Friday, July 30, 2010

Foldforming Friday

I planned to do a couple of hours this afternoon foldforming a few bowls. And the good news I was able to do it.

I started with one old brass serving tray and a few discs of various metals - copper, brass and aluminum.

The above photo shows the small bowls after annealing and with the first folds in place.

The serving tray becomes a rough bowl about 250mm across - still some beating to be done. I left the decorative edge on - used the whole tray.

And the small bowls in the rough - final beating and cleaning yet to be done. Will post again when the bowls are cleaned etc.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Words in flight

I have started my second alphabet for the ALaW 2010 weekly art creation challenge; and have posted my first 4 letters for July.

Recently I visited the Cooroy library and apart from having seriouis library envy I was really taken by a series of metal pages that were suspended from the ceiling with quotes etc 'written' on them. Whilst they are meant to represent pages of a book because of the way they were folded and suspended they reminded me of birds - thus words in flight.
I decided that for my second ALaW final piece, where I bring all my letters together, I would create an installation that suggested a flock of birds in flight.

After I have created each of my letters by engraving into a rusted metal square I am bending the squares diagonally and then creating wings tips by bending triangles upwards. I then add the suggestion of a head pointed downwards and a tail tip pointed upwards. Thus creating a birdlike shape.
I guess in six months time we will see if the concept of 'the flock of letters in flight' holds up.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tubular temple bell - for peace

In an earlier post I indicated that I was creating a tubular message bell for the ALaW 2010 challenge. I started with the idea of randomly attaching the letters to the pipes I found. But in the end it evolved into something a little more meaningful.
I decided to create some quietness and temple related words using the vowels. I came up with: pax (peace), joy, zen, hum, and lit (light) to be attached to five pipes. I decided on an odd number of pipes for the bell - so why not the sacred number 7. The left over letters were used to embellish two other pipes. The word pipes are the central five. The peace pipe is in the centre.
Initially I had thought of a making wind chime but the combination of brass and black pipes made me think of a Japanese temples. So I decided to suspend the pipes in a black stand like a gong in a temple. This of course meant that the form of the pipes needed to structured as well as looking good. The letters are riveted to the pipes with six black rivets each. The words curl around the pipes with each letter offset from the other by a half turn. This results in glimpses of different letters rather than having the words all standing out too plainly - one has to look for the words.
All the time I made the piece I was conscious that I knew nothing about tones, pipe lengths - so would it be all form and no function (no quiet harmonious sounding gong)?

The piece (Tubular Bell for Peace) took quite a while to execute but I am happy with the finished product. And the good news is that the pipes do make a lovely sound both when struck singly and when the touch each other. I like the idea that when one strikes a pipe with the word on it that a little vibration of that word might go out into the world. And when all five word pipes are gonging what a combined message.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ten cubic meters of creativity???

I try (not always successfully - the 'day job' can get in the way but it pays the bills) to set aside half the day on Friday (usually afternoon) for creative work. I did manage to do a couple of hours down in the studio (garage) this afternoon working on my tubular message bells. But the main 'creative' effort today went into changing a weeded slope into a stone mulched slope that not only keeps the weeds at bay but also provides a backdrop for a few sculptural works.

The weedy slope.
Bit daunting when ten cubic meters of 20mm bone coloured stone was dumped on our driveway.

Three to fours hours later three people (Fiona, Graham and me) with shovels and rakes and a Dingo turned the slope and the stone into this.

The stone mulch now provides a great surround for the natural rock that was on the slope.

And it combines the standing poles at the top, the stone and the trees. All in all it was a pretty good creative outcome. Donna, what do you think from a design perspective?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Time for peace

Fiona and I took a trip to Warwick to check out the Jumpers and Jazz in July festival. I'm sure Fiona will do a past or two on the 'jumpers" - that is trees that had been decorated with knitted jumpers and other form of clothing.

One category of jumpers for the trees was psychedelic. I noticed one theme that seemed to run through these jumpers was a message of peace. So I thought I might share some of the peace images I captured.

The first image came from a tree titled Clock Work Orange. One o'clock was orange as you can see but the time and hands were superimposed over a peace symbol - hence the title of this post - and after all should peace not be put at number one????

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tubular bells - tubular messages

Having finished my first alphabet of letters for the A Letter a Week 2010 creativity challenge I had to turn my mind to how I would present the brass alphabet.

Two months or so ago I found about 12 one metre long lengths of 30mm steel pipe, painted black, beside the road as part of a curbside rubbish collection. They were just too good to waste. So I have had them stashed on my pile of good stuff.
Well I have decided to make a set of tubular bells using the pipes; and attaching my alphabet around the pipes with pop rivets.

I have given the bells (7 pipes) a theme - centredness, peace and joy. So I have decided to create 5 related words using the vowels; and the other letters will be be randomly placed on the other pipes.
As you can see from the above so far I have created Zen and Joy and will add Pax (as in peace). With the I there is the possibility of lit for light; and with the U possibly hum as in mantra, or sum as in sum of the parts, or drum as in march to your own tune. Any other suggestions out there???

