Participant Biographies

Participant Biographies

Biographies – Organizers, Speakers, Performers & Artists

Kārlis Alainis, a native of Latvia, studied in the Sculpture Department of Rīga Applied Arts College, the Latvian Academy of Art, and Humboldt State University, CA, USA, where he served as a Technical Assistant. He currently teaches sculpture in the Design Department of the Rīga Design and Art School (since 1993). He has also served as a lecturer for the Sculpture Department of the Latvian Academy of Art since 2002. In the past fourteen years, he has organized ten international iron casting art symposia in Latvia and has taken part in numerous other iron casting and art events. Alainis has been a member of the Artists’ Union of Latvia since 1996 and has been participating in exhibitions since 1993. His studio in Rīga is an exhibition venue for this conference. www.alainis.com

Uldis Balga (Joint Stock Company) is a self-taught photographer and advanced his skills through photo courses. Since 1989 he has had several solo exhibitions, including at the Latvian Museum of Photography. He has participated in group exhibitions in the United States, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Russia and elsewhere. He takes active part in photo shows and workshops, and has run the photo club of Talsi since 1999.

George Beasley, born in Ironton, OH, earned his BFA degree at the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He joined the faculty of Georgia State University in 1970. In 1996 he received the first National Outstanding Sculptor Educator Award, given by the International Sculpture Center. In 2007 he was recognized as a Regents Professor of Fine Art by the University System of Georgia and has recently retired as Regents Professor Emeritus. He exhibits internationally and his work is found in numerous private, corporate, and institutional collections. Inspiration for imagery in his sculpture and drawings has been developed through research into Celtic influences on European foundry history and practice. Issues of sociology as molded by immigration patterns in the iron industry have had a profound effect on this research. He has built site-specific installations inspired by this research. They begin as performances, enabling the viewer to briefly experience the “dance” of iron making. Post-performance the structures remain, giving visual testimony to the event. A series of cast bronze and iron sculptures has been made which derive their inspiration and composition from these events. They often serve as documents containing notation on the surface through the use of Ogham markings and Gallic verse. Currently, Beasley divides his time between residences in Atlanta and in Northeast Scotland. gbeasley@gsu.edu

Christian Benefiel received his MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park and BFA from East Carolina University. Since then, he has received The Roth Endowment Award, MSAC Individual Artist Grant, William J Fulbright Post Graduate Research Grant, the Oliver Award, and Hamiltonian Fellowship among others. He has done artist residencies at Pirkkala Sculpture Park, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and Jackson County Green Energy Park, the Finnish Academy of Fine Art, as well as traditional art spaces such as Hamiltonian Artists and The Vermont Studio Center. He teaches Sculpture and Drawing at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. He lives and works in western Maryland. www.christianbenefiel.com; blackscrewstudios@gmail.com

Elise Betrus, growing up in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State, Betrus has fostered a great appreciation for the beauty of the wilderness. This upbringing has played a large role in her development as a young artist and continues to inspire her work. She recently received her BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University with a focus in glass art and sculpture. Working mainly with glass, wood, and light elements to create installations, Betrus draws upon concepts of man’s connection to the earth. During her time at Alfred, she helped run the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron Project. The Project has influenced Betrus’s studio practice immensely by giving her first-hand experience in the realm of community art and how truly beneficial art can be. www.elisebetrus.wordpress.com

Carl Billingsley was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and has lived in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Germany. He received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has held teaching positions at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Billingsley served a long career as Professor at the School of Art, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, and he is presently self-employed at Billingsley Atelier, Ayden, NC. His recent exhibitions include: Sculpture by the Sea-Cottesloe, Perth, Australia, 2014; Co-organizer and participant in Stone-Wood-Iron International Sculpture Symposium, Heredia, Costa Rica, 2013; awarded the Andrea Stretton Memorial Invitation by Sculpture by the Sea-Bondi, Sydney, Australia; carved granite sculpture “Quadrant Stone” and collaborated with his son Benjamin to create the installation “The Sun” at Pedvale Open Air Art Museum, Latvia; Third Prize, First Guilin Uzi Paradise International Sculpture Awards, China; a monumental steel sculpture at the Pirkkala Sculpture Symposium, Finland, 2003; and winner of the “Semi-Grand Prize” at the Toya Mura International Sculpture Biennale, Toya Mura, Japan. His work has appeared in over thirteen solo exhibitions and over eighty juried and group exhibitions during the course of his career. He has won numerous sculptural commissions and his work appears in public and private collections in Finland, Japan, Estonia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Russia, Brazil, Israel, China, and across the United States. www.billingsleyatelier.com

James Brenner received his BFA degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and his MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the 20 years of his professional career as a sculptor, Brenner has served as a core artist for the Chicago Public Art Group, the director of Chicago Sculpture Works, and the director of the annual “Paradise Pour” iron pour and artist residency in Columbus, IN. Brenner’s work ranges from large-scale, interactive steel sculptures to collaborative, public art projects and synergistic iron casting events. Integral to their surrounding physical and social environments, his sculptures serve as platforms for social dialogue. His work asks the viewer not only to observe, but also to engage, to become a viewer/participant either in the process of the making or the way the sculpture is experienced. Brenner has participated as a Visiting Artist on over 20 occasions nationwide, completed over 30 public and corporate arts commissions, and his work has joined numerous public and private collections across the country. www.jamesbrenner.com

Anthony Cafritz started Salem Art Works in 2005. Salem Art Works, located in Washington County, NY, serves both the immediate local community and artists from around the world. SAW is a destination for artists and non-artists to experiment and expand artistic boundaries while pushing personal limitations. Since graduating from Bennington College in 1985, Anthony Cafritz received his MFA from the State University of New York-Purchase in 1990 where he majored in Sculpture and Painting. Cafritz has taught at many colleges and exhibited all forms of media throughout the United Sates, including Williams College, Union College, and Castleton State College. He also has been an assistant and fabricator for many artists such as Mia Westerlund, Mark di Suvero and Brigid Kennedy. www.salemartworks.org

Melanie Carter is a Senior Instructor at The American University in Cairo, where she was the recipient of AUC’s Excellence in Teaching Award in spring 2012. An instructor of composition and creative writing, her poetry has been published in the Gettysburg Review, Antioch Review, and Best New Poets, as well as other journals, and her book manuscript was a finalist for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. She has held an artist’s fellowship at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, and Mustarinda, in Kainuu province, Finland, where much of her piece on sound and landscape that she will present at the conference took shape. mcarter@aucegypt.edu

Dr. Ruta Čaupova was born in Daugavpils, Latvia. She is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of the History of Art at the Art Academy of Latvia (1972-2009) and has served as a Lecturer since 1992. Dr. Čaupova has written many publications, monographs, and articles, principally about historical and theoretical aspects of sculpture in Latvia and abroad. She has a particular interest in Latvian visual (plastic) arts in the European context. Her publications include Concepts and Motifs of Landscape in Contemporary Latvian Sculpture, and Koht ja Paik. Place and Location II / Ed. by Virve Sarapik, Kadri Tuur, Mari Laanemets, Tallinn: Eesti Kunstiakadeemia, 2002, pp.227-239. www.lma.lv

Sarah Clover chooses to develop her work in a process that embraces the use of diverse materials, expressing consistent themes through and indeterminate evolution of form. This approach to process and materials resides at the center of all that she does. Her sculptures meditate on the issues surrounding destruction and regeneration of life and nature. The objects Clover creates are evocative of the artifact. They embrace a reflection of the environment and human history. www.cloverstudio.org

