open studios give a regional audience of professional artists access to the foundry facilities needed to cast their own work, while regular sculpture workshops in casting, welding and forging are designed for the general public. Organizing and implementing program activities is a program director and two artist-in-residents who, in addition, create and exhibit their own work and produce commissions for local institutions and organizations.


Meet the artists:

Marshall Christie has been a long time participant and supporter of the Metal Arts Program. In July 2014, he became our leading Senior Artist in Residence. He not only creates his own art, but also leads weekend workshops, commissions and demonstration pours for thousands of school children. To reach Marshall about your project, email him at


John Stewart Jackson became Senior Artist in Residence in 2014 after being a part of the Sloss Metal Arts program for many years. John Stewart initially served as a Resident Artist at Sloss from 2002-2005. After spending 7 years in Asia, he returned to the Sloss Metal Arts program in 2014. Along with Marshall, John Stewart leads all foundry functions, workshops and demonstration iron pours. He is also the Furnace Master for the foundry’s 3 cupolas. To reach John Stewart, email him at

Pour 14

Public Programs

Sloss Metal Arts offers a variety of educational public programs and workshops throughout the year to anyone interested. If you are interested in signing up for any of the offered workshops, please visit the events tab of the website or call Marshall Christie at 205.254.2264 or email

Public Workshops:

Iron & Bronze Casting:Artists Open Studio

Friday 6-9pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-5pm
Open Studios are for artists and others who have some experience casting iron. Participants must attend all three days. Bronze will be cast on Saturday only. Participants are limited to a total sand weight of 1000lbs. Participants should arrive with a ready made wax pattern. Patterns may also be made of other materials–plasticene, wood etc.–but must be approved by a staff artist prior to the workshop. Cost $150

hot iron 3

Cast Iron Sculptures for Beginners

Friday 6-9pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-5pm
This workshop is designed for people with no experience in casting but who feel the creative urge to design and produce their own unique piece of artwork. The class introduces you to the basic processes used to create cast iron sculpture–patternmaking, mold making, casting and finishing–in an intensive three-day weekend that leave you with works of metal art.
What to expect: Most participants make their pattern from several pre-made forms we have in stock. These include vessels, light switch covers, book ends and wall plaques. Students embellish these forms with their own designs, making them uniquely their own and in the process, learn the basics of patternmaking. The workshop includes instruction in the use of wax and plasticene, an oil-based clay. Alternatively, participants may make an original wax pattern using the wax-working techniqueMetal Artwork sites demonstrated in the workshop or bring a ready-made wax pattern from home. Saturday is devoted to making molds for the completed patterns, Sunday is casting day. Cost $325

Creative Welding

Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm
No experience necessary! In this workshop, you’ll learn to make decorative and useful items for your home or garden. The instructor will guide you through all the basic processes you need to use a cutting torch and welder to create art. The workshop provides equipment, supplies, and instruction in the use of MIG welders. Students are welcome to bring their own welders if they prefer to learn on their own equipment. Cost $250

Welding 11

Basic & Intermediate Blacksmithing

Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm
In this workshop, you’ll learn to move between the fire, hammer and anvil. Using basic blacksmithing tools, you’ll learn the techniques used to manipulate steel, Students can expect to complete several small projects. Students will learn the fundamentals of blacksmithing such as how to forge a taper, uspet, draw, split and punch holes in mild steel. Basic fire control and hammer techniques will be demonstrated. Cost $250



Scheduled for certain Monday or Thursday nights 6pm-9pm
Bring some friends and join the Sloss Metal Arts Crew for a night of cast iron creative fun! The artists will help you create either a cast iron bowl or cast iron platter. Carve designs into pre-set molds. Please note your bowl or platter will be designed durning the evening session and casted at the next available pour date. We will provide you with the upcoming pour schedule and you are encouraged to come see your design be cast! Cost $45

Doodle Bowls

To register for any of the classes and workshops above, visit the events ticket page.