Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Slightly different

Fiona and I have been in Portland for a couple of days. We came for a number of reasons but the two important ones were it has a reputation for supporting the arts; and Fiona (and I) could do a one day course introducing us to letterpress.

The letterpress course was held at a community run print resource centre (Independent Publishing Resource Centre). Like most community resource centres it was tucked away in an older building with lots of stuff crammed in and run by volunteers. It had some great historical desktop printers - I had printer envy by the end of the day.

The course was excellent. It was run by a highly qualified and experienced young woman who just pitched the pace and level of information right. Fiona and I worked together on one of her quotes. We put the whole process into practice: set up type; fixed it in the print frame; tried a couple of printers; colours; and different papers.
You can see the printed results on Fiona's post. It was a great learning day. And I liked all the old gear; and the lead type; the smell of ink; and the magic of multiple prints. I think it will be a skill I will pursue on the side.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Foldformed forged steel

The foldforming course is at an end. We had a show and tell on the last day and the photo below shows that I was not slacking during the course. I managed to try every thing that we were taught and also tried some things in different metals including aluminium and brass.

After the show and tell Charles said we could try a few last things that interested us. I asked if I could try foldforming steel given how I use rusted steel in my work. He said of course. So we tracked down some 2mm mild steel. I wanted to try a two fold bowl; and he was going to do some metal chasing.

We set up a forge using fire bricks and oxy torch. The photos below show the forge fire and Charles beating his work.

The following photos show my foldformed and forged steel two fold bowl with brass highlights (added when the steel was still very hot).

You might note the 'bite' out of the bowl - the fire was a bit hot and melted the steel - still a bit wabisabi Noela?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And the folding, flaming and beating goes on

The last two days have been full of creativity, learning and at times long days and hardish work. But the bottom line is I am learning so much from the foldforming course I think I have bored Fiona with about 30 show-and-tell pieces.The following photos show a sample of the work.

Organic leaf like forms.

Fragile spiral like form.

More claw-like or prehistoric shapes.

And of course one of a few bowls I have made. I like this shape with folds at four points. I have put a patina on it using copper nitrate under a exhaust hood and using heat.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My first metal alphabet is at an end

My the first alphabet for ALaW 2010 art challenge has come to and end. So my last letters in this post are X, Y and Z

Again theses are foldformed.

A took a photo of some of the early letters to just show the contrast with the last couple of letters - but the reason I have posted the photo is that the play of light put a slight blue tinge to the metal - bit interesting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Foldforming or beating metal in Calgary

Well you might register from the title of this post that Fiona and I are in Calgary. We have come here so that I can take part in a Summer School course in Foldforming at the Alberta College of Arts and Design.

The course is being taught be Charles Lewton-Brain the founder of this form of metal working.

I started the four day course today with 9 others - most from Canada but one person from Russia and one from Israel.

The day was full on - there was not a lot of idle time for food or sitting around. That is good news for me - I like to really get into it. At he end of the day we had progressed through 3 categories: lines; spirals; and stars. I managed to do 9 work samples.

As you can see from the photos above there are some great shapes. For me it is a good combo of: familiarity with tools; metal beating; and learning quick design approaches that deliver spectacular organic form (Noela I know that is so unlike me - but I and looking to create the organic within a square framework). Am looking forward to tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hard work paid off - Sculpture on the Edge

The Arts Connect coordinated exhibition Sculpture on the Edge required a big effort by a lot of people for a two day exhibition. The exhibition was in fact two exhibitions: the sculptural walk through the forest and gardens (59 pieces of sculpture); and a verandah exbibition of many smaller pieces.

In the photos below you can see some of the human effort required to make it all happen:

Installing sails

Christine recording the set up on video

Building a bridge installation

Folding catalogue-sculpture walking maps

Setting up the verandah exhibition.

And of course what was put up all had to come down on Sunday afternoon. Funny that what appears just a a single word, or line, or appointment on the calendar can entail quite a lot of sub-elements each of which are a task in istself.
But in the end the hard work paid off in a number of ways:
  • the 14 exhibitiong artists pulled together 59 pieces for the forest garden walk that they were proud of;
  • about 1000 people visited the Lucas Parklands gardens and many of these walked the sculpture trail;
  • feedback from visitors was full of praise; and25 pieces of work on the verandah and in the forest-gardens (both small and large) were sold.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Letters V and W

The first alphabet of the ALaW 2010 art challenge is coming to and end. We have five more letters to do in the month of June. All my last letters will be done using the foldforming approach.

As you can see from the following photos I have changed my foldforming towards the end of this alphabet. In the beginning all my letters ran off the page so to speak - see for example the letter E. This is a less complex foldform.
In the latter letters such as the V, and to a certain extent the W, I have attempted to stop the fold inside the line of the sheet of metal.