Margaret Coleman earned her BFA from the University of Minnesota in 2005 and her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2009. She likes doing fun things, like making art in a small fishing village in Skagastrond, Iceland for three months in 2010 (Nes Artist Residency and Fellowship) or going on a six week art tour like a DIY band in 2011 (Non Solo Collective). She has also lived in reclusion in a foreclosed building and hopped a boxcar. The former was art; the latter was just pure fun. One summer she loaded forty people onto a bus and took them to secret places (Flux Factory, Demonstrations of Aptitude, 2009) and another summer was spent hanging out with senior citizens doing paper making (St. Louis Park Arts and Culture Grant 2009). She is making a Do It Yourself Sustainable Adventure Art Symposium in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her friends (Awesome Grant, and Pollination Project Grant, 2014). She has lived in barns and farm towns while making stuff. She has cast iron and made paper in the ocean. www.noassumption.wordpress.com/the-artists/margaret-coleman/

Stephen Coles graduated from Alfred University with an MFA in sculpture in May 2010. Born in the United Kingdom, it was through a series of conferences and symposia based around cast iron art that led Coles, to the United States, and eventually to Alfred University. Having always had a keen interest in creative practices Coles started his artistic career by enrolling in a National Diploma in Fine Art at Arts University College Bournemouth, Bournemouth (UK). This then led to Coles studying his BFA in sculpture at The West Wales School of the Arts, Carmarthen (Wales). It was whilst studying at his BFA that he first came into contact with metal casting, and more importantly, attended the 5th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron art in Ironbridge (UK) in 2006. This conference instilled an appreciation of cast iron as a material within his own sculpture practice, and furthermore led to his interactions in the United States. Coles currently resides in the UK as a practicing sculptor as well as runs a small foundry, Coles Castings www.colecastings.com; Stephen_coles@btinternet.com

James A. Cook is an Associate Professor in the 3-D and Extended Media Division, School of Art, University of Arizona. He received his BFA from the University of California at Berkeley and his MFA from the California College of the Arts. His sculpture and video work have been exhibited nationally and internationally, and he has participated in residences, conferences, and symposia in the United States, Spain, India, Nepal, Japan, and Bulgaria. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including the Fulbright Regional Research Fellowship to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia; the Freeman Foundation Fellowship to India and Nepal; the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (Rockefeller Foundation) to Japan; and the Arizona Commission for the Arts Grant. www. jamesacook.net

Cecily Culver is a maker and experiment conductor; her sculptural works and immersive environments exist in the space between the ephemeral and the tangible. This translation of thoughts began in her hometown of Rochester, NY, where she completed her BFA at the Rochester Institute of Technology in interdisciplinary studio art. Culver is currently exploring the natural and man-made oddities of Phoenix, Arizona. She is working towards her MFA, concentrating on the realm of sculpture at Arizona State University, where she also delights in instructing Sculpture I. She is a recent winner of ASU’s prestigious Nathan Cummins Travel Award. www.cecilyculver.com; cecily culver @asu.edu

Meagan Daus received her BFA from the University of Minnesota where she works as Technical Assistant to the foundry and woodshop. For the past three years she has assisted at the Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota, and numerous regional iron casting events. She maintains a studio in Minneapolis. dausx001@umn.edu

Igors Dobičins was born in Rīga Latvia. He graduated in Sculpture from the Latvia Academy of Art in 1984 and is a member of the Latvian Artists Union. Awards in the field of sculpture include the Prize of the Ventspils City Council, a Grant of the Latvian Ministry of Culture for a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and the France Latvian Architecture Award for the best urban space design project. He has shown in nine solo exhibitions throughout Germany and Latvia and 19 group exhibitions internationally, including galleries, museums, and open air parks. He has created a number of monuments and public sculptures including Nordea, Bank Sculpture Exposition, Rīga, Latvia; Stone Theater, Panevežis, Lithuania; Sculpture Exposition Heavy Water, Rīga, Latvia; Anchors Exposition, Ventspils, Latvia; Black Water Lily Fountain, Zvārtava, Latvia. Igor Dobičins has participated in over twenty stone, wood, and sculpture symposia throughout Europe, and has work in numerous public collections. www.art.anazana.com; dobicins@inbox.lv

Ivārs Drulle was born in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Latvia. He began studying sculpture at the Art Academy of Latvia in 1996 and was awarded a full scholarship to study Art at the University of Montana in the United States. In 2002 Drulle received his MFA and was the recipient of the most prestigious award given to a graduate student at UMT. He returned to Latvia and is now chairman of the Form Design Department at the Rīga Design and Art School. Drulle works in various media often involving sound. Most of his projects are either large scale and site-specific or tiny miniatures and maquettes. His appearances include the 2nd Moscow Biennale for Young Art (2010), a collaborative exhibition at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) and Beaufort Triennale in Belgium (2012). He is the designer of the first Latvian EURO collector’s coin (2014) and in June 2014 his work will be shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Residencies include Art Omi International Arts Residency in New York, USA, (2008) and Civitella-Ranieri, USA/Italy (2012). www.ivarsdrulle.com

Agris Dzilna (Joint Stock Company) is a freelance graphic designer. He works with the University of Latvia, Rīga International School of Economics and Business Administration (RISEBA). He is a lecturer at the University of Latvia and at RISEBA. Dzilna studied at the Latvia Academy of Art.

Laura Feldberga studied at the Janis Rozentāls Riga Secondary School of Art and graduated from the Department of Graphics at the Latvian Academy of Art in 2000. Feldberga works in different print techniques, painting, installation, land art objects and graphic design. She is a project curator at the Pedvāle Open-Air Art Museum and has participated in exhibitions, workshops and symposia since 1995. Her works have been exhibited in Denmark, Estonia, Belarus, Finland, Japan, Sweden and Lithuania. Feldberga has been a member of the Artists’ Union of Latvia since 2004 and her creative practice is currently based in Rīga, Latvia. laura.feldberga@pedvale.lv

Ojārs Feldbergs was born in Rīga, Latvia and graduated from the Department of Sculpture at the Latvian Academy of Fine Arts in 1976. Feldbergs works in stone sculpture, makes installations and land art objects, and is the director of the Pedvāle Open-Air Art Museum. He has participated in exhibitions, symposia and competitions since 1972 and his works have been exhibited in Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, England, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Chile and the USA. He has been a member of the Artists’ Union of Latvia since 1981. He is serving as Co-Director of the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. “I came to understand that I did not wish to freeze my experiences in stone images, imbuing them with human forms. I came to appreciate that the two of us – the stone and I – can create a sign, a symbol, which, materialized in poetic form, tells of a concept or an element of nature. And you, the viewer, are given signs, so that you might sense yourself and the essence of all things, since a fallen apple is also a point, a furrow in a field is a line, the waves of the sea are an experience, the dawn is a feeling and the heavens are a spirit…” pedvale@pedvale.lv

Rebecca (Becca) Flis is a cast metal sculptor who is intrigued by environmental foundry and ancient processes, with a specific curiosity in ancient Greek clay molding. She is interested in exploring themes of tactility, process and form in her work. Flis received her BFA in Sculpture with minors in Education and Art History from Alfred University in 2014. She worked under Coral Lambert to run the Cast Iron Workshop at the 2013 International Sculpture Symposium in Miami, Florida. Her work has been in the Student Juried Exhibition of the 2013 National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art at SLOSS Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama, as well as the Fall 2013 SUNY Student Art Exhibition in Albany, New York. Her piece “Palm” (2014) is currently on loan to Alfred University as part of their art collection. Flis currently lives and works in South Glens Falls, New York. www.rebeccaflis.com; rebecca.a.flis@gmail.com

Ben Foley, a Massachusetts-based artist, creates sculpture that challenges viewers’ perception of the space they occupy. He uses industrial materials including panels of glass and kinetic armatures of wood and metal, as well as motors and electric devices to control his primary medium: light. Foley graduated from Colorado College in 2009 with a BA in sculpture with a focus on architecture, drafting, and technical drawing, all of which play a large role in his current work. His sculptural work has earned him fellowships and residencies across the country and abroad. Foley’s work is currently showing in Boston, Massachusetts. ben.cartoonlife@gmail.com

