Put 45 artists in a studio and you'll get creations from the real to the surreal, and even the dangerous and adorable.
From the lifelike form of a horse's head to an ethereal angel shepherding a flock of sheep to the creation of a "robocat," each artist is following his or her muse in preparation for the annual iron pour on Saturday at Mesalands Community College.
They hail from colleges in Alaska, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Mexico and Texas. Or they are artists from in between who return annually to perfect their molding and pouring techniques, said D'Jean Jawrunner, art instructor and iron pour organizer.
At one worktable was Tucumcari artist and sculptor Mike Lucero who looked to be creating small totems from Easter Island.
Yearly, Lucero assists in organizing the event.
Laughingly, Lucero said, "I'm making a mess."
Artist Jamie Cross of Santa Fe is at a work station intently focused on shaping an odd shaped piece of wax. Cross said she was creating a "robocat."
"It'll be something that's both dangerous and adorable," she said. "It may even have wheels."
It's her first year to participate in the week-long event. "I've been looking forward to the pour. There are so many artists in one room. It's interesting to see what they're all making" said Cross, who is a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
At another worktable is Susan Stacy who lives with her husband, John, north of San Jon. On their small ranch are two horses and two mules.
It is Stacy's third iron pour and she is sculpting the figure of a horse's head.
Each iron pour brings a new group of students and artists, Stacy said.
"There's such a variety of people who come from all over. The other artists give you a lot of energy and make you more creative," she said.
From the wax the artists create a mold, which is then filled with molten iron at the pour on Saturday.
Last year, Jawrunner said 5,500 pounds of iron were used in the pour.