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pieces from foldforming course arrive home

One of the slight difficulties we encountered after I did the foldforming course in Calgary was how do you get all those sharp bits and pieces through security checks and home.

So we decided to post them (and some tools I bought) from Portland. Seemed a bit of a risk - sometimes things posted from overseas take forever or just don't arrive.

But as you can see from the photos above the bits have arrived, have been dusted off and now sit in a display case to inspire me to continue to create more.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First foldform on new bench

It just had to be done. The bench was built, a small gas bottle and burner nozzle was purchased, the vice was in place so I just had to show myself I could go through the foldforming process at home on my own.

Photos show a piece of copper plate annealed, folded in half and marked up - about 150mm long. The second photo shows the piece cut and beaten to create the form. I hardened some areas to get the ruffled look along the edge. Another annealing on some terracotta clay tiles I had made months ago. Recycled brass jardiniere acted as the quenching pot. And the final product unfolded and buffed with a bit of steel wool.
It worked. Thanks to Charles Lewton-Brain for introducing me to this new technique. The test will be to work out how to incorporate this into my sculptural work.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Encyclopedia stacks in the garden

For the Sculpture on the Edge exhibition I included a triple stack of encyclopedias called Quiet Transition as part of my exhibition contribution. The installation did not sell so it will now grace our block.

The aim of Quiet Transition is that it will gradually breakdown as it is exposed to the elements. Whilst the three stacks are bolted through the centre and sandwiched between water resistant ply wood the encyclopedias have not been treated in any way to make the paper and cardboard water resistant. So the individual volumes will begin to swell and deform; and with a bit of luck lichen and moss will begin to grow in the paper etc. In other words the installation will gradual make a quiet transition from the formal book form to become part of the surroundings they are placed in.

From the photos above you can see we have placed them at the end of a gravel garden area over at the shed. They are tucked into the Lilly Pilly bushes, under the Frangipani and a Pony Tail plant will hang over them as well.
I hope to photograph the stacks every 3 months just to record the quiet transition. So I will post on the progress. Of course Quiet Transition will continue to be for sale - it will just be a little 'transitioned' by the elements.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Foldforming work bench

It is Friday - I usually try to find a bit of time to do something creative before settling down to something like homemade pizza and a wine or two as the dark and cold of winter closes in. Today the creativity took the form of building a small but heavy duty bench for the outside that can be used for foldforming work.

I hear you say why not just use the work bench in the garage? Good question. In the Calgary foldforming course I learnt the correct ways to anneal various metals; and I have decided I want to do this outside where I can deal with the flame better etc etc. And I want to be able to work with some bigger pieces so I want a bit more room to move.

Anyway as you can see from the photos above after about four hours of work I now have a really sturdy bench about 1100mm long and 550mm wide and 850mm high. It is seriously screwed and glued together; and as we say on the block "it is going nowhere and doing nothing" - that is, it is solid.
The work bench was made from bits and pieces I had stashed away. The size of the bench was dictated to a certain extent by the available materials. I like the back plate that is made from a recycled 2mm thick aluminium advertising sign.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bit of blurb about me

Fiona posted yesterday on the fact that we had developed and published our portfolio in the form of a book.

The photo above show the cover of my book. If you are interested you can click here and have a bit of a preview of the book.

We produced the books as a way of promoting what we are doing this year. This has been a big step for us as we have just gone about our art quietly and have not been into self promotion much. But hey if you want to be out there I guess the first step is to have enough faith to say that what you do is worth admiring and buying. The books themselves are for sale at their published price as we are simply using them to promote our art.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pumpkin pile

Just thought I'd share a couple of photos of the pile of pumpkins Fiona and I harvested since we returned from our trip. We had left about 20 at our front door before going overseas and invited friends to drop in and help themselves. The good news is that there were only 4 left which were were able to give to the airport transfer driver.

There are 28 pumpkins in the newly harvested pile - and there are still 8 on the vines over at the shed. So we are almost at the end of the 'great pumpkin saga'. I think the final count is over 80. I am not sure what brought such bounty about - lots of rain and warm weather at the start of the year maybe.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Layers, light and fragments in a Japanese Garden

Portland (Oregon) claims to have the best Japanese garden outside of Japan. I don't know if that is true as I have not been fortunate to visit all such gardens. However whilst in Portland Fiona and I did manage to visit the local Japanese garden.

It was stunning on a number of fronts: the layers and colours; the filtered light; the pathways that took one from one peace filled zone to another; the combination of water, stone timber and foliage - and the list could go on.

Of course we took quite a number of photos to inspire us in our own garden and art. And it reminded me of Donna Watson's recent posts on her 'garden'.

Layers, reflections and colour

Filtered light

Fragments - fallen leaf, binding on a bamboo fence, broken post in a stone wall