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ART 3CF3 Concentrated Study-Foundry

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Carmela Laganse


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23926

Office Hours: Tues. 1:30-3:00

Course Objectives:

This course will further develop spatial, material and creative explorations through metal casting media and associated processes through its applied use and vocabulary in the context of sculpture. Students will be taught the various steps and processes that encompass metal casting which include: model and mold making specific to foundry practice, wax casting and welding, investment, characteristics of metals, patinas and finishing. Emphasis is placed on expanding conceptual and practical knowledge through the acquired knowledge of foundry practice in conjunction with their personal artistic practices.

This course will explore both personal strategies and communal practice to maximize the student’s understanding of both applied knowledge and dimensional possibility. Due to the nature of this medium, this course will require students to work collaboratively, interdependently, efficiently and collegially with each other understanding how many facets of this process are dependent on a positive and dynamic studio community and workspace.

By the end of the course students will:

  • Acquire an introductory knowledge and skill of foundry processes and techniques that include mould-making, wax casting, spruing/ gating, metal casting, finishing and application
  • Be informed of various foundry and metal casting processes such as ceramic shell, sand casting and investment
  • Acquire awareness and demonstrate safe practice while engaging in studio work and metal casting processes
  • Develop a basic understanding of the conceptual implications of metal casting as it relates to contemporary practice
  • Develop an awareness an appreciation of metal casting and its applications in art and industry
  • Demonstrate a heightened ability to relate concepts of spatial dynamics, form, to practice and projects that employ the use of metal and casting processes
  • Acquire an understanding of personal research methods, collective research practice and fuse such experiences into metal casting and sculptural practice
  • Develop a critical dialogue through group discussions; students will be able to envision their work from an informed perspective.Students will be expected to:
  • Take notes on content in class and visiting artist’s lectures
  • Make a serious and thoughtful effort in applying various ideas and approaches introduced in class demonstrated through projects, assignments and personal investigations and research
  • Deliver a presentation to contextualize their individual practices
  • Will be expected to think critically and respond to the issues and content presented in class
  • Will be expected to consistently and professionally invest, engage and contribute to the overall studio environment/community through critiques and informal discussion

Due to the studio production focus of this course, perfect attendance is expected. Missed class will be reflected in your evaluation and missed demonstrations cannot be repeated. Every class will include valuable information requiring you to keep notes on demonstrations and lectures


Students are expected to use Avenue to Learn to find information including: Project Outlines, deadline changes, general announcements, technical information etc. It is the student’s responsibility to check the Avenue to Learn course site for this information.

Although a certain amount of time will be allotted for in-class project work, students will also be required to spend a minimum of 5 hours/week developing techniques and strategies introduced in the course, conducting independent research, completing assigned projects, and preparing for discussions and presentations.

Students taking this course will be expected to arrive on-time at the start of each class, and be sufficiently prepared to work on projects and participate in class activities for the duration of the scheduled class. Each unexcused absence without proper medical documentation will be reflected in the evaluation.

The use of cellphones, text messaging, and/or social media sites during class time will not be tolerated.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


A studio material fee of $120.00 must be paid to the School of the Arts office in TSH 414 within the first two weeks of classes. This fee enables SOTA to supply some of the basic communal materials in a cost effective and convenient manner to our students.


While we attempt to cover most basics students will be required to augment this list by purchasing certain items according to individual choices pertinent to the resolution of particular assignments. Students are required to purchase bronze or aluminum at a cost per weight (current market value) to execute their projects.

Other tools and/ or materials you will need for class:

  • Steel toe boots/shoes, safety glasses
  • Sketchbook/file folder for idea generation, notes etc.
  • USB flash drive or external hard drive for research or image collection

Basic 3D Tool box (optional)

  • Scales: Tape meausre, speed square, ruler, protractor
  • Pencils, sharpies, chalk
  • #2 robertson drill bits
  • multi bit screw driver
  • putty knife
  • pliers, cutters, needle nose pliers
  • utility blade, exacto knife
  • wet/dry sandpaper

All of your materials can be located and available at:

  • TT Liquid
  • Sculpture Supply
  • Curry’s
  • Dollar store
  • Value village, Bible Mission Thrift Store (Dundas)
  • Home Depot/Rona/ Home Hardware
  • Bulk Barn (cake decorating section)
  • Princess Auto

*  You are required to have your own safety gear for the duration of your program. In the event you are not prepared for class or work in the studio, communal steel toe foot ware is available for students and located in the lobby area of the TSH studios. They are available on a first come first serve basis and can be used during your class. They may not be taken from they studios.

