Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Light Catcher

On Monday afternoon I could not settle into 'work-work' - it was cold, raining, grey and we are starting a new piece of analysis work as well as finishing off our reports. So what is one to do in such situations  - head for the studio (aka garage) and create something.

At the moment Fiona and I have a number of exhibitions and projects on the go art-wise so it is usually possible to do something towards one of these. In October we have an exhibition in Melbourne (Handheld Gallery) called Light and Lines. I am going to exhibit about 10-12 light catchers. I have made this many but am not happy with a couple so am doing a couple of extras to give myself choice.

Barry Smith © Soldered Light 
Anyway the above light catcher called Soldered Light is the result of a 'misspent' afternoon in the studio.

Barry Smith © SL - yet to be polished
You can see from the photo above that before polishing the components can have quite a bit of 'character' but that does not always interest the public.

Barry Smith © Crystal to refract light
Barry Smith © Soldered Light
The polished end results can emphasise the brass and the age-patina. At this stage I call it Soldered Light to reference the fact that I have used three old copper soldering irons and the flame section of a blow lamp that was used to heat such soldering irons. The crystal is from a vintage chandelier - a droplet crystal - should send sparkles of sunlight in all directions.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Collecting and recycling

When I'm out 'shopping' for bits for my creation stash I always have an eye not only on individual items but also those things I can pull apart and/or cut up. I indicated in an earlier post that I did quite a bit of cutting up and dismantling on the weekend.

Barry Smith ©A clutter of stove tops
I thought I might just share how much stuff you can get out of some of the old brass gear that is sold through junk shops. Amongst other things I look for old solid fuel camping stoves as they are generally brass and/or copper and have good solid bodies and interesting external and internal bits. The photos below show just how much I got out of four stoves in various states of wholeness and repair.

Barry Smith © Begin with 4 old single burner stoves

Barry Smith © Outlet stems 

Barry Smith © Pressure pump cylinders

Barry Smith © 4 dissected stoves become a treasure trove
I know I will get four strong brass bowls, some brass leaves and bits for Bazola Jewellery out of the flat metal in the stash. What will come from all the interesting tubes, burner heads, rusty stands and pumps depends on a bit of creative inspiration. It all looks pretty grim but all of it will polish up beautifully.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Feathers in metal

Fiona is a feather person - on our walks we have to pause and pick up stray feathers shed by our local birds. Fiona uses them in a variety of ways but particularly mono prints on hand made paper.

Anyway over the weekend amongst other things I had committed myself to making a stash of leaves our of some of the recycled brass I annealed on Friday. At the end of my beating session on Saturday, I thought I'd have a go a prototype of a fold-formed feather. It turned out OK; but was told by the mistress of feathers (in the nicest possible and supportive way) that it was a bit out of proportion and looked a bit liked a cross between a leaf and a feather.

So two more prototypes later I think I have cracked it - a piece of brass that looks feather-like - photo below. The feather pictured below is about 150mm long.

Barry Smith© Feather in brass
The first and second examples are below; as is the image of all three together. Close inspection will indicate that I improved the shape and the shaft of the feather. The shaft is better resolved on the third prototype.

Barry Smith © Feather - prototype 1

Barry Smith © Prototype 2
Barry Smith © A flight of feathers?
And by the way, Fiona claimed the third prototype as her own .

Barry Smith © Fiona's feather
Feathers could become one of my new things.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Finishing Flow on Friday

We got our second work-work report away on Wednesday, so Fiona and I both planned to indulge ourselves in a bit of art today. Fiona went off to spend the day with an artist friend and do and talk paper stuff. I planned to cut up a lot of recycled pots, drums, stoves, boilers etc;  and finish Flow.

We as you can see from the photos below I got close to finishing Flow. I found I did not have enough flat-square rusted washers to complete the piece.

Barry Smith © Flow in the backyard
Barry Smith © Detail of bolts and coach screws from the top
If you look closely at the first photo you might see that the washers have a dual purpose. First there are rods right through the timber to stop it from splitting, so the washers and nuts act as part of clamps. I use a 13 mm by 400mm augur bits to drill through the post. The washers and nuts then also become part of the design. I have about 6 more rods to go through the timber - that means 12 washers and nuts. I have used hexagonal coach screws on the cut and oiled face to enhance the flow design; and also to stop the timber splitting further. I used acid to strip the zinc plate of them so they will rust over the next couple of week.

Because I use mainly recycled materials in my sculptures and beaten metal work, every now and then I need to spend a few hours breaking objects down into component parts; and cutting things up with a cutting blade in my angle grinder. This morning I started with the piles below.

After cutting I ended up with this stash of material; and lots of interesting brass odds and ends from the spirit stoves.

And I annealed a heap of metal for leaves, bowls etc.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3D artist book accepted

As Fiona indicated in a recent blog post, we had both entered the East Gippsland Artist Book Award 2011  Books... beyond words - evolution ; and we have both received the happy email saying our books had been accepted.

