Sculpture, Basic Design, Drawing

Studying Sculpture

Sculpture encompasses the widest array of media, genres, and characters practicing visual art. We live in a spatial world. Learning to communicate by manipulating space and form is a way of expanding the mind and developing one's spirit. Times change, mediums develop, concepts shift, but the ability to transpose an idea into form is timeless.

In the sculpture program, you first learn basic ideas and processes, including plaster mold-making, clay work and wood working. Advanced students will expand to welded sculpture, bronze casting, mixed media installation and advanced conceptual work. Mt. Hood Community College is the only Portland-area college where iron casting is taught, and we have a superb bronze-casting program.

The Studio

Plaster Lab

Situated among attractive landscaping in a spacious indoor/ outdoor setting, the Visual Arts Department’s Sculpture studios have a full foundry, welding lab, woodshop, and plaster/ clay facilities. The foundry has a McEnglevan Speedy Melt for bronze and aluminum casting. Our iron cupolette, known as “Big Barbie”, melts 100 pounds of iron per tap. We build molds using plaster investment/ lost wax and bonded sand.

The welding lab offers the chance to do MIG, TIG, oxy-acetylene, stick arc welding, and finishing work on cast pieces. The fully ventilated wood shop includes a table saw, radial arm saw, joiner, planer, and a wide range of other tools. For ceramic sculpture, we have two electric kilns, a slab roller, and an extruder. The labs are very well equipped with a wide range of possibilities for working in every material.

Plaster Lab


Sculpture classes are scheduled to accommodate both the full-time employed and full-time students. Classes are offered daytime and evenings.


Special Programs

Iron Casting

We currently offer the only iron-casting course in the Portland area. This class is held once a year, and emphasizes the ideas and processes of iron casting, from form and mold making to pouring and finishing. Iron casting is a materially and personally transformative experience.

Big Barbie
Big Barbie


Franconia Sculpture Park, Taylors Falls, MN
Franconia Sculpture Park, Taylors Falls, MN
Alissa DeSalvo, student intern, It's Elementary,
Alissa DeSalvo, student intern, It's Elementary,
6'x6'x6', chain link fence, photos, 2002

A supported internship to Franconia Sculpture Park is awarded to an outstanding sculpture student based on his or her merit and successful application. Past support received from the Associated Student Government and the MHCC Foundation.

Visiting Artists

Jeffrey Kalstrom

Sculptor Jeffrey Kalstrom, a nationally recognized cast metal sculptor from Minnesota, worked in the sculpture lab alongside sculpture students from May 5 through May 13.

His residency culminated in a public iron pour at the Mt. Hood Community College sculpture studio on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11.

Jeff's sculptures will be on exhibit in the library beginning May 21.

This residency is supported by an Innovation in Teaching Grant from the Mt. Hood Community College Teaching and Learning Cooperative and by the Sculpture Program.

Mother's Day Iron Pour, May 11, 2008

Visiting Artist Jeff Kalstrom at work in the sculpture studios:

Sculpture student Brocken Baltrus applies graphite powder to a plasticene form prior to molding.

Sculpture students watch as Jeff demonstrates sand mold making. Plasticene form is inside flask.

Artist Jeffery Kalstrom finishes a plasticene form he will cast in iron during the Mother's Day Pour.

Carolyn Mills
February 2007
Repeat by Carolyn Mills
Repeat, 6' x 2'8" 8'10",
Fabricated steel, 2005

Carolyn Mills sculpture ‘Repeat’ will be on exhibit between the art mall and the main campus until 2009.

The sculpture ‘Repeat’ is of a ‘Huey’ helicopter, known as a ‘slick’. These helicopters were used in Vietnam to move living, dead and wounded soldiers, and to move supplies. A soldier sat in a seat on each side of the slick with a sixty-caliber machine gun. This is not a gunship, but it was often used in firefights. My husband spent most of 1968/69 sitting in that seat.

The sculpture is first and foremost about memory, about the power of extreme experiences to repeat in memory for the person who experienced them, and about the power of similar events to reactivate those memories in a devastating way. It is also about the repeat of war, with its creation of new veterans who carry these extreme, repeating memories.

The sculpture is about futility, about memories that cannot be resolved in a better way because what is done cannot be undone, about the repeating nature of war, with its predictable victims and crimes, present regardless of its being a ‘good’ war or a ‘bad’ war, about the acquiescing blindness with which we fly into the wall of war, repeating earlier acquiescence, without question.

Michael Rathbun
October 2002
Passing Revelation, 40'x40'x18', wood, 2002
Passing Revelation,
40'x40'x18', wood, 2002
Michael Rathbun built a large-scale wood installation in the Visual Arts Gallery, entitled Passing Revelation. He worked with sculpture students to fabricate hundreds of feet of laminated wood, joined to create a forty-foot wide interlinked spiral. Camp's Lumber and Oja Lumber provided material support.

Andrew MacGuffie built a large-scale outdoor steel sculpture entitled "When it rains..." that will be on exhibit at the college until 2006. He worked with both sculpture and welding students. This project was supported by the Welding Department, the Teaching and Learning Cooperative, and the Visual Arts Department.


Andrew MacGuffie
February 2004

"When it rains..."
7'6" x 7'6" x 19', steel, 2004

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 Last Modified: 4/15/2010 11:24:06 AM