By Kristin Arzt
Irina’s journey to The Crucible began in 2008 in Arizona, where she encountered the cast bronze bells at Cosanti an experimental architectural and bell making facility. “I had never seen nor heard such unique and gorgeous bells. Something inside of me deeply shifted – it felt like an instinctual shock,” Irina explained. We sat down with Irina to learn how she arrived at The Crucible, and came to make our bronze donor plaques.
After returning home to the Bay Area, Irina was curious to find more handmade bells locally. After searching online, Irina found The Crucible’s Bell Casting class. “I couldn’t believe I had found an actual class. I immediately registered and was the first person to show up to class,” she told us. “And it gets better. When I asked Nick, the instructor, how he got involved with bell making, he told me he had made the Soleri bells in Arizona years before! I literally could not believe that I had landed here. I believe that things happen for a reason. Needless to say, the Bell Casting class was phenomenal.”
After taking the Bell Casting class, Irina signed up for our CREATE Program to gain access to our studio space, tools, and equipment. As involved as the bell making process is, the passion that Irina discovered for bells and bell making is kept alive through her ability to make her own bells in our Foundry.
“There was something pulling me towards The Crucible. Nowhere else feels so much like home, so rooted in me.”
Donors at the $5,000 level join the Vulcan Society and have their names cast in bronze on The Crucible donor wall. Every year, volunteers in our Foundry Department donate their time to make the donor plaques. For the last two years, Irina has been making donor plaques for each of the generous Vulcan Society donors who make a gift to The Crucible’s programming.
“It is a very involved and time consuming process,” Irina told us. “But I am honored to make the plaques. I so appreciate the people who understand how special this place is and are moved to donate.” Irina sees her work as a full circle way of giving back to the donors.
In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, we met up with Irina to see how she makes the plaques, from pouring each individual letter in wax to casting the whole plaque in bronze.