On Thursday September 10th, I had the honor of speaking to a young artist by the name of William Brigham in the Merlino-gallery. William is a unique artist who admires the intricacies of combining patience with skill to create masterpieces. On display he had porcelain plates he formed using a method called Nerikomi. Using the Damascus method, William forged beautiful knives with intricate designs. However, it was his Mokume-gane that had me amazed. This is an ancient art style invented by Denbei Shoami born in Japan. This is a special technique used by carving into thick layers of different colored lacquer; creating line patterns. When he began welding metals together, Mokume-gane was invented. The “vessels” as William refers to, are a combination of 3 metals: copper, nickel, and brass. It all begins with the metal plates that are squeezed together and heated up with charcoal to keep the heat. The electrons are then tricked to thinking it is one piece, therefore fusing together. Once it is fused together, it is carefully molded into these beautiful vessels which have very distinct color and patters. The patters of color are not repeated but create a very unique design. The vessels have a very smooth texture due to the careful sculpting from the artist.
According to William, his motivation to begin this type of metal forging derived from his interests in fantasy, myth, and legend. Ancient artifacts like swords and relics captured his imagination in his spare time. These magical swords in stories were thought to be only myths, but when he found out he can make them himself, he was instantly motivated to do it for himself. Not only does William’s interest in fantasy stories motivate his artwork, but it is his curiosity with exploring physics. He noted that it gives him a certain level of excitement of having control at the atomic level. This allows him to know exactly what went wrong with his creations and to tweak it for next time. Having the ability to heat up metal and bend it gives him a feeling that is beyond words because metal and steel are known to be the strongest and most solid material known to man.
Knowing how much time and patience went in to creating these pieces of art gives me a sense of motivation to do whatever I love. William explained that doing these works of art has been an idea for quite a while but he didn’t pull the trigger to begin learning and testing his methods. One day, he booked the art gallery so it gave him a deadline. Once there was a deadline, he had no choice but to follow his dreams. The artist ideas make a lot of sense about being able to control metal. Metal has the stereotype of being indestructible, however when you or I have the power to control and form metal, it makes you feel unbelievably strong.
Here is a link to William’s Instagram page. William’s Instagram