Yesterday we sent them off for the exhibition. I had posted on my piece called Spiral a some time ago when it was created. Below are a couple of photos of the artist book.

Barry Smith© Spiral
Barry Smith© Spiral - 'pages'
Barry Smith © Spiral - detail of top
The artist book is a 3D book made from a short length (about 300mm) of recycled cyprus pine and recycled brass, copper, stainless steel.  It is a sculptural book in that it is more than a sculptural object; it also communicates content as would any book.  All the metal 'pages' of the book have been stamped with the words of a poem. 

How the book is read is that the readers starts the poem at the base and follows the pages of metal around the timber in a spiral fashion thus completing one or two lines of the poem. This is repeated for each metal set of pages that spiral around the timber block; and then the final line, Let the colours paint your soul,  is in the spiral on the top of the timber post.

The words of the poem by Poetic Muse are:
Close your eyes and see the spiral in your mind
Inhale the colours
Let them heal you and cleanse you
Spirals have no beginning
Spirals have no end
Our galaxy is a spiral
But it is small compared to other galaxies
We are part of the spiral of humanity
Go with the flow of the spiral
Let the colours paint your soul

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bucket of buffalo bits before breakfast

Some days just start out a bit unusual. Fiona and I headed out for our walk this morning only to find a poor dead Wallaby (it would have stood about 600mm high when standing) on the roadside at the top of our property. It had been hit and killed bay a car during the night and someone 'kindly' dragged it off the road and deposited it on our front lawn (grass and weeds really). This was the first Wallaby we had seen in our area so it was pretty sad for it and us.

Given it was a cold morning we decided to quadruple bag the body and bin it in preparation for rubbish collection early in the week.

Further into our walk we met up with Joe who had a bucket of Buffalo horns he had collected in the Northern Territory some 30 years ago. He thought I might be able to do something artistic with them - and if not then dispose of them. Not everyday you carry home a bucket of Buffalo horns before breakfast. Most likely I will cut them up and use some sections of polished horn.

Barry Smith © Buffalo horns

Barry Smith © Bucket of Buffalo horns!!!!
Yesterday was very windy and cold here so Fiona and I spent the morning reorganising the shed and moving the printing presses across as part of the move to turn it into a teaching and print studio. Today has been delightful - cold but no wind and beautiful sunshine. So after the unusual start to the day I managed to do more work on Flow - one of the new pieces I'm working on for Clovelly.

Barry Smith © Flow slowly developing.
As you can see Flow is taking shape - and not dissimiliar to the sketch at the bottom of the previous post on it . And the wood looks beautiful with a bit of oil.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Opening of Marking Moments - Up-Front Club

Well the good news is that the opening of Fiona's and my Marking Moments mini exhibition at the Up-Front Club was a quiet social affair shared with a bunch of fellow artists; and of course other willing or unwilling patrons in the Club including a book club and a games group.

The exhibition opening (really short few words by Edith-Ann (the volunteer Up-Front Club art coordinator), Fiona and myself) took place amidst tables as people ate and quaffed wine - a good way to launch an exhibition.

I thought I would try to post two short videos I took with the iPhone to give a better idea of the light, the clutter and chatter of the evening - but after almost 2 hours of trying different things, Fiona and I had to admit defeat and I have now posted some of the individuals photos of pieces and the crowd. Sorry about the poor quality of the photos - it was the light not the wine!!!

Barry Smith © Personal shrine - Connected
Barry Smith © Personal shrine - Shrine to the Moon
Barry Smith © Personal shrine - Leaf
Barry Smith © Personal shrine - Trilogy
On the walls you get glimpses of Fiona's rusted, burnt, calligraphic pieces on the wall - black wall and black frames - makes them look like mysterious warm rusted or aged fragments.

Some of the crowd & F's pieces in background
Fiona and Noela (middle left) in deep conversation
As mentioned in my opening words, the shrines represents one line of my work that focusses on quietness, places and reflection; but incorporate assemblage and beaten techniques (bowls and leaves) and the use of all recycled materials.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New work in progress

I thought that Fiona and I would get back into the Up-Front Club today to take a few photos of the individual pieces hanging and priced; and I could post on them tonight. We we did get back in but only briefly and not for photographing. Today sadly enough was mainly about writing a community report based on the field work we did in the NT some weeks ago.

However I had had enough report writing by mid afternoon and said to Fiona that I wanted to start on one of my larger sculptural posts for display in July-August at an estate called Clovelly. I asked Fiona if she could assist as I was chainsawing the corner off a very hard and tallish piece of Rose Gum timber and I wanted her to hold the cutoff piece so it didn't splinter the point. So out we went at 4.15pm - weather looked very overcast and cold but no sign of rain.

Barry Smith © Rose Gum - sawdust and raindrops
Anyway the photo above is a heap of the sawdust that was generated in the cutting; and you can see that 20mins into the work it poured rain and has splattered the sawdust - but good rich red timber colour. From the photos below you can see I have cut the face and started to sand the post back.

