Friday, March 30, 2012

Caught on the wire

I'm currently working on a number of new leaf inspired pieces for a couple of exhibitions-art prize competitions.  When we were in NYC Fiona and I were walking though a park in Brooklyn and were both captivated by the leaves that were piled against the park fence and the leaves caught in the fence wire.

Fiona Dempster © Leaves on the fence - Brooklyn NY
That experience inspired me to create a piece that incorporated only those two elements: wire and leaves. The piece I have made is called Caught on the wire. It is about 2m high by about 1m wide. The wire (courtesy of Caroline) is crumpled in places to give a 3D effect. The leaves appear to be caught in these crumpled areas. The crumpled wire and leaves create some nice subtle shadows as well.

Barry Smith © Caught on the wire

Fiona Dempster © Caught on the wire - side perspective
The temptation was to put masses of leaves on the piece but that is not how it happens in nature - there is quite a lot of negative space - so this work has quite a lot of negative space. The close-ups below of sections show that sometimes a line of leaves can be caught; and at other times just one of two leaves.

Barry Smith © Flow of leaves 
Barry Smith © Pocket of caught leaves
Barry Smith © Leaves in suspension
Fiona Dempster © The outrider leaf
Fiona Dempster © A quiet statement
All the leaves are fold formed from recycled anodised aluminium from found and donated saucepan lids and cake tins. The leaves are tied to the wire frame with light 'silver' coated wire.

And now we are off to celebrate Fiona's birthday at a local restaurant - great end to a Friday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More on rust and leaves

I have been really intrigued by the curing process of the big leaf and the silhouette leaf  of rust left on the bitumen after a few days of rain.

Barry Smith © Big Leaf - curing (rusting) nicely
As you can see from the photo above the big leaf is curing nicely. The rust silhouette has also remained strong - I now think it is a combination of the rust from the back of the leaf and all the iron dust created when we were cutting the shapes out with off cut blades in the angle grinders. The colours and shapes look so good that I couldn't help but play with them using the iPhone app - as you can see from the various altered photos below.

Barry Smith © Big leaf curing - altered 1
Barry Smith © Big leaf curing - altered 2
Barry Smith © Big leaf curing - altered 3
Barry Smith © Big leaf and silhouette - altered
Barry Smith © Big leaf silhouette - altered 1
Barry Smith © Big leaf silhouette - altered 2
Barry Smith © Big leaf silhouette - altered 3
I have started moving most of my app altered photos into a folder in preparation for choosing a goodly selection and publishing them in a Blurb book in celebration of the fact that in May I will have been doing iPhoneography for a year.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Leaf cascade

I'm getting closer to assembling the pieces for Goondiwindi. One of the installations (Cascade of Leaves) will have 5 separate cascades of leaves such as the one in the photo below.

Barry Smith © Cascade of Leaves 1
Each of the 5 cascades has 15 foldformed recycled anodised alumimium leaf forms. In the cascades I have used aluminium with autumn tones. The 5 cascades will be suspended from the ceiling in a cluster.

Barry Smith © Cascade of Leaves 1
Barry Smith © Cascade of Leaves 1+ A Line of Leaves
I took a very short video of the cascade - as it is very light it moves with the slightest movement of air. The over all installation will have a gentle kinetic movement - like leaves moving and falling.

Cascade of leaves - gentle movement with the breeze.

Fiona and I caught up with Jo Murray this afternoon at an artists gathering at gallery that has been taken over by local artist Heather Gall.

Barry Smith © Mixed metal stash saved from the rubbish tip
Jo and I had arranged to do a bit of a swap at the gathering - a pair of raw foldformed leaves from me for recycled metal from Jo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rust makes its mark

From earlier posts it can be seen that I have been working on a large (3.3X1M) leaf form for Goondiwindi show. I have had it in the rain 'curing' rusting. But what a delightful surprise there was when I stood the pieces up to let the water now run off and have the rust pool a bit more at the bottom. As you can see from the photo below the leaf had stencilled itself on the bitumen. The photo was taken in the late afternoon with the western sun highlighting the rust - and I gave it a little enhancement to get a little more contrast - but worth the manipulation I think. The black drift is tannin stain from some blocks of wood I had used earlier to tilt the metal. Lovely brush strokes courtesy of nature.

Barry Smith © Leaf stencil courtesy of nature
I have had a good run at art this afternoon. I worked on lots of anodised aluminium leaves; but also gave myself a little break to create the little 3 Leaf Bowl (15cm in diameter including leaf forms) below.

Barry Smith © 3 Leaf bowl - top
Barry Smith © 3 Leaf bowl - back
You can see the leaves on this bowl fold downwards creating 3 legs. The metal for it came from a very worn pot - the metal is quite pitted but now also has hammer marks. On the back you can see the remnants of solder where some small legs were soldered on in the past. I did not polish all the soldered off as it would also have removed the patina and pitting.
Barry Smith © The leaf stash grows
And above you can see the leaf stash is increasing - creeping towards 200 now. I am now buffing the sharp edges off and drilling holes to hang the leaves on the pieces I have in mind.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some like them raw

It is still raining on the mountain so there is not a lot of opportunity to get outside and do jobs on the block - though today I managed to mow and harvest pumpkins. Still the wet weather provides the opportunity to zip down into the garage-studio in the afternoon for a couple of hours and belt something out after doing work work etc. I'm in leaf production mode. There are at least another 120 to be foldformed by the end of the weekend.

