Nature is my source of inspiration. As a child, I spent all my free time in the outdoors fishing and hunting. The smell of wet leaves and the damp earth are revisited each time I open a bag of clay. My memories along with activities of today are the inspiration for the artwork I create. In 1997 I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Western Michigan University. During my final year of studies I earned an international scholarship sponsored by Japanese master potter, Ryoji Koie. The month long tour of Japan included a week at Mr. Koie's home and studio. It also provided me the opportunity to visit ancient kiln sites, galleries, and art museums. Immediately after earning my degree and returning home from Japan I built my first studio. Two years later I accomplished my ultimate goal and began a new career as a full time potter. I truly have achieved the American dream. Working alone in my studio I personally make all the pottery from start to finish. While many pieces are traditionally hand thrown, others are tediously shaped by hand. A technique of paddling, stretching, and adding artistic elements transform my vessels into unique altered forms. Once the pottery has dried, I bisque fire them to approximately 1850 degrees Fahrenheit. Each piece of pottery is then sprayed with a wood ash glaze I have been working with since 2005. As the name implies, the main ingredient of my glaze is the ash that remains after burning wood in my fireplace. It is a creative way to take ordinary waste and re-purpose into something artistic. The success of this technique and glaze is uncertain due to the volatile and unpredictable nature of wood ash glazes. That being said, the extra attention to detail I give each piece during the glazing process yields beautiful results. Finally, all the pottery is fired a second time to over 2400 degrees Fahrenheit in a reduction atmosphere. By creating an environment depleted of oxygen (the reduction atmosphere) the oxygen starved glaze turns rich and vibrant while the clay body becomes soft and warm in color. Altogether, these two firings take a combined time of over 26 hours. My creative methods and materials ensure that each and every piece of pottery is unique. Be assured that no two pieces will ever be exactly the same. Enjoy your collection of Brian Beam Pottery.
Fulton, MI 49052