This was our first week going to the galleries so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As my friend Diana and I were walking through the galleries I was having a lot of trouble deciding which one I wanted to write about and after walking through the three open galleries we decided to wait for the fourth to open. And I’m very happy we did because we stumbled upon William Brigham’s pieces in the Merlino Gallery. The first thing we noticed was that this was the smallest of the four galleries and it was filled with various dishes, bowls, and knives all with their own unique patterns and colors.
After talking with Brigham we found out that he used three different techniques to make his pieces. He said that he first started off with the (Damascus) knives using pattern welded steel. He is able to make these cool patterns on the blade by layering different types of steel or nickel. Brigham also explained that these designs run all the way through the blade, so in other words if you were to cut the blade you would see the veins of the different metals running all the way through to the other side. After mastering Damascus he moved onto Nerikomi and Mokume-gane. Nerikomi is the technique of combining multiple colors of clay or porcelain together and in Mokume-gane multiple metals such as copper, brass, and nickel are layered together. Mokume-gane was a technique that was developed in Japan and only a 2 or 3 people are using this technique in the US.
Anybody that talks to Brigham about his work can tell that he is extremely passionate about what he does and it definitely shows in his work. Although Brigham wasn’t trying to communicate anything through his pieces his ambition was quite contagious. When asked how long he had been doing the Mokume-gane technique I was expecting to hear him answer a few years or something along those lines, but when he said that he had learned how to do it just over the summer I was shocked! He also said that out of everything in the gallery he is most proud of the Mokume-gane pieces and plans to keep learning and improving his technique. He hopes that he will eventually try his hand at using silver when he feels confident enough.
If you would like to contact William Brigham you can email him at email@example.com or call him at (714) 336-7564