Wednesday, January 28, 2015

About lightning clouds and mini webs

Bit of a contrast in this post. Very big and wild thunder clouds over the valley; and a total breakout out of mini spiders' webs on the wire on the decks - revealed by the rain from the storm.

Fiona drew my attention to the magnificent cloud formation below.

©2015 Barry Smith - Spectacular sunset thunder cloud
It got darker as the sun went down and it built towards a storm.

©2015 Barry Smith - Dark and cranulated with zoom and dark
I managed to capture a couple of lightning flares - luck really.

©2015 Barry Smith - Lightning burst in the centre of the cloud
©2015 Barry Smith - Yet another burst
And emphasised the lightning using an app.

©2015 Barry Smith - Looks good in purple
©2015 Barry Smith - Zoom and solarising
There were (still are) hundreds of small webs on the railing wires on the southern decks - all about 75-100mm in diameter - with baby spiders. Cleaning them off will be a job for a dry day - but for now spiders and humans share the space; and we can appreciate the delicate magic of the weaving - though some of it is a little erratic. Photographed with a cloud whiteout over the valley below.

©2015 Barry Smith - Which way to go next? 
©2015 Barry Smith - Got the shape right but a bit flimsy
©2015 Barry Smith _ I think I might try the bowl shape

©2015 Barry Smith - Just hanging my net
©2015 Barry Smith - Spent too much time on it and now caught in the open!!!
All photos shot with the trusty iPhone - where would I be without it!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

And then there were five

©2015 Barry Smith - Section of a Steampunk Lamp assemblage
Over the last three days I have put quite a bit of effort into clearing my bench of brass and copper bits and pieces. They of course were there so I could eyeball them to make choices to create a series of Steampunk influenced lamps that just might find a home in the fit out of a new business.

I completed four more assemblages that are the bodies of four lamps: two larger ones; and two smaller ones. Because I only had bigger Edison globes and only a couple more wire-plug fittings I decided to wire up and fire up the bigger lamps. The wiring and globes for the smaller ones will need to wait a bother time.

Photos of the bigger lamps. One made from another welding torch, recycled brass plate and ceramic and brass light fitting from Prague  (with chain operated switch); and one from a cylinder of a pump, a brass shower arm and ceramic and brass light fitting. These lamps stand about 500-550mm in height.

©2015 Barry Smith - Welding torch Steampunk Lamp
©2015 Barry Smith - Welding torch Steampunk Lamp
©2015 Barry Smith - Pump cylinder Steampunk Lamp
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of copper and brass cylinder - very industrial
©2015 Barry Smith - Pump cylinder Steampunk Lamp
The first of the bigger lamps with a different globe - I think it might be a better fit in terms of balance and design.

©2015 Barry Smith _ Torch lamp with squatter globe
And the smaller ones - both made from many bits and pieces. The smaller lamps are about 180-200mm in height.
©2015 Barry Smith - Lots of knobs and taps in this Steampunk lamp assemblage
©2015 Barry Smith - Lots of knobs and taps in this Steampunk lamp assemblage - small ceramic and brass light fitting
©2015 Barry Smith - Its about pressure and pipes in this Steampunk lamp assemblage
©2015 Barry Smith - Its about pressure and pipes in this Steampunk lamp assemblage
The smaller lamps would make good reading lamps; and the bigger ones would give good tight to a room. The smaller ones are my favourites.

The remaining brass and copper bits and pieces have now been stored away.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Smelting and using the metal

Art is not always about the making. Sometimes it is in the preparation; the ordering of materials; the acquiring of tools etc. Today has seen me ordering sheet metal and steel rod for elements of a couple of projects; attempting to order some equipment; taking delivery of some recycled silverware; and making a Steampunk Lamp (not yet polished).

During the week I spent four days at an art institute learning the art of recycling scrap silver; forming useable sheets and rods from the smelted metal; using the silver plate and rod to make a few pieces; and learning about some sustainable and non toxic processes and chemicals along the way.

In the following I want to share some photos of the smelting process; and the creation of plate and rod. I will then go on to share a few photos of the pieces I made from some of the silver we smelted. I also took along some old worn silver coins that I also smelted to create some coin-sliver plate that I will use at home. We were taught by a silver-smith Claire Poppi.

Setting up the cast-iron mould.

©2015 Barry Smith - Claire setting up the casting mould.
Melting  the recycled 925 silver which is mixed with new silver scraps..

©2015 - Lots of heat - took about 5 minutes to melt 60+ grams.
©2015 Barry Smith - Beautiful molten blob of silver - lovely zoom shot with the iPhone
The crucible after the pour. We did 6 smelts and pours.

©2015 Barry Smith - The crucible still glows red hot after the pour.
Breaking out a 925 silver ingot.

©2015 Barry Smith - 60+  gram ingot of pure 925 silver
The coin-silver ingot cooling; and then cleaned (pickled). The coin-silver is probably about 60-80% pure silver.

©2015 Barry Smith - My coin silver ingot - also about 60 grams
©2015 Barry Smith - Clean coin-silver ingot
Making wire - drawing square rod rolled earlier in the mill. I cut off a piece of the square rod for later use in making a twist ring.
©2015 Barry Smith - Claire demonstrates wire drawing
Coin ingot after rolling in a hand operated plate rolling mill. All the ingots looked similar to this after rolling down from about 5mm thickness to about 1mm.

