Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gift that keeps creating and giving

I had told fellow artist and friend Christine Elcoate that I was on the lookout for old-vintage chandelier crystals. She responded by saying that she had a chandelier that used to be her mother's - and she had been keeping it to do something with it but never had. She offered it to me - I accepted on the basis that I world use some pieces to create a small memento piece for her. She got our mutual friend Noela Mills to deliver it. Below is a photo of the small table-top piece. I wanted to do this before I totally dismantled the crystals and before I used any in my assemblage work. I wanted a little bit of the gift of Christine's mum to be resurrected in a small new piece made solely from elements of the chandelier.

Barry Smith © A mother's gift
Barry Smith © A trilogy of crystals
As you can see from the photos below - though the chandelier is not very big but it does have heaps of great crystals - bit dusty etc at the moment but will shine after a soak in vinegar.

Barry Smith © C's mum's gift
Barry Smith © C's mum's gift
Barry Smith © Crystal cascade 
Barry Smith © Crystals with patina links
Barry Smith © Crystal cluster
As I dismantle the crystals wants me to collect all the connecting patinated silver coated copper wires for something creative. I will post further down the track what the final stash looks like.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The bowl and leaf production goes on

It just seems to be the way of things - the lead up top an exhibition or showing (such as open studios) means that we artists need to increase our stock. Because we are to show working studios we not only need finished works for display band sale; but also works at different stages of development so we can be 'at work' if/when people visit.

You can see from the photo below that I have annealed a stash of metal for leaves and feathers.

Barry Smith © Beautiful annealed metal
Barry Smith © Layers of metal
I have also been in production mode on bowls. One of the common features of these bowls is that I have used as much of the original patins as I could and therefore all the beaten bowls were cold formed with one continuous metal beating session on each.

The Spiral bowls are not beaten into bowl shapes - rather I have harnessed the shapes of the bases out of two of the old spirit stoves - they have strong polished rims - end up being bowls with a steampunk influence.

I called the smallest bowl Through the Fire as it was made from a very badly burnt soup ladle - distorted and lots of fire scale. I think it makes this piece special - it looks old and as though it has a lot of history - both joyful and sad.

Worn silver was made from a small worn butter dish with squared stepped sides which I knew would produce lovely rings when beaten.

Copper rays started life as a serving platter with a stepped centre. In a way each piece of metal or old object invites me to see a new piece that can capitalise on some aspects of the metal itself.

Barry Smith © Rivet spiral (150mm)
Barry Smith © Beaten  spiral (150mm)
Barry Smith © Copper rays (200mm)
Barry Smith © Through the fire (90mm)
Barry Smith © Worn silver (110mm)
And have had to produce more leaves - we have had quite a number of visitors lately so leaves seem to wander out the door as we say our farewells - always good to see the smiles on faces when we can give such small but creative gifts.

Barry Smith © Brass and copper leaf litter on wood in afternoon sun
After I complete a wing of feathers I think I am in good shape

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Some people's gardens are other people's galleries

Monday was the day for installing our sculptural pieces at Clovelly Estate. This outdoor exhibition will be in place for about a month as part of the Creative Spaces - Open Studios promotion. There are 4 artists with outdoor works (Kim, Len, Janna and myself). There will be other studio artists showing works indoor on a promotion night on 10 August. The work of Kim and I are quite complementary - we both do quite a bit with rust and recycled materials. The other two artists work in clay.

The Clovelly gardens and walks cover acres; but our works are set in the gardens around the house. As indicated in the title - an outdoor gallery. The photos below show the installation of pieces; and pieces in place.
Barry Smith © Installing Leaf
Barry Smith © Flow at the end of a gravel walk
Barry Smith © Spiral nestled in dappled light
Barry Smith © Getting Wood and Water settled in place
Barry Smith © Font amidst the ferns
Barry Smith © Looking back at Wood and Water
Barry Smith © Slice of the Landscape under the trees
Barry Smith © Slice of the Landscape 
Barry Smith © Getting Kim's work in balance
And of course the main house of Clovelly Estate.

Clovelly main house
All the photographs were taken by Fiona who also helped supervise the installation of works.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rust glorious rust

Fiona and I have had two great days of art, work on the block and general preparation for the open studio event. While I have been shaping metal into bowls, leaves and incense burners in the garage-studio; Fiona has been printing and making books in the 'new' shed studio (601 MVR Studio).

But the preparation has not all been about the art work; no there is also the work on the block; including tidying the stash of timber and recycled metal. Both Saturday and Sunday were wonderful sunny blue sky winter's days. So I did about 4 hours of cutting back weeds on the wild parts of the block and the coffee plantation; and Fiona turned the Lilly Pillies bushes into a hedge at the shed. But the funniest thing was we decided to sort out the 'rust bank' (our rust pile). And some of the rust is glorious - such as the rusted bike gears in the photo below.

Barry Smith © Rusted gears
Barry Smith © Rusted gears
But we were both amused by how we were sorting the rusted stuff into categories; and then Fiona got sidetracked into building and inverted 'nest' out of rusted wire.

Bit of an update on the nest since I originally did this post: over the last couple of days Fiona and I have experimented with spray adhesive to see if the nest bits could be tacked together. Check out Fiona's post on her success as a rusted nest maker.
Barry Smith © Fiona's nest
Barry Smith ©Inverted nest and other rust categories
It is now time for us to store and  use  some of the stash below.

Barry Smith © Cogs and wheels
Barry Smith © Nails
Barry Smith © Chains
I think think some people might think we have gone a little loopy if they saw us joyously sorting rust bits - hmmmm!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A full and productive Friday

The Creative Spaces - Open Studios event looms closer and closer - so in the F&B household we are cranking up production when we have the time available. Today was brilliant - a little 'work-work' at the start of the day and then it was into art action. We moved more stuff over to the public studio; and I set up three small vices on the new work bench (still leaves one on my garage bench and one on the annealing bench).

