The Artist & The Process
Allen D. Brandt – The ArtistMetal and wood working have always been a part of my life; my dad was a master carpenter, and I grew up working with him in our garage shop. I am a fourth generation Montanan, and much of my inspiration comes from those roots. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art from Montana State University, but as with many artists, my initial working life took a circuitous path where art wasn’t the primary focus.
The idea of being a metal smith always occupied the deepest parts of my mind, and finally the opportunity to enroll in a night class in metal working rekindled my passion for it. I had always enjoyed working with metal, but the process now took on the significance that only age and experience bring.
Much of my current work revolves around metal-working processes that are the back bone of what I do: fabricating pieces from raw materials, die-forming, raising, and casting. Each technique has its strengths, and I may draw upon all of them to fulfill a particular project. I call on my wood-working skills to build the forms and molds for hollowware projects.
In addition to creating my own work, I do select fabrication work for other artists: for example, a sculptor who wants coins made with the image of one of his pieces on the face. For many years, I have also provided mentorship for students at the MSU metal work studio, and have helped hundreds of students learn and perfect their techniques.
I consider myself to be a metal smith first of all, and I use those advanced techniques in both my jewelry and my fine art metalwork.
Allen’s Artistic ProcessI designed the AlleeB’s of Bozeman studio to facilitate a wide range of jewelry making and fine art metal techniques that result in my exclusive one-of-a-kind or small-edition pieces of the finest quality.
I revamped and modernized my master carpenter father’s wood working shop, and the studio has capabilities that range from casting, forging, annealing, to shaping for custom-created forms. I use these techniques in my work -- some new and some ancient -- and apply these to the designs I envision and then create. Even my wooden mold forms require artistry to ensure the quality of the finished pieces.
I am a fourth-generation Montanan and take inspiration from the beauty of Montana that surrounds me. For example, I used pin oak leaves, gathered in the fall at the MSU campus, to create the open cut work on one of my signature candy dishes. It required meticulous craftsmanship to render each leaf perfectly.
The wide capability of the studio allows me to also do custom and commission work for clients. I work in collaboration with them to arrive at specifically tailored and uniquely suited pieces of both jewelry and fine-art metalwork. I also do select contract work for other artists who need help with things such as casting.