“Iron pours, by themselves, are exciting,” notes Jam Rohr of Black Dog Metal Arts. “But we thought themes might keep people engaged and interested in what we were doing.” She and her husband Danny, co-owners of the Peoria-based art foundry, will put this concept into action with their first-ever Pooch Pour on April 18, offering customized plaques for Peoria’s pet lovers. It’s a fitting first theme, she adds, “since our company is named after our dog Eddie, and our first furnace was named ‘The Good Boy.’”
Black Dog Metal Arts will partner with Foster Pet Outreach for the event, donating a portion of profits to the nonprofit animal care organization. “I adopted my cat, Phyllis, from them many years ago,” Jam explains, “and we want to help with their mission to offer foster care to at-risk dogs and cats.”
Interested pet owners will take an impression of their pet’s paw in Play-Doh (supplied by Black Dog), which will be used to create the molds. “On the day of the pour, we will pour hot molten iron into the molds,” Jam explains. “The finished plaque will be one piece of iron with the pet’s paw, their name, and a decorative frame around it.” They will also sell scratch blocks and bowls—blank pieces of resin-bonded sand—allowing attendees to carve their own designs on the spot.
If you’ve never witnessed an iron pour, it’s a fascinating process. “Once the furnace is running efficiently, we are tapping iron every seven minutes,” she explains. That’s about 75 to 80 pounds of molten iron every seven minutes. “We catch it with a ladle and dump it into the premade molds, scratch blocks and bowls.”
Black Dog Metal Arts is putting Peoria on the map for iron pours—with more pours (and their associated themes) later this year. They have also teamed up with The Hive to offer lifecasting and painting classes.
The Pooch Pour kicks off at noon on April 18 at the Romain Arts & Culture Center, 919 NE Jefferson. It is free and open to the public. Foster Pet Outreach will have dogs available for adoption as well. To order your paw plaque, register for a class, or for more information, visit blackdogmetalarts.com. PM