John Galt received his BA from the State University of New York College at Cortland in 1984. He earned an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, and taught there as a Gutman Fellow. He has been teaching Sculpture at Skidmore College since 1993. Galt worked at Laran Bronze Inc., in Chester, Pennsylvania as head of foundry and sand-molding. Later Galt gained extensive greensand molding experience at Atlas Brass and Aluminum and Atlas Founders in Massachusetts by casting machine parts for industrial and military applications. He is the owner of Ibis Casting, a small studio foundry where he casts work for himself and for many nationally and internationally recognized sculptors. www.skidmore.edu/academics/arthistory/faculty; jgalt@skidmore.edu

Lia Mona Gībiete administers the Kurzeme Folk Costume Information Center under the auspices of the Liepāja Museum. The Center organizes training workshops, educational programs for adults and school pupils, and provides consultation about the traditions and production of folk costumery. Gībiete has designed and consulted on costumes for events including the All Song Festival. She researches how to wear traditional items such as silk handkerchiefs, wife hats, bonnets, and wreaths, and how to fashion costumery that reflects traditional folk wear. To find these answers, she has researched the collections of the Liepāja Ethnographic Museum. With today’s facilities, materials and craftsmen, she has been able to introduce a variety of costumes echoing the masters of old. www.liepajasmuzejs.lv

Thomas Gipe is Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (SIUE) IllinoisProfessor Emeritus Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville IL. Gipe joined the faculty at SIUE as a professor of sculpture in 1975. He continued to teach sculpture at SIUE until his retirement in 2001 when he became a professor emeritus. During his time as a professor, Gipe built the M.F.A. in sculpture at SIUE into a nationally recognized program. More than 40 M.F.A. candidates graduated and are university level artists/teachers, work in professional art foundries or operate their own professional art studios. He designed and supervised the building of the sculpture studio in the new art building at SIUE. This facility was the first in the nation to utilize a solid-state induction furnace to melt bronze, aluminum and iron. tgipe@aoai.org

Andreas Glaser, born in Switzerlalnd, is internationally known for his ability to realize even the most ambitious art and design projects in metal. Connecting the knowledge of a third generation family-run metalworks business with high-tech manufacturing processes, he finds new solutions for the interaction of heritage and formal contemporary concepts.
The complex centerpiece of Basel’s main train station, the forged snakes of the Swiss Pavilion of the 2013 Venice Biennial, glass and steel combinations for modern architecture and the lamp design for a monument with an endless lantern in Germany were created in the same fire as horseshoes and garden gates. His workshop is always busy with apprentices and very special people from various countries and professions. www.facebook.com/andreas.glaser.106

Felicia Glidden, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, works with cast metal, sound, video, mixed media sculpture, and painting to explore that which is unseen or just below the surface of awareness. Her work addresses a transitional moment between states of being. Weaving together threads of traditional material (cast metal, fabrication, paper-making) with new technology (digital video and sound) mirrors her interest in linking the past with the present. Glidden earned her BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1989 and MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012. She lives in Friedrichshafen, Germany with her husband, musician and conductor Alain Wozniak. She is a lecturer in Vorstudium Gestaltung at the Jugendkunstshule Bodenseekreiss in Meersburg and runs “PROJEKTRAUM L’atelier Glidden Wozniak,” an experimental studio/ gallery. www.feliciaglidden.com

Andy Griffiths serves as the Coordinator for the BA Sculpture Casting, Carving and Construction Program at Colegsirgar in Wales. Griffiths grew up in North Wales, UK, and studied his foundation course at Wrexham College before leaving education to be lead singer of the punk band The Wall from 1978–1983. He returned to study for a BA(hons) degree in Fine Art Sculpture at Central School of Art and Design, London where he was taught foundry by Ab Abercrombie. After leaving college he worked for Ab at A&A Fine Art Foundry, London, for seven years where amongst other things he was assistant to Barry Flanagan. He moved to West Wales in 1994 and started lecturing at Carmarthen on Sculpture, continuing the tradition of bronze casting at the college. In 2005 with students and staff he built Y Ddraig Goch (The Red Dragon), a cupolette for cast iron. In 2006 staff and students ran the cupolette at the 5th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Ironbridge. Later, Andy was Co-Chair of the 6th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art which was held in 2010 in Kidwelly, West Wales. During this time he has continued to exhibit his work and complete major public art commissions. In 2008 ‘The Wall’ were asked to re-form to perform at Rebellion Punk Festival, Blackpool, UK. www.sculpturecymru.org.uk/griffiths.htm

Māris Grosbahs, born in Latvia, holds a BA from the Art Academy of Latvia and a MFA in Spatial Arts from California State University, USA. After graduating from the MFA program he worked as an artist, curator, set designer and lecturer. Currently he lives and works in Rīga, Latvia. He has exhibited locally and internationally since 1993. Grosbahs’ work is multi-disciplinary, ranging across sculpture, installation and sound. Grosbahs challenges personal identity, forcing both a physical and intellectual engagement with the work. Formally trained in sculpture, he has continued to build and expand his practice. In 1997 he established the International Art Laboratory ROJARAKU, an annual artist residency. Art Laboratory ROJARAKU removes artists geographically and conceptually from their normal studio practice and brings them together with a selected group of international artists working in a diversity of media. He is now a curator of Art Laboratory AIZ at the SERDE artist residency, Aizpute, Latvia. Grosbahs has been granted several stipends and awards, and has been a Visiting Artist at numerous universities and colleges. www.wooloo.org/Aiz

Jenny Hager-Vickery is an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of North Florida, where she has been teaching for eight years. She received her MFA in Sculpture and Digital Media at San Jose State University in California. Interested in a variety of processes and materials, including steel, cast iron, Post-it notes, video, wood, digital photography and found objects, she finds inspiration in dreams, objects from her childhood, gadgets, sea life and other curiosities. She is also very interested in collaboration: the spirit of community is important in both her teaching practice and her own work. Her cast iron work has been exhibited widely including Cymru Ironstone Castle in Wales. Flight Lab, a video installation, has traveled to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and York College, Pennsylvania. Hager’s recent projects involve large-scale zodiac images infused with a personal narrative. The first in the series was a 20-foot tall horse, a collaboration with Emily Arthur. The second was a rat, and the most recent is an ox, which currently resides at Josephine Sculpture Park in Kentucky, USA. www.havic.org/jenny

Nor Hall has practiced archetypal psychology since 1972 while maintaining a career as a mythopoetic writer, independent lecturer, workshop leader, consultant, and theatre artist. Her work in recent years as a research dramaturge for Archipelago and content developer for new plays evolved out of participation in Pantheatre’s Myth & Theatre Festivals in France.
Hall is a volunteer case consultant for the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis, a Pacifica Graduate Institute adjunct faculty member and thesis advisor, an advisor for the Ashlar Institute on trauma issues, an advisor for Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, an advisor for Pantheatre, a member of the Walker Arts Center Producers’ Council and friend of Rain Taxi Review of Books. In 2011 she was a featured guest at These Women!, a conference at the Institute for Cultural Change in Santa Barbara, California that was named after her book titled Those Women (1988, republished as Dreaming in Red in 2005). As a post-Jungian American psychotherapist and author, Nor Hall’s work focuses on archetypal studies and cultural mythology. Hall gave the keynote speech at the 5th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art: “Hot Botts and Soul Blasts: Naming the Furnace Body,” Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK. She is the author of Irons in the Fire. www.mnartists.org; norhall142@gmail.com

