THE FORCE BEHIND THE FORGE
William Parker has loved art since childhood, and is very grateful to Martha Allison (1937-2004), his high school art teacher, who put up with him for four wonderful years back in the early 1980s. He has been blacksmithing since the 1990s, and is also a scientist, most well known for the discovery of a function of the human appendix. William’s approach to creating artwork on the forge involves extensive drawing out of scrap metal into forms that are often functional and several-fold larger than the initial scrap material. The process is time consuming, and produces unique and distinctive pieces.
In 2011, William began selling his artwork to support his ongoing research on methods to prevent a wide range of immune-related diseases which share a number of similar features and apparently a common origin. These diseases cover a surprisingly wide range, and include multiple sclerosis, lupus, food allergies, asthma, and probably autism. William and his colleagues have published their views in the journal “Medical Hypotheses” (volume 77, pages 494-504).
The Artist's Signature
William has used this distinctive “3Hats” signature since he and his old friend Russ Wall created it back in the early 1990s. In fact, William is known only as “3Hats” by many of his fellow blacksmiths and by the scouting groups he knows. The story behind the name is not very exciting, but many people wonder about it, so we will tell the story. Most people assume that the nickname “3Hats” has something to do with William’s involvement in both blacksmithing and science, with the other hat coming from something else William does (mentoring boys in scouting, being a husband, or maybe cooking). However, the name really has nothing to do with any of that. In an incredibly mundane event, William obtained the nickname while working with a youth scouting organization in Nebraska back in 1990 or 1991. One day he was carrying all of his gear into a campsite in preparation for a camping event. His gear included three hats, all of which he had placed on top of his head for convenience of transportation. Somebody in the camp shouted “Hey Three Hats, what are you doing?” The name stuck, and William has become very fond of it because it is connected with many wonderful experiences and some very close friendships.