Friday, November 11, 2011

"Five golden rings"

Our Collaboration of Maleny Artists (COMA) Coordinator-in-Chief, Ken Munsie, has given us another art challenge: to create a piece of art on a 12x12inch canvas representing in some way some aspect of the rhyme 12 Days of Christmas.

In most of the other 11 parts of the rhyme there is just too much drawing and painting required; so I thought I might be able to present the "Five Golden Rings" by beating a piece of brass cut to fit the canvas. For this challenge I have had to use new material as I did not have recycled brass that size. I had copper but the words were not five copper rings!!!  As you can see from the photo below the work is finished - apart from mounting on the canvas, signing and a little more polish.

Barry Smith © Five Golden Rings
The 'rings' were beaten from the back to create rings in relief. The front was beaten to sharpen the edges and to give a patterned texture. The work took a few annealings as the metal wanted to twist and warp as the circles intersected etc. But the annealing created some good colour - mainly on the back.

Barry Smith © Lovely annealing rainbows
I wanted to give the piece an aged look. I wanted to use Ferric nitrate but had none; but we had some Ferric sulphate. I brushed a mixture on to the heated finished piece; and then left it out in the open while we went to Perth - the photo below shows the rather scaly and rusty-crusty result.

Barry Smith © Beauty below the surface
But it polished off well with very fine steel wool and left some lovely patina behind; and then the edges and the high points were given a polish on the buffing-polishing wheels.

Barry Smith © Five Golden Rings - completed and polished
So I think I'm ready ahead of time with this piece - ready to hang later this month.


  1. barry, your rings were really interesting all crusty and weird looking, i wonder how much that treatment changed the metal color (your photos are helpful, but to actually SEE the difference)

  2. My "ooo" button went off when I saw the circles! Just beautiful!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous, Barry! Just so very wonderful. I love your take on the golden rings. Kudos!

  4. Barry you are very clever, artistic and inspiring! This piece has turned out so well.

  5. great result B - nice piece! I look forward in seeing it. K

  6. five gold rings in your language - they are just beautiful... and thank you for showing the process... it gives a deeper appreciation of the finished piece...

  7. The five golden rings are beautiful, but I just loved the rusty crusty deposits left by the Ferric sulphate and you polished it all off *sob*

  8. It would truly have taken me forever to figure out what to create for that theme. You pulled it off perfectly and it looks great!

  9. B ... how interesting! Ferric sulphate ... is that a kind of salt? my ... i was looking at the crusty piece and the finished piece ... must have taken ages to polish all that crust off!

  10. V, JG, S/R, R, K, MD, G, SZQ & L - thanks for you kind words regarding my take on the gold rings - there are some challenges that do take me beyond the comfort or thinking zone. V, G & L - the crusty look was beautiful in a sulphurous way but it did not fit the Christmas theme. L - I have had a lot of practice polishing and have created shortcuts. JG - given your interest in circles and the square this would have resonated with you - glad you liked it. Well we will see how it stacks up in the exhibition which I think opens on 28 November. B


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.