Method of Assessment:

Your performance and evaluations will be based on the following:

55%                 2 Projects:

  • Project 1 (25%), Aluminum casting. Due: Oct. 17
  • Project 2 (30%), Bronze casting. Due: Dec. 5. Please submit preliminary sketches and project description form with final project

45%                 Participation:

  • Class notes/sketchbooks, professionalism in studio environment and critiques, investment and engagement with assigned tasks and studio community, demonstrated reliance and initiative       
  • Class notes/ sketchbooks Due: Dec.5     

* Mid term progress grades will be submitted to students on Oct. 24 and based on the completion and presentation of Project 1 and participation to this date.

*Each assignment and project will include a detailed project description that will outline the educational objectives, considerations, sources, technical information and deadlines.


Each assignment has its own array of learning objectives, and student performance will be evaluated in terms of:

  • Technical proficiency: how you demonstrate a command of technical skills to communicate visually
  • Conceptual development and focus: how you generate, put together and employ ideas/concepts which can be demonstrated through research and planning
  • Synthesis/presentation: how you bring all your skills together, how you choose to communicate your ideas/concepts and how you present and/or reflect these ideas. Synthesis also includes how you refine, resolve and choose to present your ideas/concept through visual language
  • Work ethic/ personal investment: how effectively you engage and work in your studio practice, using course content as a method of learning as well as a point of departure for creative exploration (includes experimentation and problem solving)


*Because this course is very technical as well as time and labour intensive, you must arrive on time and be present for the duration of all classes. The success of this course is dependent on efficient group work and timed coordination. Failure to attend a class will result in impacting the work of your peers, missed information and steps in the mould- making and casting process. It is not possible to repeat these demonstrations or processes. Therefore if you anticipate missing any classes, you must discuss with the instructor before pursuing this course. Each class is weighted through participation, which is approximately 3.75% per class. You are expected to interact with each other collegially and with respect, mindful of how you will contribute to each other’s learning experience in a positive and challenging way. Failing to demonstrate engagement and contribute positively to the group dynamic will impact your grade.

The instructor will determine the student’s grade by evaluating projects, which should be indicative of the student’s creative sensibility (visually, technically and conceptually), investment and a willingness to explore, innovate and problem solve. Students will be evaluated on the degree of rigor to which efforts have been made to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skills. The instructor will take into consideration the students’ active participation in the discussion and critique sessions, their commitment to the collective project and their willingness to exceed the basic requirements of the course.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments are designed as frameworks for creative investigation, and will incorporate the techniques and content learned and discussed in class. Students are encouraged to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skills.

A penalty of 5% per day will be deducted from assignments submitted late, or those not presented in the required format. You must make arrangements to submit late assignments with the instructor. Assignments will not be accepted after seven days without official documentation (see the MSAF section for details), and will receive a grade of zero. Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required written work (i.e. project proposals, etc). Late studio and/or written work will not receive the benefit of detailed verbal/written feedback from the instructor or other members of the class.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Readings, sources and links relevant to specific topics, technical information and projects will be provided on project outlines and/or Avenue to Learn.


Recommended Book:

“The Secrets of Bronze Casting” by: Sarah Craske

ISBN: 978-1-84797-413-6

Other Course Information:

Working in the studio:

All new studio art students are required to complete an online WHMIS test to access all studio equipment and facility. This test must be completed within the first 4 weeks of the fall semester. All students must familiarize themselves with the Studio Art Safety Manual for Students. Be aware of the rules and regulations for studio and equipment usage. Any questions regarding these issues should be directed towards Michael Syms, Studio Technologist for the Studio Arts program or the course Instructor. You are required to wear your steel-toed boots in all of the studios.

Appointments must be made with the studio technologist, through the online booking system, in regards to consulting and/ or executing specific projects requiring the use of woodshop, metal and ceramics facilities. Please ensure appointments and arrangements are made well in advance of deadlines and critiques.

Studios are accessible through access cards and are open from 7am -11pm, seven days a week.  Students are not permitted to work in the studios alone. Please arrange to work in the studio with a peer when working after hours.

Guests (people not enrolled in studio art courses) are not permitted in the studios unless proper permission and documentation is provided.

There is no food or drink permitted in the studios. Please do not bring any chemicals or other materials into the studios with out the permission of the studio technologist or instructor.

Incident reports:

If a student should have an accident in any of the studio, the incident, (no matter how minor) must be reported to a faculty member, or the studio technologist within 24 hours. If there is no faculty or technician available, and immediate attention is needed please call 88 for all emergencies. Do not hesitate to call 88 in any circumstance, please do not make medical judgments for yourself or others, let a medical professional make the assessment.