Cynthia Handel has investigated sculpture and performance for the last 16 years. Her work combines cast bronze, fabricated steel and cast iron elements with beeswax, silk, steel, wood and fire. She creates objects, installations and pyro-performances. She has presented her work internationally at the College Art Association, International Sculpture Center Conferences and the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. She has participated in numerous academic panels in the USA, China, Wales, the UK, and Europe. She has been an artist in residence in Wales, UK and Montana and Wyoming, USA and participated in the US/UK Iron Symposium and other iron symposia, including at the Berllanderi Sculpture Workshop, Salem Art Works and Franconia Sculpture Park. Handel was an Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, and a Visiting Professor at Sonoma State University, San Jose State University, Stanislaus State University and Alfred University. Her recent experiments use the iron casting process to create gestural works that are poetic and graceful. Iron is poured as the artist creates movement and action. The iron dances across silk and paper resulting in a “pyro print.” Cynthia Handel exhibits nationally and internationally and is in numerous collections. She maintains studios in Oakland, CA and Livingston, MT. www.cynthiahandel.com

Liz Hefler, an American sculptor, developed a love for the foundry when she studied under professor Coral Lambert at Alfred University. After earning her BFA in 2010, she continued her artistic development through work at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota, USA and several other artist residencies around the globe. Recently, she has taught and participated at many foundry conferences, creating figurative work rooted in western folklore. She has received several grants and nominations for her sculpture and has begun taking on curatorial projects. Helfer currently creates cast metal and mixed media sculpture in and around New England. www.elizabethhelfer.com

Paige Henry earned her BFA in Sculpture, Printmaking, the Fire Arts, and Metal from Alfred University in 2010. Upon graduation Henry attended the 6th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Kidwelly, Wales. Subsequently, she was offered the position of technician for Alfred University’s foundry and woodshop. She has attended numerous iron pours and events including an Iron Artist Residency at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. Paige Henry now lives in Sugar Hill, New Hamphshire where she is a self-employed artist and subcontractor. Henry is one of six artists chosen for the Iron.Stone Symposium preceding the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. She heads the conference’s Documentation Committee. www.skillpages.com/sculptor/suffield-united-states/paige.henry; paigeahenry@gmail.com

Paul Higham is an internationally recognized progenitor of ‘DataSculpture’ working with Virtual Sculpture and Prototyping technologies in the fine arts for over 30 years. He studied at Liverpool Art School in the early 70’s and went on to study Video, Painting and Sculpture at Goldsmiths. During Higham’s time at Goldsmiths his conceptual works specified autonomous domain states that became sculptural schemas and by the 80’s Higham was able to make these domain states truly ‘Operational’ through computation, his endeavor has remained consistent to propagate a new form of art based on self-organizing theories of artificial life. In 1985 – 87 he became a resident at the Madhyamaka Tibetan Buddhist Monastery where he studied for the Geshe Degree {Lo-Rig} in “Mind & Cognition”. This research has directly influenced the current work in his ‘Thought Forms’ series. www.datasculpture.net

Nils Hint is a metal artist and blacksmith from Estonia. He holds a BA and MA in Blacksmithing from the Estonian Academy of Arts. Hint has participated in various personal and group exhibitions around Europe, Israel and Australia. Hint’s works in collections include: Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tallinn, Estonia; Art St. Urban, Luzern, Switzerland; the Fund of Student Works of the Chair of Jewelry and Blacksmithing Department of the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, Estonia and private collections. In 2013, Hint was artist in residence at Art St. Urban,  residence program by Gertrud and Heinz Aechlimann, Luzern, Switzerland. He is a teacher in the Jewelry and Blacksmithing Department at the Estonian Academy of Arts and at Kopli Vocational School in Tallinn. Among his achievements are numerous grants and awards, as well as co-authoring publications and media quotes. www.nilshint.com

Harvey Hood, born in Staffordshire, England, studied at Birmingham University and the Royal College of Art in London. He served as the Head of Sculpture at Cardiff University until 2001. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at colleges in the USA, Europe and India, and was awarded a Royal College of Art Traveling Scholarship and the Sainsbury Award, as well as a Major Purchase Prize from the Arts Council of Great Britain. Hood founded and managed the Berllanderi Sculpture Workshop, Wales, UK, for 30 years until 2012. The workshop offered a venue for artists in residence, as well as a variety of symposia and other opportunities. During that time he ran cast iron courses for 16 years. Since then has concentrated on his own work using sodium silicate, carbon dioxide sand moulding. “I make sculpture in other materials and ways but the way iron rusts extends the metaphysical language of my work. Iron rusts with the same oxygen that we breathe and creates a gorgeous range of ocherous colours, but rather than enjoying these we don’t like rust. It is the antithesis of that bright shining dream that we are being sold. Maybe it is the decay that reminds us of our mortality.’’ www.harveyhood.blogspot.co.uk

John Hock was born and grew up in Washington DC. He is the founding director and now artistic director of Franconia Sculpture Park in Franconia, Minnesota. Hock is a sculptor, educator, curator and arts administrator. He is also the chief curator and manager for the City of St. Paul’s Western Sculpture Park for Public Art St. Paul. It is Hock’s belief and philosophy that sculpture is an important aspect of the world and that sculpture helps people look at the world differently. As a sculptor, Hock has large-scale abstract sculptures in collections and public sculpture parks in the US and England. www. franconia.org; johnhock@franconia.org

Katie Hovencamp is an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans sculpture, painting, drawing and performance. Interested in revealing when a construct fractures a unified experience of being present within one’s body, she questions hierarchies built by a body politic. Through installations, performances and sculptures, she creates specific tasks that force the body to respond in a shamanistic manner. By using durational, repetitious and endurance-based actions, her goal is to create an embodied experience that summons vulnerability for both the performer and the viewer. Hovencamp received her BFA from Arizona State University in 2009. She is currently pursuing her MFA from Pennsylvania State University. www.katiehovencamp.com

Alvin Huff first learned ceramics at age 16 both hand building and wheel throwing techniques, but then took a hiatus from object making for some 20 years. In the interim, he received his degree in Philosophy from Brown University and worked for AmeriCorps VISTA in Washington DC and worked internationally as Peace Corps Volunteer. In 2010, Alvin resumed his art studies at Arizona State University where he was accepted into the Master of Fine Arts with The Herberger Institute for Design for the Fall of 2014. His artistic process uses organic material as a base mold making material. His current work hopes to impart a sense of intent reflected in the chaotic element that organic material brings to a casting, but leaves the viewer to draw their own conclusions regarding meaning www.cargocollective.com/AlvinHuff; alvin.huff@gmail.com

Villu Jaanisoo was born in Tallinn, Estonia. He is a Professor and the Head of the Sculpture Department at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. He lives and works in Pirkkala and Helsinki, Finland. He is additionally the curator of the Pirkkala Sculpture Park. Jaanisoo’s work has appeared in over nine solo exhibitions in Finland and the USA over the past ten years, including Gallery Kalhama, Piippo Contemporary, and Turku Art Museum, Finland; and the Upton Gallery, Buffalo, New York, USA. Since 2001 he has shown in over 25 group exhibitions in Finland, the Baltics, and the US, including the 53rd Edition of the October Salon, Belgrade, Serbia; Water – Sense and Sensation Exhibition, Turku, Finland; Biennale of Contemporary Art
D-0 ARK Underground, Konjic, Bosnia; and the Pirkanmaa Triennial Fine Art Exhibition of Tampere Region, Tampere, Finland. www2.pirkkala.fi/villusoo

Dilys Jackson lives in Cardiff S.Wales UK. She has travelled and worked in Europe, America, Canada, United Arab Emerates, Scandinavian and Australia. She has undertaken commissions and residencies in the UK and Canada and has exhibited in Wales England and Sweden. www.dilysjackson.co.uk; Dilysjackson@yahoo.co.uk

