As a shop technician and adjunct instructor of art and architectural studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Sam Castner is responsible for helping to oversee the woodworking and metal shops in the Katherine D. Elliott Studio Arts Center. A professional sculptor with a B.A. in fine arts from Alfred University, Castner provides a level of professionalism and real-world experience to students. This past semester he assisted Kirin Makker, assistant professor of architectural studies, in ARCH 201: Introduction to Design.
“His depth of knowledge is incredibly helpful,” says Hobart architecture student and recent Charles H. Salisbury Summer International Internship Stipend Award winner Ben Ahearn ’11.
Castner also assists students in the evening, especially on those all-important Sunday evenings before a project was due in class on Monday.
“Some of the students put in well over 100 hours each on making their designs come to life from drawings on paper,” says Castner.
Castner owns Ironvine Studios on his family’s seventh-generation farm on Keuka Lake, not far from campus, and some students have expressed an interest in working with him on independent study projects.
Makker says he helps students in many capacities. “From helping them work with famous artists such as Albert Paley and Wendell Castle, to directing independent studies, to making possible the built works portion of my curriculum and HWS’ involvement in the community.”
Over the summer, Castner says he will be on the lookout for woodworking and sculpting tools that can be added to what the shops at the Studio Arts Center already have.
Castner specializes in both functional and sculptural metalworks. He designs and creates sculptural pieces with found and reclaimed objects, objects that are found in nature, industrial environments and recycling facilities. He also conducts mixed metals fabrication and finishes, foundry work, and traditional blacksmithing. His art has been in numerous solo and group shows and in publications. Locally, his work can be seen both at his studio and in the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. Castner’s pieces have been commissioned across the country.