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Forty participate in Women for Shepherd metal pour at FASTEnER Lab

Alyssa Imes (r.) and her team pour iron into molds at the Women for Shepherd Metal Pour event on October 20. Imes’s furnace, “Phylus,” was self-built by the Shepherd University graduate.

More than 40 alumnae, community members, faculty, and staff attended the Women for Shepherd metal pour and art exhibit on Saturday, October 20, at Shepherd’s FASTEnER Lab. The event was sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation in conjunction with the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater.

The metal pour and art exhibit, which was the 12th marquee event for Women for Shepherd, featured the team of recent graduate Alyssa Imes, whose monarch butterfly sculpture was installed in the gardens of historic Popodicon in the spring. Imes earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts in sculpture. Her work has been shown regionally throughout West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Event attendee Cindy Calhoun works on her scratch block mold. Calhoun brought her grandson Michael with her to the pour.

Participants at the event were led through a tutorial of creating a scratch block mold of self-chosen patterns, which were in turn used to create a metal keepsake made from iron poured on site. Although some in attendance had previous experience with scratch block carving, most were novices when it came to the metal pour process.

“I’m not at all talented,” said alumna Anne Small, whose cat face design reflected her love of animals. “It was a lot easier than I expected and definitely a lot of fun!”

Women for Shepherd planning committee members Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, professor of English, and alumna Sue Mentzer-Blair ’72 were instrumental in organizing the event, which highlighted a unique collaboration between the group and Shepherd’s art department to expose technologies and creations of the FASTEnER Lab beyond the classroom.

“Who doesn’t love to see molten metal flow and have your artwork solidify right in front of you?” asked Kevin Dartt, 3-D fabrication manager for the lab.

“The Women for Shepherd metal casting event was the first time the lab focused on pouring iron for the community,” Dartt said. “It was a great time bringing students, alumni, the campus, and community together to make art.”

For more information on the FASTEnER Lab, visit To learn more about Women for Shepherd or to help plan future events, contact Meg Peterson at 304-876-5021 or, or visit