Barry Smith © Rough cut post
Barry Smith © Hmm! A bit smoother
The photo below gives a rough idea of the plan for the post sculpture.

The piece will stand 1.2m high and is 300mm square. It will take two people to lift. It will be called Flow as it will have a reservoir and a flowing line routed into the top and flowing down the face that will channel any water collected down the routed flow line. It will be embellished with bolts and rusted iron. I hope to have it finished by the end of next week.

About the Up-Front Club exhibition - well I guess those photos will pop up in another post.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hanging Marking Moments

This afternoon Fiona and I worked with Edith-Ann (art coordinator of Up-Front Club) to hang our mini exhibition in the Up-Front Club (our local cooperative arty cafe-coffee shop). We have titled the exhibition Marking Moments to reflect: Fiona's works about journeys and pausing at points along the journey; and my work about creating quiet places where people can pause, reflect and revive for the life journey ahead.

I will post on it more fully tomorrow when I have the opportunity to take some clear photos of the pieces in situ in the middle of the day.

Barry Smith © Personal Shrines - Marking Moments exhibition
 However, I did take a series of 6 photos on the iPhone (in poor light) and used the Autostitch app to join them up  - so I thought I'd share that stitched photo. It shows the 8 hanging  personal shrines in place and the one wood free-standing one on a plinth to the right. The shrines look pretty good against the burgundy background.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Metal letters

The garage sale went well yesterday - though people started turning up in the dark - 45 minutes before the advertised start time. But the good news is that we worked at selling for 6 hours and managed to move almost everything - so we now have a clear shed and in the next couple of weeks it will be turned into a print studio and teaching venue.

So today we rewarded ourselves with time in the studio. I used it to finish my ALAW 2011 black and white letters; and also turned the letters into a 3d presentation. I will post on the work on the ALAW 2011 blog but thought I'd share a few of the images here as well given the letters have been created from rusted metal straps; recycled tin (painted white); recycled bits from anodised canisters; recycled wire coat-hangers; and pop-rivets - a bit 'Rustnsfuffish' really.

Barry Smith © ALAW - Q 
Barry Smith © ALAW - black and white with a touch of colour
Barry Smith © ALAW - detail - B&W alphabet
Working out how to get the sequence right on the coat-hanger wire rods was a bit of a challenge. Fiona and I talked through and drew five options before settling on the one I used - always good to have another supporting artist on hand.

Barry Smith © ALAW - 3D B&W alphabet

The piece still needs a bit of finessing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday, furniture, friends and sunsets

As with most days in our household today was full.  In the main we were preparing for a garage sale of our friend Jeff's stuff. He is in Aceh doing good stuff and at Christmas he had a big sort of his possessions; and we had committed to selling off what was surplus when we had time and the weather was fine. So the garage sale is set for tomorrow morning and we have to be up at about 5am to prepare for people who will turn up at 6am.

We had pretty well finished organising things by 4pm this afternoon when Noela turned up to check things out  - followed a little later by Ken. We had planned to pause at 4pm and do a bit of Friday creative stuff in the studio but ended up yarning to N & K, having a tea-copfee; and when 5.30pm arrived had some bubbles etc. So actual creativity in the studio went out the window - but as Noela said the time with friends and fellow artists is creative - well someone has to do the hard yards.

While we drank bubbles an amazing colour show was taking place outside. From the series of photos below you can see the sun setting in the west  being reflected off the clouds and creating progressively stronger colours over the valley and mountains to the south-east below our place.

Barry Smith © Reflected sunset over the mountains take 1

Barry Smith © Reflected sunset over the mountains take 2
Barry Smith © Reflected sunset over the mountains take 3
Barry Smith © Reflected sunset over the mountains take 4
Barry Smith © Reflected sunset over the mountains take 5
So the creative activity on this Friday was all done by nature - lucky us.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bowls for Shrine to the Moon

Recently I posted on my the final of a series of personal shrines I am getting ready for the mini exhibition Fiona and I are having in the Up-Front Club.

Fiona had suggested that I complement the shrine with an aluminium bowl and leaf - a silver look but slightly muted. So I asked people what they thought. The reaction was mixed but a few people came down on the side of brass - but Suzi suggested maybe a bowl that had more than one metal - maybe one made from aluminium, brass and copper. So I have taken up the challenge a produced a few possibilities.

Barry Smith © Bowl cluster
Barry Smith © Zinc plated brass, brass and copper rivet
Barry Smith © Aluminium, brass, copper and aluminium rivet
Barry Smith © Aged foldformed zinc plated brass 
The photo above is all three together for comparison; and the individual bowls - all about palm size. And the photos below show the bowls, with an aluminium leaf, on the shrine.

Barry Smith© Moon shrine with foldformed bowl
Barry Smith © Moon shrine with aluminium, brass and copper bowl
Barry Smith © Moon shrine with zinc-brass and brass bowl
So what do you think of the various options?