Pauls Jaunzems was born in Latvia and graduated in Sculpture at the Latvian Academy of Art. He became a member of the Artists’ Union of Latvia in 1986. Since 1976, he has participated in many exhibitions, sculpting symposia and pleine air workshops in Latvia and abroad. He has been awarded prizes at international sculpture exhibitions. He has been instrumental in arranging one-man shows in Rīga, Latvia and Finland and has participated in a number of monument projects, including the implementation of the design and construction of a monument in Rīga dedicated to the victims of Communist terror. His works are in the collections of the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Artist`s Union and other museums in Latvia; the International Contemporary Art Centre in Seoul, South Korea; in private collections in Latvia, Sweden, USA, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Japan; and in public environments in Latvia, Iceland, US, Canada, and Japan. His practice focuses on indoor, garden and park sculptures. The attraction of Jaunzems’ art is its philosophical dimension connotations, as well as a special feeling of the material and form, a result of both his natural talent and conscious work. The artist works in natural environments as well as in exhibition halls, and endeavors to create an impression of harmony, accord and good balance. Jaunzems prefers to exhibit his sculptures in nature, and in the city environment, where they manifest the presence of art surrounded by routines of everyday life. www.paulsjaunzems.lv

Harjis Jaunzems is a metalsmith and craftsman who uses experimental archaeological methods to produce jewelry echoing that of ancient Baltic tribes. He is familiar with their symbolism, meaning and wearing traditions. He maintains a workshop in Sabile, Latvia. The Latvian Chamber of Crafts has certified Jaunzems as a master jeweler who studied archaeological materials and publications on the history and culture of metalsmithing in order to recreate work in the style of Iron Age jewelry. www.celotajs.lv/en/e/rotkalis_harijs_jaunzems; harijs.jaunzems@inbox.lv

Haley Jelinek earned a BFA in 2014 from the School of Art and Design at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She mainly concentrates on glass blowing and glass/metal/wood sculpture. She has shown work in the Biennial Neon and Light Exhibition at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Post Present, at The Old Post Office, Hornell, New York; the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron exhibition during the Pour Hard Show, Alfred University; and her senior solo show in May 2014, Sustaining the Framework. She is one of two glass captains in the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron Project, which will continue to spread and help others with proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. www.haleyjelinek.com

Danielle Jenson grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Living there taught her much about her physical capabilities and the world around her. It allowed her to become fascinated with physical experience. Jenson thought that she had left that behind her when she was accepted to the University of Alberta in (Alberta, Canada), but soon realized it was integral to who she was. Jenson found that this part of her could be intuitively expressed in sculpture and began to develop it. A significant step in her learning was the opportunity to intern at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota, USA. There Jenson was introduced to large scale sculpture and iron casting and the community surrounding it. This allowed her to broaden her vocabulary in art. Since then Jesnon has been working on using art tools or methods that aren’t very common in artistic practice. www.daniellejenson.wordpress.com; dmd.jenson@gmail.com

Justine Johnson, an American/British artist, was born in Orange, California. She received a BA in Theatre Arts with emphasis on Acting and Costume from San Francisco State University, where she developed an interest in Japanese textiles that led her to study the Shibori and Yuzen techniques with Hiroshi Hashida in Osaka, Japan. After a year’s study in Japan, she worked in Hong Kong from 1985-1992, as a designer/art director in the fashion industry and continued to develop textile painting/drawing as well as costume for Hong Kong ballet. In 1992, she lives in London/Wales. At this time she wanted to expand her ‘making’ skills and enrolled in the sculpture programme at West Wales school of Art, where she received a BA (1 Hons) 1995-1998 and an MFA from Middlesex University, London 2000-2003. Johnson’s work explores personal and multidisciplinary approach, using a wide variety of materials and added concentration on method, which can become ritual or performance. Justine has participated in many group and solo exhibitions. Most recently she was selected for Void Open at Void Art Gallery, London and was invited artist in HERoica at SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, NYC and shows with 56 Group Wales and Iron Maidens. She lives and works London. Justine’s other performance art films include Bell For Peace; Beautiful tears in My Secret Life; She Walks The Spiral Path with Nor Hall; and Escape Velocity. justinejohnson888@gmail.com

Joint Stock Company – See Uldis Balga and Agris Dzilna

Eden Jolly has worked at Scottish Sculpture Workshop since 1994 aiding, abetting, cajoling, encouraging, and occasionally teaching artists at all stages of their career to produce sculpture in a wide range of media. Alongside this he has exhibited nationally and internationally in a variety of guises. “As Olid Nordhausen” he produced audio pieces both for general release and commission. As Barry Lightning, International Rock Star, Jolly made film pieces with my co-collaborator, Bruce Lightning. Jolly is a member of the ‘International Table Squennis Association,’ and occasional motorcycle blogger ‘Col Collinson.’ Finally, as myself, I make and exhibit sculpture.” www.ssw.org.uk; edenjolly@aol.com

Rian Kerrane, born in Galway, Ireland, received her BA in Fine Arts from the University of Ulster at Belfast in 1991 and her MFA from the University of New Orleans in 1997. She is currently Associate Professor and Area Head for the Sculpture Program at the University of Colorado Denver. A noted sculptor in cast iron, mixed media and installation, Rian has shown in sculpture gardens, museums and galleries in the USA, Ireland, Italy, Austria, and Mexico. She was a resident at Flax Art Studio’s International Residency Programme in Belfast in 2002 and Clo Ceardlann, Donegal in 2011, and she is a Resident Artist for the 2014 Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour, Franconia Sculpture Park, Minnesota. She is a board member of the Western Cast Iron Art Alliance, an eclectic group of iron artists that stages biennial conferences across the western United States. In April 2014 she was keynote speaker for IRON R2 at the National Sculpture Factory in conjunction with Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, Ireland.“The Traditional Cast Object as Subjective Conceptual Metaphor” was presented at the College Art Association Conference in Los Angeles in 2009. Kerrane returns to Ireland each summer, often to the Burren College of Art, where she runs an interdisciplinary, site-specific art course. www.riankerrane.com; rian.kerrane@gmail.com

Viktar Kopach is a Belarusian contemporary sculptor who was born in Kopachi, a village in western Belarus, and lives and works in Minsk. He graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of Arts in 1996. His first exhibition was in 1993 at the Marc Chagall Art Center in Vitebsk, Belarus. Since then, he has held over 38 exhibitions, in Belarus, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Syria, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, Spain and Germany. He has been a member of the Belarusian Artists’ Union since 1999. Awards include: Third Prize, 2014 Qingdao International Horticultural Expo International Sculpture Competition, China; and Second Prize, the 1st International Public Art Festival of Mudanjiang Jingpo Lake, China. He has presented numerous public sculptures in Belarus, Russia, South Korea, China, Turkey, Brazil, Spain, Syria, Kazakhstan, Israel and Poland. Kopach’s works are in galleries, museums and private collections in Belarus, Poland, Germany, Malta, Russia, the Netherlands, Turkey, China, and the USA. viktar_kopach@mail.ru

Liesma Lagzdiņa is a storyteller from Kuldīga, Latvia and one of the central persons of Kurzeme’s storytelling festival “Ziv Zup.” She participated in the first and fourth Zemgales Storytelling Festivals in Latvia, where she shared her stories and experience.