©2015 Barry Smith - Rolled coin-silver
Rings made from some plate and square rod. Fiona and her mum scored one each

©2015 Fiona Dempster - Two twist rings - one from smelted square rod and one from smelted silver
A couple of pendants made from recycled silver. I added a piece of pearl shell from home to the highly polished piece. And the second one has been pickled in citric acid but not yet finished.

©2015 Fiona Dempster - 1mm thick back of the pendant made from a piece of rolled smelted 925 silver - natural rolled form about 15mm wide and 50+mm long
©2015 Fiona Dempster - Pendant made from a piece of rolled smelted silver - natural rolled form about 30mm wide and 60+mm long
And my coin-silver straightened and cleaned - ready for use.

©2015 Fiona Dempster - Natural form of the end of my coin-silver plate 

A very enjoyable week I learnt a lot. Now I must go and make a roast pumpkin and blue cheese risotto to go with the red wine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rust, patina and light in the valley

There was no time for the normal Wednesday walk today as I had to catch an early train to Brisbane where I have been doing a course on smelting and recycling silver etc - but more on that another day.

Over the weekend I pulled apart a sculptural piece because the timber just kept splitting and I did not think I could sell it like that. So I rescued the copper leaves and will make Bending 3 which will be installed at our front door.WE will be ok with the extra nail holes in the leaves. The rescued leaves looked great on the rust table - lovely contrast of rich rust and rich patina - what is not to love about that.

©2015 Barry Smith - Patina and rust
©2015 Barry Smith - Rescued patinated copper leaves on rust table
©2015 Barry Smith - Patina in a different light
©2015 Barry Smith - Patina and rust 2
©2015 Barry Smith - Patina and rust 3
And of course early in the week the valley delivered beautiful colours in the morning and evening.

©2015 Barry Smith - Early morning light in the valley below
©2015 Barry Smith - Late evening light in the valley below
So fortunate to live looking over the valley.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The beauty of a Steampunk light

I think making Steampunk assemblages, both functional and decorative, are a form of practical artistic relaxation for me - often something I do between commissions, exhibition pieces or more demanding technical hammered pieces.

And so that is the way with this Steampunk Lamp. I was cleaning up the bench and floor and discovered stuff I had not put away - so what to do other than put some away and use some to create with.
©2015 Barry Smith - Welding Steampunk Lamp
The lamp has been made from: a gas welding hand piece that was not functional because of corrosion etc; a base made from odd brass bits and thick metal brass plate from an old discarded building sign; a ceramic and brass light fitting I bought in Prague; and a new Edison globe and cord.

©2015 Barry Smith - A few of the bits and pieces before polishing etc.
©2015 Barry Smith - A few of the bits and pieces after polishing etc.
As with all assemblages there is a certain amount of cutting, creating new threads on bits so they can be firmly screwed together; and drilling and screwing. I had to drill through various parts of the assemblage to thread the cord through where I could. And lots of cleaning and polishing before assemblage. All in brass and copper of course - well it is Steampunk after all.

©2015 Barry Smith - Assembled on the workbench and tested to see that it all works.
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of the base.
©2015 Barry Smith - Elegant even when not lit
©2015 Barry Smith - Top down photo showing the elegance of the globe.
I did not put a light shade on this lamp as I wanted the long slender Edison globe to be like a rod of light or the flame from the welding torch. I'm happy how this piece came together. And it is a functional lamp.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bounty of riveted earrings

Yesterday I finished the commission to convert 5 trays into a big stash of stuff for a family. In all I made 52 objects out of the metal I harvested from the trays. That includes items small word leaves to Starburst Bowls. But the potential owner has not visited to see the pieces; and I do not have her permission to blog on the effort yet. She might visit on Sunday. I will blog on this when I have the client's ok.

©2015 Barry Smith - A cluster of riveted and swing earrings
This morning I focussed on making a new Steampunk Lamp; and I will post on that on Sunday.

But sometime ago I finished a stash of riveted and swing earrings and a couple of riveted pendants, so I thought I would blog on those today. The cluster of riveted and swing earrings are above. Photos of individual pairs of earrings follow. Most of the earrings have hammered silver-plated EPNS as one design feature. They also have a 9 carat gold jump rings as a contrast feature.

©2015 Barry Smith - Slender two piece swing earrings
©2015 Barry Smith - Slender hammered earrings
©2015 Barry Smith - Rectangular earrings with brass rivets
©2015 Barry Smith - Slightly oval bottom earrings with copper and brass rivets
©2015 Barry Smith - Three piece swing earrings
©2015 Barry Smith - Three piece swing earrings
©2015 Barry Smith - Larger rectangular earrings with aluminium rivets
©2015 Barry Smith - Three layered rectangular with three copper riveted earrings
©2015 Barry Smith - Slender two piece swing earrings
©2015 Barry Smith - Three layered earrings with two brass rivets
The couple of simple riveted pendants.

©2015 Barry Smith - Long slender rectangular pendant on silver plated neck wire
©2015 Barry Smith - Rectangular pendant with copper rivets and silver plated neck wire
I'm have put the earrings into my online shop - always quiet an effort to do the administrative work to achieve that. So I feel I have earnt my pizza and red wine tonight.