It may surprise visitors driving along Hwy. 221 in Linville Falls to see sculptures along the roadside. For others traveling this road, it is a regular routine to watch for new pieces of sculpture Bill Brown has put in his beautiful landscaped yard, or to see what he is working on in front of his studio.
Since opening in 1981, Sculptor Bill Brown has created metal sculptures which have found their way to homes throughout the United States. He delivers or ships work such as his large garden pieces, and small interior sculptures, to his delicate blown glass and steel lighting, to locations nearby, or to Georgia, Louisiana and California to name a few. After over twenty three years his reputation has grown, and his work had reached a level of recognition which brings people from all over to see his latest creations.
Sculptures on every scale, from small pedestal work to large garden pieces, are included in his endless list of private collections. Also his amazing blown glass and steel lighting pieces have quickly found their way into many collections, and range from table lamps to twenty five foot long glass and steel chandeliers. He has participated in a wide array of exhibitions, museum shows, and has taught, and lectured as his scheduled allows.
Visiting Bill’s studio, it is busy with the activity of creation, and the gallery building and gardens offer a chance to walk along and quietly take in the beauty and wonder of his finished works. A couple of times during the year Bill hosts an open house to view his new creations. He turns up the eclectic mix of music he is known to work by, his wife Liz, fills the work tables with refreshments, and they invite everyone to come and enjoy his latest creations. “This is a wonderful weekend, filled with old friends, collectors, and new visitors, all coming to see what I have been working on”. “It is great to get peoples reactions to my new works, and of course to sell art which then becomes part of others lives”, shares Brown.
Some people see the making of art as a surprising, or even crazy thing to do; working each day to create three dimensional objects which begin as a thought or emotion and then become something which is expressive, beautiful, and thought provoking. For Bill Brown this is natural and normal, and something he says he must do. Growing up within the community of Penland School, which his father directed for twenty one years, he followed his early inclination into the arts world. Of course, he had to explore other areas along the way, doing construction, working at a cattle ranch, working as a horse shoer, but he could not deny his life direction, and his passion for the arts.
He grew up working in a variety of studios, and experienced everything from blowing glass, and making pottery, to traditional dyeing of yarn. These experiences can be felt in his relationship to his materials today, which is primarily steel, but he also incorporates other metals, blown glass, and uses acrylics to bring surprising color to some of the work. It is evident that he understands his materials, and has technical abilities that cause so many to ask how do you do that, but his true talent, or gift is that he transforms not just his materials but viewers with his finished work. The expression, the feeling of joy and flowing movement in some of his work, or the sense of tension or the unknown in others, all come through in his sculptures.
Open Monday -Friday from 9-5, his studio is located on Hwy. 221 in Linville Falls. Call for additional information and directions 828-765-6226.