Deborah LaGrasse has taught Sculpture and Design in Architecture for over twenty years. Her ten years of experience in Performance Art in the 1980s, as well as her lifelong extensive travel experience of culture and art has given her the desire to be a cultural ambassador to Latvia for this conference. She has been a Visiting Artist at over 25 national and international universities and has had numerous exhibitions and awards. LaGrasse received her MFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University in 1983. Previously, she apprenticed at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Princeton, NJ, and earned a BFA in Drawing and Painting at the University of Florida. She currently is Professor of Design at the School of Architecture of Florida A&M University, having previously served as Head of Sculpture for the Art Department, Eastern Illinois University. dlagrasse.wordpress.com; dlagrasse@yahoo.com

Coral Penelope Lambert is internationally recognized for working in cast iron as well as producing large scale outdoor pieces. British-born Lambert is currently Head of Sculpture at Alfred University, New York where she also directs the National Casting Center’s Foundry Program. She studied at Central School of Art in London, Canterbury College of Art, Kent, and received her MFA in Sculpture from Manchester in 1990. As an International Research Fellow in Cast Metals at the University of Minnesota from 1996–1999 she contemporized ancient metal casting processes. In 2006 she chaired the International Conference on Cast Iron Art in Ironbridge, England, taking the conference across the Atlantic for the first time. Over the past 23 years Lambert has presented her work in panels, lectures and exhibitions including the Barbican Center, London; Franconia Sculpture Park, MN; ‘Convergence’ in Providence, RI; Grounds For Sculpture, NJ; Chicago’s Pier Walk; Salem Art Works, NY; Pirkkala Sculpture Park in Finland; HuiAn, China; Museum of Steel Sculpture in Ironbridge; Museum without Walls; International Sculpture Conferences in Seattle, Houston, Chicago and New Orleans; The National Metal Museum in Memphis; Governors Island, Manhattan; Salem Castle, Germany and Kidwelly Castle in Wales. She is the recipient of many awards including the Gottlieb Foundation Award, Jerome Fellowship, and the Joan Mitchell Grant. www.corallambertsculptor.com

Charlotte Law is an artist working across sculpture, site, sound and performance. Law holds a BA English Literature from Sussex University, a BTEC Fashion and Textiles from Northbrook College, a Fashion Accessories Diploma from London College of Fashion and is currently completing a MA Art & Science at Central St. Martins. Law has performed and exhibited at MOMO PS1, New York, the Bacon Street Project, London, the London Design Festival, The Situation Room, London, and Battersea Arts Center, Cafe OTO Project Space.

Elena Lourenco received her BFA from San Jose State University, CA, in 2002 and her MFA in Sculpture from Arizona State University in 2007. As a post-graduate student, she studied abroad at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Lourenco creates mixed media objects and installations that communicate powerful narratives about both society and self: utilizing metaphor to communicate ideas of causality, change, loss and their resulting effects on the human psyche. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions across the US including New York, California, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Maryland, and Virginia. In 2012, she served as Director for the Nor’easter Conference: Aesthetics and Practice in Cast Iron Art in Buffalo, NY. She is currently Professor of Sculpture at Buffalo State College. www.elenalourenco.com; lourenem@buffalostate.edu

Cydnei Mallory is a senior at The Pennsylvania State University and a Research Assistant under Professor Cristin Millett, where they have investigated incorporating digital technology into traditional foundry processes. As a candidate for a BFA in Sculpture, Mallory dedicates her time to creating installations drawn from her strong attraction to mass-produced and industrial materials, such as metal, wood, and rope. She has an interest in interdisciplinary studies, with a background in ceramics and printmaking. Since a young age she has been drawn to a quick way of building and creating. Through her installations, viewers notice the small things, find beauty in the unusual, and question themselves and their environment. clm5370@psu.edu

Laura Miglone received her BA in the History and Theory of Visual Art and Culture from the Art Academy of Latvia in 2006. She received her MA in Management of Culture from the Latvian Academy of Culture in 2010. From 2002 – 2004 she was the Managing Director of the Latvian Textile Art Association. Miglone is the Curator for the Pedvāle Open-Air Art Museum. Her most r Her most recent curatorial project was environmental art object Stone.Fog in collaboration with Fujiko Nakaya and Ojārs Feldbergs. She is the primary site liaison and serves on the Advisory Board of the 7th ICCCIA. www. pedvale.com

Guna Millersone studied at the Jānis Rozentāls Rīga Secondary School of Art and graduated from the Department of Art Education at the Latvian Academy of Art in 1973. Millersone is the Director of the Talsi Regional Museum in Latvia. She paints in oil, makes installations and objects and. Millersone has participated in exhibitions since 1990. Her works have been exhibited in France, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Estonia. She has been a member of the Artists’ Union of Latvia since 1992. millersone@hotmail.com

Cristin Millett is an artist whose research focuses on medical history, specifically the human reproductive system. In response to her research, she creates objects and installations that give insight into societal attitudes about the female body and question taboos surrounding sexuality. Millett began her professional studies at the North Carolina School of the Arts. She received her BFA from Kent State University and her MFA from Arizona State University. Millett has exhibited her work in numerous national and international exhibitions and her work has been reviewed in Sculpture, Art Papers, and the Chicago Tribune. She has received grants for her work, including a 2007 Individual Creative Artists Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Since 2001, she has taught courses in sculpture, foundry and installation at Pennsylvania State University. Millett is an Associate Professor of Art, at the Pennsylvania State University. www.locazu.com/cristin-millett-pennsylvania-state-university; clm23@psu.edu

Mary Neubauer has shown her numerically driven sculptures and prints widely. Her artworks are in a number of public and private collections, and she has completed many public art projects, including several interactive sculptural works involving light and sound. In the past five years, her sculptures and digital images have appeared in national and international exhibitions including New York, Paris, Beijing, New Delhi, Adelaide, and Queensland. Working at the intersection of art and science, she exhibits with organizations including Ars Mathematica/ Intersculpt, TeleSculpture, and Art-Science Collaborations, Inc. She has been a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, a Fulbright Fellow in Cambridge England, and a Ford Fellow at Indiana University, Bloomington. Recent residencies include the Anderson Ranch Center for the Arts, the Tyrone Guthrie Center at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, the Vermont Studio Center, the John Michael Kohler Arts and Industry Residency at the Kohler Foundry, and the Serde Residency in Latvia. Summer 2014 she participates in Garfagnana Innovazione, a digital stone carving workshop in Tuscany, Italy. She is a Professor of Sculpture at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, where she is involved in the Partnership for Spatial Modeling and serves as an affiliate to Arts, Media, and Engineering. www.sculpture-digital.net; mary.neubauer@asu.edu

Valters Nollendorfs was born in Rīga, Latvia and attended grade school there until the fall of 1944. As Soviet forces invaded, the family became refugees in Germany and lived in a refugee camp where he graduated from a Latvian high school. The family emigrated to the USA in 1950. Nollendorfs obtained a BS in Education (1954) and an MA in German Literature (1955) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a PhD in German literature at the University of Michigan (1962). He became Professor of German at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served as department chair and as editor of the scholarly journal Monatshefte. He was the founding editor (1955) of a Latvian cultural magazine, Jaunā Gaita, chaired several Latvian organizations and was President of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) 1976–78. His publications include a book and numerous articles on German and Latvian literature. Upon retirement in 1995, he returned to his hometown. He is now Chair of the Executive Council of the Occupation Museum Association and writes extensively on Latvian history. www.okupacijasmuzejs.lv

Rosemarie Oakman was born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley. Growing up, she spent summers in London, England. While in London she attended courses at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. She earned a BFA from Alfred University with a minor in Gerontology (the study of aging). At the 2013 National Conference on Cast Iron Art she was the recipient of the Paige Wainwright Scholarship. Rosemarie has also interned as an Emerging Artist at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. Additionally, she has assisted Coral Lambert with iron workshops at the Nor’Easter Conference in Buffalo, NY and the International Sculpture Symposium in Miami, FL. Her love of metal casting and the elderly was the genesis for the Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron Project, a cross-generational community arts project benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. She is founder and director of this multifaceted, landmark program. At an upcoming fellowship at Salem Art Works, NY she hopes to establish Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron as a not-for-profit project. www.facebook.com/AlzheimersIron; ro2@alfred.edu

Dr. Guntis Pakalns is currently a researcher at the Archives of Latvian Folklore at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art at the University of Latvia. His expertise is in folklore collections, archiving, study, publication and popularization. He has developed and implemented a 30-lesson study course for an EU-funded integration project aimed at development of intercultural dialogue and communication skills for individuals. He taught several courses in German at the Institute of Baltic Interdisciplinary Studies at Munster University and lectures on Folk Narratives at the Latvian Academy of Culture, Tallinn University and the University of Latvia. His lists of organizing, documenting and participation in storytelling events as well as his publications are many. www.lfmi.lu.lv; www.professionalstoryteller.ning.com/profile/GuntisPakalns; litfom@lza.lv

