Wk 3 – Artist Conversation – William Brigham

Inside of the Merlino gallery, William Brigham’s art gallery was showcased. William Brigham’s art pieces were a variety of 3 different art pieces. He had a section of pottery made from porcelain, another section of pottery made from brass, and the last section were knives made from steel. Brigham described his pieces of art as a process that he found particularly interesting due to the fact that he could mold together different pieces of material into one to create a specific design and pattern.

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He talked about how he first began with making the knives out of Damascus steel, which basically means that it is patterned steel. The special steel is imprinted throughout all of its layers all the way into the core, rather than just a design on the surface. He stated that if he sliced the Damascus steel, the pattern would be visible anywhere, which is how he came up with the beautiful designs of his handcrafted knives.

Brigham took this concept of patterned material and incorporated this into his next pieces of art. He learned that he could do this technique using clay and porcelain as well. For his next artworks he made pieces of pottery with a spin table and mixed two different pieces of clay and threw them together on a spinning wheel to mix them together. The result is a conjoined pattern of the two different pieces of clay.

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The last pieces of art that William Brigham had displayed in his art gallery were pieces that looked somewhat similar to the porcelain projects, however, these ones were made and molded from brass in a much more difficult and time consuming process, as compared to the porcelain ones.

Brigham spoke highly about these pieces and stated that they were the pieces he held the most pride in. He said that in order to make these brass pieces, he uses a technique that was first wielded by the Japanese known as Mokume-gane. The pieces start out as a little square of brass, and then they’re stacked up and clamped together into a container filled with carbon. Inside the container, the carbon is burned at a temperature of 1500 degrees like a charcoal to get rid of any oxygen. With this high heat, the artist is then able to press the materials together to create different patterns
and mold his piece to his own liking. 

I personally thought all of Brigham’s pieces of art were beautiful. The time and effort that he spent on each piece really shows through his work. The little details of pattern and sculpting in his art shows that he has truly mastered his art. I remember in high school I took a ceramics class, and although the two processes are fairly different, and obviously Brigham’s techniques are much more difficult, I remember how much I struggled in ceramics to make a somewhat decent project! So I give Brigham props for being able to create such amazing pieces.

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