This fold is harder as you still need to fully fold the sheet of metal: but you want to create a more pronounced fold in the section that you want to stop inside the line; and you want almost no fold in the sections close to the edge. I think I am improving.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Accessing recycled timber and metal

One of my key aims in doing my sculptural or metal beating work is to use salvaged and/or recycled objects and material (including scrap and rusted metal and timber). It can add to the uniqueness of the pieces as once the recycled objects has been used then that is it - no mass production.

In the main I am able to access plenty of timber off cuts, recycled timber that often comes from people pulling down fences and salvaged timber when they are removing a tree from their yard. Just a few days ago I scored part of a truck of Bunya Pine tree that was being cut down and mulched by the owners of our energy grid. On request they left me with two one metre lengths about 350mm in diameter. It will be milled after a year of drying.

Getting metal is not quite as easy. I have found that the old laundry boilers have been a good source of copper; and the brass pot plant jardinieres of the 70-80s have been a good source of brass. Friends keep an eye out for rusted iron plate and copper, brass and rusted objects for me.
I spend a bit of my time cutting up boilers, jardinieres and other objects (e.g. trailer bases and mild steel fire places) to create flat sheets of metal to work with.

In the photos above you might be able to make out four different sheets of brass that have been cut from jardinieres. This metal has been used to make small meditation bowls and letters for the A Letter a Week 2010 art challenge.

I do also end up with a lot of scrap off cuts. I can use some of these as does Fiona but there does tend to be more than I can handled so I will have to think about other project uses for them. I used quite a few such bits recently making brass leaves for the font in the photo.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Metal bowl - Friday is child play

We have visitors - that includes two energetic boys. Fiona had indicated that she and her friend Sue were going into town and would I mind keeping an eye on the boys who were going to entertain themselves with DVDs.
Last time the boys visited I worked with them to make a small 'grove' each out of wood, rusted metal and copper. I thought they might like to do a bit of art instead of watching the DVDs. Silly me. However, Thomas (8 years old) did say that he would be interested in making a bowl if it didn't take too long. He wanted to create one similar to my Time Machine bowl made for the Super Bowl Challenge 2010.

I had cut up a worn anodised aluminium drinks tray that had been bought from a garage sale for 50c. I cut a few circles for beating. I chose aluminum because it is soft and pretty easy for younger people to beat. Also cut up a few triangles and rivets for decoration.

Thomas made the bowl above, with his name, in 45 minutes. Under instruction he did all the beating, riveting and stamped his name (with me holding the stamps steady). A good outcome for an 8 year old. He was so proud of it he wanted to put his name on it twice.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sculpture on the Edge - sculptures reflecting the forest

As indicated on Monday we set up our sculptures at Lucas Parklands for the Sculpture on the Edge exhibition. I posted on Monday about how the day went and the great cooperation between the artists. I thought I would just post a few photos of some of my 8 pieces in place on the forest walk.

Droplets stands at the beginning of the forest walk.

Bower with the fused blue glass is nestled under the ferns.
Font 1 is a functional piece so is part of the garden.

Font 2 with its leaf motive is amongst the trees.

Forest Form quietly shares the edge of the platform by the creek with Kim's piece Balance with Harmony.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More about the glass

I've had a request to tell what I did with the glass I reported I was fusing in an earlier post. It was all to be used in the base of the Bower for the Sculpture on the Edge exhibition.

As you can see from the photos I made about 18 pendant sized pieces from blue, clear and dichroic glass. Some were super fused (over heated) and the others were more tacked (under heated). I hear you say that maybe I could buy pyrometer?? I glued wire to the back of the glass so they could be tied to the Bower.

The photo above shows the glass tied to the Bower. Not sure if it will convince any Satin Bowerbirds to come and play.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A big artists' day

About 12 artists from the Hinterland, including ourselves, had a long and reasonably hard day today setting up the Sculpture on the Edge exhibition at Lucas Parklands.

Fiona and I were lucky that friends and fellow artists Ken Munsie and Edith-Ann Murray rallied to the cause and helped us get out sculptural pieces over to Lucas Parklands in Montville. Whilst Edith-Ann was able to transport pieces such as my Bower and Fiona's Returning. Ken's ute was filled with my bigger and more robust bits such as Droplets and Leaves.

We unpacked the lot at the beginning of the Lucas Parklands forest walk. Noela Mills had done an excellent job of giving us numbered stakes and matching lists of our works as they will appear in the catalogue and on the sculptural walk map. Pam, President of Arts Connect and coordinator of this initiative, took the group on the forest walk and we selected locations for our pieces as we went along. We had to find locations for 50 sculptural pieces. It turned out that we were all well behaved and great locations were found for all pieces.

Then we all got into setting our pieces in place. Droplets found a home at the start of the forest walk. We all took photos of our work in position as we went along. Fiona really got down to the task - the photo shows her taking close up shots of Returning.

Noela was doing quiet a number of sail installation over the small dams on Lucas Parklands. It was really great to see that heaps of the artists such as Kim pitched in and gave Noela a hand.

I think the things that impressed me during the day were: the great quality of the work; the passion and commitment of the artists; and the great level of camaraderie and cooperation. A long day, a physically tiring day but a great day.