Kenneth Patrick Payne received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin. He has lived and worked in many places around the globe and currently resides in Buffalo, NY, where he is Head of the Sculpture Department at Buffalo State College. He has completed large scale sculpture projects in several countries including Hungary, Israel, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and the United States. His mixed media work ranges from the intimate to the monumental. He often works on site, combining local materials, cast metal or glass elements and performance-based pyrotechnic installation techniques. These on site projects reflect the areas and cultures where they are created. He employs the content inherent in the various media to create metaphors with emotional poignancy. He has shown widely nationally and internationally. His work is included in many public and private collections. www.kennethpayne.net; PAYNEKP@BuffaloState.edu

Laura Phelps Rogers, a Denver, Colorado artist, is a contemporary artist who works in installation, fabrication and casting. Her work is influenced by the collective of her experiences and suggests a hint of nostalgia by integrating personal memories, family memories and social and cultural memories into visual narratives. Phelps Rogers’ sculpture, performance and photography have received local and national attention. She has a sculpture in the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, Anschutz Campus foyer of the Fulginiti Pavilion. She was recently awarded a public art project for Metro West Housing in Colorado. Phelps Rogers received her BFA in Sculpture from the University of Colorado Denver. She is a member of Pirate and Ice Cube Gallery in Colorado. Recent solo exhibitions include: A Woman’s Work Is Never Done, Entertain, 1100 Pieces, and A Space In Time. In 2013 her work was included in 20 juried and invitational exhibitions, including San Francisco, Chicago, Scottsdale, AZ and Cheyenne, WY. She is a member of the International Sculpture Center and the American Foundry Society. lauraphelpsrogers@hotmail.com

Daniel Postellon was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a child, he played on old coal mine dumps in his neighborhood, which were the remains of mines that fed the J&L iron and steel works. His work reflects his iron and coal heritage, tempered by exposure to artists as diverse as Rodin and Andy Warhol at the local Carnegie Museum. After earning degrees in Anthropology and Medicine, he spent 35 years practicing medicine in Detroit and Grand Rapids, MI. He continued his interest in sculpture, and participated in competitions and workshops during his medical career. He retired from medicine in 2013 to devote himself full-time to sculpture, and held his first one-man show the same year. He has built a small aluminum foundry to cast some of his works. Postellon is interested in the manipulation of visual symbols, particularly those that are ancient or common to different cultures. He believes that ambiguity and humor are important elements of art. www.postellon.wordpress.com

Wayne Potratz received a BS in 1964 from Macalester College, St. Paul, MN and an MA in Sculpture from University of California, Berkeley, CA in 1966. He is a Professor Emeritus, Department of Art (1969-2014) and Scholar of the College Emeritus and Director Emeritus of the University of Minnesota Sculpture Foundry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.
He has shown in 30 one-person and more than 340 group exhibitions regionally, nationally, and internationally since 1964. His practice includes an extensive record of lectures, workshops, international travel and research, professional and university service since 1966. Potratz was the co-founder, with Thomas Gipe, of the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. Potratz does creative research in contemporary sculpture and directs research projects in art and metal casting technologies, including Meso-American, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Western African methodologies, and historical Western metal casting technologies and contemporary practice. His recent practice involves making steel directly from iron ore by the 6,000 year-old Japanese process of the Tatara. www.ironwain.com; potra001@umn.edu

Signe Pucena is researcher of traditional culture and a culture projects manager. She is part of the creative team managing the interdisciplinary art group SERDE in Aizpute, Latvia. SERDE is an organization that develops regional and international collaboration between different culture fields, organizations, and professionals. SERDE’s main activities involve exchanges among culture, science and education fields, including the organization of residencies, workshops, seminars, lectures and presentations. Since 2002 SERDE has developed a public workshop centre in Aizpute as a platform for international and cross-disciplinary collaboration, aiming to encourage professional creative development and long-term cooperation through participation in residency programs. The centre supplies technical equipment for experimental and innovative projects, and offers residencies for local and international artists, culture workers, activists, managers and scientists. The residency is located in the historical centre of Aizpute and the building complex is a unique example of 18th-century Latvian architecture. www.serde.lv

Aldis Pūtelis has been a staff member of the Archives of Latvian Folklore (a department of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art) for over twenty years. He is also a storyteller and translator. His work include organizing and participating in fieldwork sessions, archiving material study, organization and performing archival duties, and consulting with other researchers. Since 1998 he has been studying the manuscript corpus of Latvian folksongs compiled by Krišjāns Barons. He has also worked as a lecturer in Latvian language at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. He has prepared presentations on Latvian culture at various institutions including the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh and the University of Stockholm. www.lfk.lv; aldis.putelis@lulfmi.lv

Tom Railton is a sculptor, with a material-led investigative practice, working at Westminster University and the Royal College of Art. tomrailton.com

Stacey Rathert is an artist originally from Lancaster, Kansas. Rathert received her BFA and BS in Education in 2011 from Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Currently Rathert is a graduate student and instructor at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. Working in a variety of scale and material, her work relates to personal narrative and experiences of growing up on a farm in a rural community in Kansas. Her work has been shown in regional and national juried exhibitions. slrather@go.olmiss.edu

Tamsie Ringler works in the environmental and populist traditions of public art. Her installations and sculptures integrate process, space and viewer as elements and witnesses. Through iron casting, video, and interactive works, she fuses public spectacle with the production of contemplative spaces and objects. Recent projects explore our relationship with land and the environmental impact of our hunger for natural resources. These explorations focus on connections between the materials of sculpture and industry and between our daily lives and petrochemical landscapes. Ringler studied Art at the University of Wisconsin and received her MFA in Sculpture from the University of Texas at Austin. She is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Minnesota. (Associate Professor and head of Sculpture at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota at the conference time.) She has been awarded grants and fellowships including the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, a McKnight/ Forecast Grant and a Jerome/ FSP Fellowship. International residencies and collaborations include the Berllanderi Sculpture Workshop, Wales; A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Salem Art Works, New York. She serves on the Board of Directors of Franconia Sculpture Park and leads the annual FSP Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour. As Co-Director of the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, her hope is to broaden the international community of contemporary cast iron artists, and engage a new generation of sculptors. www.tamsie.com; ringl027@umn.edu

Susanne Roewer was finishing the undergraduate studies in material sciences at Freiberg University before starting her artistic career. She graduated from Berlin Arts University in 1999 with a Meisterschueler-degree in sculpture. For several years, she has run a studio in Berlin and the famous G7 Berlin network gallery (with 3 founder members) before relocating to Switzerland, to pursue investigations in different materials supported by several art programs and collectors. Her artwork has been shown in different national and international galleries, museums and art societies. She completed three art-within-architecture projects. Residencies and grants took her to Tasmania, San Francisco and Scotland. Susanne lives in Berlin. www.Susanne-rower.de; suzi@susanne-roewer.ed

Araan Schmidt grew up in the foundry. He earned a BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute followed by an MFA in Sculpture at the University of Minnesota in 2008. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Colorado Mesa University, and has taught sculpture at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Alfred University and Binghamton University in New York. His works have been exhibited throughout the country in both outdoor sculpture parks and indoor galleries and museums, such as the Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota and the Maryland Art Place in Baltimore. www.araanschmidt.net; Araanj@yahoo.com