The focus of my creativity today was completing the 50 pieces of inspiration in the pocket; and making 4 incense burners. It is amusing that whilst I'm happy to have finished the 4 incense burners; I really loved the little pieces I made to hold the actual incense sticks. As you can see from the photo below they are made from  a spiral length of brass I bought - in a former life it was part of a window winding-opening mechanism. The incense holders are about 10mm round and 12mm high - they could be great 'beads'.

Barry Smith © Spiral incense holders
When making the incense burners I usually drill through the stone and connect the whole piece with a bolt I thread myself. Could not do this today as my diamond drill simply collapsed - would not cut stone at all. So in the end I resorted to two pack glue. Still I think the 'burners' have turned out OK. On two of the bowls for the burners I made a four foldform fold; then undid those folds by flattening the circle of metal; and then beat the metal into a bowl. This has resulted in some great lines and texture in the burner bowls. The incense burners are about 120mm high and bowls range from 100mm to 120mm.

Barry Smith © Four incense burners with mountains
Barry Smith © Incense burner bowls -folds and texture

Barry Smith © Zinc and brass foldformed and beaten bowl
Yesterday I also beat a few more bowls, small medium and large, and will post on them later.

Barry Smith © The close of a creative Friday
And nature upstaged all the creativity with a soft sunset.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Twenty pieces of silver!!

Fiona and I have now 'accepted' that the open studio event, over two week ends at the end of August (Creative Spaces - Open Studios), is now only a month away; and there is much to do. We are still converting our shed into 601 MVR Studio - our public work-teaching studio; and of course trying to ensure we have some work to display and sell; and have in place some plans for work that we can do and share with the public with out endangering them - no gas burners for annealing or dangerous instruments.

We think, in the main, the open studio weekends will be about letting people know what we do and where we do it. We are not confident that it will be a big selling time; so we think apart from our 'normal' art works we will have for sale some inexpensive take-away trinkets based on our art - including cards, calligraphy pebbles and stamped inspiration in the pocket bits - so people can take home a touch of our art and a little reminder of who we are and what we do. Below is a photo of the first 20 of my planned 50+ inspiration in the pocket bits. Each of the pieces is made from scraps of silver-plated brass-nickel; and on average are 25mm square or 15mm wide by 30mm long. They are meant to be carried and held in one's pocket or wallet-purse - a little tangible daily affirmation. In the end there will be about 7 different inspirational words for people to choose from.

Barry Smith © 'inspiration in the pocket'
Barry Smith © 'inspiration in the pocket'
I mentioned in an earlier post I needed to build another bench for the shed studio - it is made from some 100mm square pine Edith-Ann gave me and bits and pieces of timber on the block. It has been painted to match 601 MVR Studio; and is 'strong as'.

And when we moved the large 'bowl forming block' up from the house I discovered some beautiful micro fungi - so of course I have to share photos of those quiet achievers.

Barry Smith © Furtive little fungi
Barry Smith © Furtive little fungi
Still heaps of production to do over the next few weeks amidst the work-work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is it right?

Well it was another early morning walk for me this morning as Fiona was off to the gym at 5.50am. The title of this post poses the question is it really right to be up and out in the brisk wintery cold when the moon has not even set.
Barry Smith © Moon at dawn
Barry Smith © Moon at dawn - unusual texture & colour  - iPhone zoom
Whilst I have a bit of a false moan about the early Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I do like walking i the early morning light as it grows from semi-dark to first light; and today was no different. There were so many birds waking and calling as I walked along Treehaven Way. The branches of the winter trees make good early morning lookouts for the birds.

Barry Smith © Early light
Barry Smith © Bare branches and bird
And even the flowers on the nectarine bush (below) celebrates the early sunshine.
Barry Smith © Nectarine blossom at first light
As you can see from the photos below our valley was beginning to flood with sunshine as I arrived home.

Barry Smith © Sun seeps into the valley
Barry Smith © Sun colours the valley and western mountains

The last photo is really 9 photos stitched together using the AutoStitch app on my iPhone. All the photos were taken with my trusty iPhone.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Any chance of corrugated Bazola bits?

Recently Noela and I have had a reasonable number of sales from our collaborative Bazola jewellery range that is sold through Main Street Gallery in Montville.

Now that Noela has recovered and come back down to earth after her wanderings in Morocco and other exotic places, we thought it was time to create more Bazola pieces. We agreed that I would make some foldformed bits this weekend for her to use in her designs - she asked if I could make a few mini corrugated bits.
Barry Smith © Corrugated Bazola bits
Barry Smith © Corrugated bit from jardiniere before polishing
Barry Smith © Corrugated bit from jardiniere after polishing
In the photos above you can see a few corrugated bits to test the idea - different size corrugations and different metal including recycled thin brass from the base of a pot, heavier brass from the side of a jardiniere and some silver-plate from an old sugar bowl.

Barry Smith © Bazola bits from old tray
Barry Smith © Bazola bits from old tray
I also made some Bazola bits from an old serving tray.

Barry Smith © Bazola bits from old silver-plated fruit platter
And some other silver-plate bits from the rim of a heavy fruit platter.

Most of the pieces are in sets so Noela can use them to create earrings and pendant sets; or can just use them as individual pieces. Guess we will wait to see what becomes of the corrugations and other bits.

Barry Smith © Metal scraps
I always enjoy making the Bazola bits because I can take unsightly scraps such as the above I used today - and with a little cutting, beating, folding, marking and polishing I can change them so they are ready to be given a new life in something of beauty.