Over the weekend we will be catching up with fellow artist Jo Murray - she has some recycled metal for me; and has been coveting some small leaves for earrings. But Jo does not want the 'polished shiny ones' - she wants leaves as they come out of the fire and off the anvil - in their raw hammered state. Though I had a pair ready I always like to give people choices so I made a few more raw leaves for her to choose from as you can see from below.

Barry Smith © Small 'soft' leaves in raw for (25-30mm long)
Barry Smith © Long thin leaves in the raw (35mm long)
Barry Smith © Four pairs of leaves in the raw
I have cut and folded about 60 leaf forms ready for hammering and unfolding.

Barry Smith © Anodised aluminium leaf forms - cut and folded
But one of the lovely aspects of the cutting of the recycled anodised aluminium lids, cake 'tins' and storage containers into leaf forms is the glittery bling offcuts.

Barry Smith © Delicious anodised aluminium offcuts
One of the less creative phases of making pieces that are  made up of multiples is the almost production line approach one needs to take to the making of all the multiple pieces - so it is important for me to keep the vision in my mind and see each piece in its place in the bigger installation.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"After the storm" - a leaf installation

I'm currently beavering away creating various pieces for a number of exhibitions-awards-shows. A couple of the pieces require many foldformed anodised aluminium leaves such as the stash in the photo below -about 20 'leaves' in an anodised cake pan below.

Barry Smith © Autumn leaves?
For each piece I'm doing I require about 100-120 of the leaves. Well I now have over 120 leaves so I thought I'd use them in a leaf installation I have been holding in my head for some time. At the moment the work has the working title of "After the storm" - a drift of leaves have been heaped in and around a rusted old milk bucket by the wind and rain. I took a few shots of the installation - a few are below. The installation is about 1m long, 500mm wide and 250mm high.

Barry Smith © After the storm - view 1

Barry Smith © After the storm - view 2

Barry Smith © After the storm - view 3

So that is what 120+ leaves looks like. Supporting the leaves is a heap of old metal offcuts - the bucket is normally one of the places I keep brass and copper offcuts - someday to be melted down.

Barry Smith © Leaves - cut, folded, hammered and unfolded
The photo of my bench shows the leaves in their different stages: recycled anodised aluminium lids being cut up; the rectangles of metal before folding; the folded leaf forms ready for beating; and the formed and unfolded leaves in the cake pan (later to be cut up for more leaves).

Friday, March 16, 2012

A few things for Friday

I'm not sure why I'm always surprised by what happens on a Friday but I am.

Today was an ordinary Friday really: walk, coffee at Monicas, paper and breakfast, coffee catch up with Ken, Noela and Caroline, shopping and mail and catch up with E-A and Carol, work-work, snake watching, finishing the COMA piece and progressing the big leaf - and now time for chilli con carne and bubbles.

Fiona Dempster © Tiny Temple Gong
As you can see from the photo above and below the Tiny Temple Gong for the next COMA exhibition ('making music') is complete.

Fiona Dempster © Tiny Temple Gong
Fiona Dempster © Tiny Temple Gong
Fiona gave me a hand to put a couple of bends in the big leaf after I had cleaned it with acid in preparation for curing.

Fiona Dempster © Putting bends in big leaf - cold forming - all about levers!!
Fiona Dempster © Putting bends in big leaf - cold forming - all about the foot work!!
Barry Smith © Elegant leaf bends!!!
And we had a Red Belly Black snake visiting - I will be a little more careful on the terraces.

Barry Smith © Snake like leaf bend?
Fiona Dempster © Red Belly Black pays a visit - photo taken with zoom!!!!!
A good ordinary creative Friday - for which I 'm grateful.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Now this is what I call a leaf...

There is a line in the original Crocodile Dundee movie where Mick Dundee is threatened by a knife wielding 'thug' - he counters this move by producing a huge knife and says something like - "now this is what I call a knife".

Barry Smith © Leaf Fragments
In the main I create reasonably small, even tiny, fold formed leaves.  But yesterday I worked with my brother Neil (below) to create the leaf above. Neil had come to spend a couple of days with Fiona and I by way of rest!!! A bit of creativity is always restful and uplifting I'm sure.

The stylised gum leaf measures about  3.3m long by 1m wide - quite big really.

Fiona Dempster © And the design discussion goes on...
The final design had input from Neil and Fiona who from time to time stood on the deck above to get a better perspective and give views about the lines and forms. The final design below emerged. I had to buy a sheet of rolled steel for this work as my recycled sheet metal pieces were too small. The sheet is 2.4mX1.2m. We used about 25 fine fibre cutting blades to cut the work out of the metal.

Fiona Dempster © The final design marked up ready to cut
This sculptural piece is destined for the Aspects Art Show in Goondiwindi. The work is called Leaf Fragments. Leaf Fragments is in fact three leaf forms: one big leaf form torn into four fragments; a smaller leaf falling out of the third fragment; and I have incorporated an earlier skeletal leaf I made to add an additional form and 3D aspect.

Barry Smith © Drop out leaf from Leaf Fragments
Barry Smith © Drop out leaf and negative space of tear lines in the leaf
Barry Smith © Leaf on leaf fragment
Below are some photos of the chalked up blued metal - part of the planning process captured by Fiona.

Fiona Dempster © Blue fragments 1
Fiona Dempster © Blue fragments 2
The piece still needs an acid treatment; holes for securing to the ground-grass exhibition area; more grinding; and a few bends here and there - but it is well on its way.

Barry Smith © The rusting (curing) process has begun
The negative space of the 'tears' in the leaf form stand out well against the black bitumen.