Brian Clarke is a Artist Metalsmith who has been running his own studio in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, since 1973, having studied metal- and silversmithing techniques in Dublin, Paris and the U.K. His work focuses on the plasticity of metal, particularly non-ferrous metals: Gold, Silver, Copper, and Brass. The smith traditionally worked with a hammer, exploiting the fact that metal is meallable and can be stretched and compressed. Hence we have the terms Goldsmith, Silversmith, and Coppersmith. In antiquity, and through the middle ages, gold- and silversmiths hammered sheets of gold. These were the true goldsmiths. In modern times, due to the costliness of the materials, smiths rarely get the opportunity to work in sheet gold or silver, so the terms goldsmith and silversmith now have a broader meaning, and implies a broad array of skills. Below are five galleries of Brian’s work, showcasing the various skills and techniques that he uses in his practice. Further down the page is a selection of his research work.
Over the years Brian’s practice has also involved a significant amount of research, particularly into the techniques and tools used my the metalworkers of antiquity. One strand of his research culminated in 2016 with the publication of ‘Unlocking the sectrets of the Robbon Torc’, a book and DVD telling the fascinating story of the rediscovery of the lost techniques of ancient goldsmiths.