Denise Snaer-Gauder, born in Oakland California, she has strong roots to the San Francisco Bay Area and the arts community. Currently Snaer-Gauder teaches Foundry at The Crucible in Oakland, a non-profit art organization that fosters a collaboration of art, industry, and community. The Crucible is also highly regarded for innovative performances. She received my B.F.A. at California College of Arts and Crafts, now CCA. Later she moved on to Environmental Studies and Landscape Architecture at U.C. Berkeley. While at C.C.A.C., Snaer-Gauder also earned credits to minor in Dance at Shawl-Anderson Modern Dance Center. For thirteen years she danced professionally with an Ethnic Dance Company and went on the New York City to become a disciple of Merce Cunningham. Through the years she has drawn inspiration from many cultures of dance and incorporated that into her work. After years of practicing Landscape Architecture, Snaer-Gauder shifted her focus back to sculpture and performance art, specifically in cast iron art. Since then she has created her own performance art and collaborated with other artists at venues such as Diablo Valley College, CA; National Conference on Cast Iron Art at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham Alabama; several Fire Arts Festivals at the Crucible in Oakland; the 6th International Conference on Sculpture in Wales; and participated in a performance at the Western Cast Iron Conference in Denver CO. She has shown her work nationally and internationally. landsculpture2@gmail.com

Anna Shapiro is an artist and catalyst: an interdisciplinary artist concerned with the connections between social and ecological issues as expressed in common materials. She has received awards and residencies for her sculptures and installations. As part of the 7th ICCCIA in 2014 Shapiro has created an installation, Displacement/Pārvietošana for the Sabile Synagogue Cultural Center. Her work has been featured at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and in galleries throughout New England. Shapiro has catalyzed many creative industries in Boston and Rhode Island, from art spaces and festivals to alternative grocery stores and mobile hydroponic gardens. Her studio is in Providence, Rhode Island. www.annashapiro.com

Andrew Smith resides in Oxford, Mississippi, where he is an instructor and sculpture technician at the University of Mississippi. He earned an MFA in Sculpture from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and a BFA in Sculpture from The University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Smith works in a variety of different materials and processes including metal fabrication, installation, and foundry; he works with cast metals (aluminum, bronze, and iron), wood, video, steel, as well as found objects. adsmith4@olmiss.edu

Anita Strautmanis is a first generation Latvian born in the US. Her parents emigrated to the US after World War II. Her professional background is in business research, marketing, and business and client relationship development. She holds a BA in Psychology and a MA in Library and Information Science, and is currently pursuing a MA in Pastoral Studies. Strautmanis is passionate about her Latvian heritage and speaks the Latvian language fluently. She admires the arts and is honored to assist with some of the 7th ICCCIA conference administrative elements. astrautmanis@aol.com

Dagnija Svarāne was born in Rīga. She learned the practical metal arts in the Art schools Rota and Kalvis. Since 1971 she has been taking part in archaeological expeditions. She graduated from the Faculty of History and Philosophy of Latvian State University in 1982. She worked at the Rīga Institute for Heritage Protection for six years. Since 2001 Svarāne has worked at the Archaeology Unit of the Institute of Latvian History. Svarāne has published numerous scientific articles both on archaeological supervision work in Old Rīga and research on various issues of medieval jewelery technique. The results of her research have been presented in scientific conferences both in Latvia and abroad.

Durant Thompson is an Associate Professor of sculpture in the Department of Art at the University of Mississippi. He is originally from Connecticut, but grew up mostly in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1997, he received a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and in 2001 he earned an MFA in Sculpture from Louisiana State University. Durant has been actively showing at exhibitions across the region over the past decade. His exhibitions resume includes The Seventeenth Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, Art In Public Places Knoxville Exhibition and Competition in 2010 & 2011, Sculpture Salmagundi XVand XVI at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center, Rocky Mount, NC, the Charles Hook Sculpture Garden Competition at The 621 Gallery in Tallahassee, FL, the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, MO, Space 301 in Mobile, AL, Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, LA and The National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, TN. Durant also received a Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship through the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011. www.art.olemiss.edu; durant@olemiss.edu

Matt Toole grew up around the barrier islands and salt marshes of Savannah, Georgia. He received a BFA from Georgia Southern University in 1994 and an MFA from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 2000. Toole has since been a Resident Artist at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, WI, and Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. As a Visiting Artist, he has traveled throughout the US, UK, and Ireland collaborating on cast iron projects and creating performances with the process of casting metal. He is currently a Professor of Foundation Studies and Sculpture at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia. His professional awards include: 2010 Presidential Fellowship, Savannah College of Art and Design; 2005 Chancellor’s Award, University System of Georgia, Americas Council; 2002 Franconia Sculpture Park, Jerome Fellowship; 2001 Franconia Sculpture Park, Jerome Fellowship; and a Scottish Sculpture Workshop International Bursary Award in 2000. Toole has been involved with the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art since 1998. www.scad.edu/academics/faculty; mattoole@hotmail.com

Virginia Tyler has worked on metal casting projects in Ghana since her Fulbright fellowship in 1998. Her most recent installations are collaborations with Paul Amponsah and Kofi Amponsem, who are metal casters working in the ancient West African tradition. The current pieces are based on constellations that are visible from both Ghana and the US. Ms. Tyler earned a BA in Art and Public policy at Duke University and MFA in Sculpture at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She is an associate professor at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina.Virginia’s. Recent Awards and Grants: Uses of Antiquity Conference Study Grant, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, funded by Council of Independent Colleges, 2014; African Arts Institute Assistant in Metal Casting, African Arts Institute of Northern Kentucky University, Cincinnati, Ohio & Hutchinson C College, Hutchinson, KS, funded by National Endowment for the Arts, 2011; International Study Grant, West African Research Center, Dakar, Senegal, funded by Howard University and West African Research Center, 2001; and US Fulbright Fellowship, College of Art at Kwami Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, funded by Institute of International Education of the United States Information Agency, 1998-99. soho20gallery.com; vtyler@mindspring.com

Zigmunds Vilnis is a designer and sculptor. He graduated from the Latvia Academy of Art in 1987 and received an MA in 2002 focusing on art and humanity. Since 1980 he has participated in numerous exhibitions, symposia, festivals and art projects in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, and other European countries. His art includes sculptures using sand, wood, ice and fire.

Hans Wolfe is the Middle School and Upper School Art department chair at the Colorado Springs School. He holds a BFA and a MFA in Art and Technology both from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As an arts instructor, Wolfe finds that being engaged in the arts community is of great importance. He regularly exhibits his artworks, visits museums and galleries, and work with other artists that he brings to the school campus. He enjoys learning new techniques and processes when he travels to symposia and conferences, and when he is invited to other schools as a visiting artist or presenter. hwolfe@css.org

Kelly Wilton is a sculptor born and raised in Tempe, Arizona where she received her BFA at Arizona State University in 2012. Exploring the ideas of human connection and objectivity, Wilton creates multi-layered installations using cast metal, found objects, plastics, rubbers, kinetic work, video and sound. She has shown numerously in galleries in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona, including at Bragg’s Pie Factory, The Icehouse, and Step Gallery which exhibited her solo show Parasitic Agglomeration. Wilton’s travel bug has given way to many opportunities overseas, starting with a 6 month study abroad at the University of the Arts London, Camberwell University in 2011. While in attendance Wilton was in exhibitions in London at The Biscuit Factory and The Rag Factory. In 2012, she participated in the USUK Iron Symposium at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where her piece Lasting Memory is in their permanent collection. Her research in foundry, along with working as an wax artisan at Bollinger Atelier, has culminated in being a panelist speaker at the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Pedvale, Latvia, with her mentor and fellow peers at The Pennsylvania State University where she is currently pursuing her MFA. kellywiltonart.wordpress.com

Lu Xu, A native of China, is currently a sculpture student at University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She received her BA from Northern State University, South Dakota. Her art awards include: Artist Grant and Work-Exchange, Vermont Studio Center, VT, NSU Annual Undergraduate Research Forum Presentation, and 1st Place, NSU Art Student Juried Exhibition. Lu.xu27@gmail.com