About Matt Brophy
Matt Brophy's ideas usually come to him while lying in bed at four in the morning. "I can't go back to sleep until I've completely figured them out in my head. I just need to prioritize the better ideas to get to them faster."
His first exposure to pottery came in the tenth grade. At the end of that year, he was throwing at college level. Circumstances got in the way, and Brophy was forced to put aside his interest in pottery for years. Ten years ago he met a local artist who showed him the way back in.
Brophy's pottery takes many forms. "I'm trying all forms of firing from stoneware to raku to horsehair and feathers to saager. I'm still amazed by everything." While he does raku at home in his front yard, he works mainly of the Belton Center for the Arts.
He creates unusual effects in the raku through his process involving firing at 1850 degrees, then removing the pottery from the kiln while it's still glowing and red hot. Then he puts it in a metal garbage can with newspaper and sawdust so it catches fire and burns around the piece. He covers the garbage can and lets it burn.
For saager, he paints each piece with ferric chloride and then wraps it in tin foil with organic items such as horsehair, sugar, feathers, or leaves. He brings it up to 1200 degrees in an outside gas kiln, then wears special protective equipment to remove it. When it cools down, he unwraps the piece to reveal a one-of-a-kind ceramic form underneath, not knowing what the design is going to be.
For hand-thrown porcelain pieces, he brings the kiln up to 1450 degrees, pulls the pieces out while hot, and burns items like feathers onto them to leave an imprint. In the future, he's looking forward to trying wood firing and pit firing.