The Bullpen Foundry is a unique facility, facilitating the creation of cast bronze and iron and other metalwork for and with local, national and international artists. There is no other fine art facility offering people the opportunity to learn how to make moulds and cast objects in bronze and iron in the area – community groups and visitors are able to take part in funded workshops to see the processes first hand.
The foundry adds another dynamic to teaching and training artists who want to expore new ways of making within their creative practice. It boasts a continuous-flow cupola and a cupolette (smaller) furnace for iron, and two crucible furnaces for bronze, along with bespoke equipment made on site by the foundry director, Wesley Jacobs.
Mould-making and wax sculpture completed in the drying room, metal-finishing is done in the foundry, and some workshops for community groups are held in the workshop room.
Creative opportunities are offered to local people to bring them together with artists and people in the local community for workshops and a unique experience; watching an Iron or Bronze Pour. Our emphasis is on access and engagement, and funding has enabled us to facilitate groups of children and young people, artists and visitors from the local community to participate in mould-making workshops. Children and young people saw artists at work, experienced the workings of the foundry first hand – received excellent tuition and made their own design for a cast iron tile. Their designs were placed alongside the artists’ moulds and the scratch box moulds were cast at the same time as the artists’ sculptures. Over 150 visitors attended the latest public casting event – many of whom had participated in some way prior to the pour day. The artists/foundry crew poured all the moulds and scratch boxes without a hitch, in 2 hours.
For artists, the projects at The Bullpen provides opportunities for the exchange of ideas and creative practice in a space for drawing together artists from the UK and abroad. Sculpture workshops at The Bullpen have enabled a changing community of professional artists to maintain, renew and develop their practice and overcome isolation. The workshops offer the opportunity to become part of something new – a constructive, making-based art movement that has taken hold in USA and now the UK. It uses craft/skill based on classical sculpting traditions – and makes it relevant to contemporary conceptual art making. The Bullpen provides the only known regular access to this in the South East region.