Festival will feature a large fiery sculpture | Entertainment

STAR – A two-day festival celebrating the role of fire in artistic creation next weekend will culminate in the unveiling of a massive white-hot ceramic sculpture.

The culminating fiery display at FireFest by renowned artist Ashwini Bhat from California will be fired outside in a large “petal furnace”. The kiln has seven large panels which, when unfolded, look like petals around the base of the sculpture, but create a large bottle shape when in the closed position. The fire sculpture will be revealed on the evening of Saturday, April 1, when the furnace is opened after the sculpture has reached its maximum temperature and is still blazing.

Bhat is widely known for her sculptural and transformative multimedia installations that explore the intersections between body and nature and between self and other.

FireFest will take place from 1-8 p.m. Friday, March 31 and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at Starworks, 100 Russell Drive, Star, just off I-73/74 in northern Montgomery County.

The event program includes demonstrations, workshops and open workshops in ceramics, glass and metal; a screening of a Starworks documentary; Fires of joy; live music; and a selection of food trucks. Guest artists will present works for exhibition and sale, discuss their art, and participate in the festival’s final events involving lots of fire.

Glass artist Kazuki Takizawa from Los Angeles will perform hot glass demonstrations and exhibit his art. Takizawa, who suffers from bipolar disorder, uses glass as a way to explore his inner reality and destigmatize mental illness.

Metal artist Kevin Vanek, foundry manager and professor of metal arts at UNC Greensboro, will present work for a gallery exhibition, discuss slides during his artist talk and demonstrate during casting iron on Saturday evening.

Special guest ceramic artist Tara Thacker creates large-scale wall sculptures. She primarily works in porcelain, combining individual pieces to create an effect of fluidity and softness that challenges assumptions about the material.

Special guest metal artist Phillip Harrison produces fine art and architectural sculpture. He is a private consultant for industrial manufacturing and architecture. Harrison owns Penumbra Designs, producing a variety of works from holographic media, cast metals, aviation composites and decorative forgings.

Daily admission is $7; children 12 and under are admitted free. Practical workshops are extra. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.StarworksNC.org or call 910-428-9001.

Starworks is also looking for volunteers for Firefest to help with gallery sales, answer questions, check in attendees and monitor parking. Volunteers who donate three hours of their time receive free entry to the event. Those interested in volunteering should contact Mary Holmes at [email protected] or 910-428-9001.

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