Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sidetracked on Saturday and Sunday

I had a few things on my list for the weekend including finishing the piece for the COMA food festival exhibition. But I also wanted to repaint the front steps and the entry decking. A few small jobs that offered balance and diversity.

However in the process of finishing the 'condiment' bowls (bit more beating, trimming and re-polishing)   a couple of other bits of metal whispered to me - a couple of silver-plated goblets I had cut down and some 6 gauge (about 3mm thick) copper wire I had bought in NYC. The section of the goblet was re-beaten into a small bowl; and the copper wire became the handle (see below) of another ladle. But more on that later.

©2012 Barry Smith - Copper handle
As you can see from the photo below I made a small shelf from a camphor laurel slab and attached it to the 12X12inch canvas I had painted black. I made small indentations in the timber for the bowls to sit in; and cut a hole in the canvas to hold the fourth bowl. I might add a few pepper seeds to give the impression they are spilling out of the bowl imbedded in the canvas. The bowl will need to be tilted a bit more - it is only held in with blutack so it can be moved around.

©2012 Barry Smith - Display shelf for COMA condiment bowls
©2012 Barry Smith - Detail - small beaten condiment bowls
Back to the ladle. This one is finer and more finished than earlier examples. I hammer hardened the copper shaft of the handle on the anvil - it has some lovely beaten marks on it. The bowl for the ladle is beaten in a textured hammered pattern on the outside but it results in lively texture inside where it has been beaten on the panel beater's form. The bowl is attached to the handle with three small copper rivets made from 1/16inch thick copper nails. The ladle bowl is about 7.5cm wide and 1.5 cm deep. The handle is about 20cm long.

©2012 Barry Smith - Silver-plated ladle with copper handle
©2012 Barry Smith - Silver-plated ladle with copper handle
©2012 Barry Smith - Detail - Silver-plated ladle with copper rivets
When I measured the length of the handle I found I needed to cut off about 7cm of the copper wire. So as not to waste it I thought I would see if I could make a small salt spoon from the off cut. I think it worked out ok. The little spoon handle is about 5.5cm long; the spoon bowl is about 1.5cm long and 1cm wide.

©2012 Barry Smith - Small (7cm) solid beaten copper salt spoon
The photo below shows the contrast in size between the ladle and the salt spoon.

©2012 Barry Smith - The ladle and the spoon

I did manage to get the steps and deck done. I was able to beat and polish metal when the different coats of paint were drying.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Four bowls for Friday

There are times when I know that I am a little crazy. Who in their right minds would attempt to cut, beat and polish four small bowls in an afternoon? Anyway that is the goal I had set myself for my Friday art afternoon.

Fiona is off to spend the weekend with her friend Sue in Melbourne. I drove her to the airport late this morning. I thought I'd be home by about 2pm - but got stuck in the mother of all rain storms - so arrived home at 3pm instead. I stuck to the idea that I would attempt the four small bowls. As you can see from the photo below I did manage to produce them; but will need do a little more work on them to finish them over the weekend.

©2012 Barry Smith - Four condiment bowls
The reason I'm doing four small bowls (about 5cm wide and high) relates to Ken's most recent COMA challenge - create something that is connected to food to celebrate the Food Festival that will be held in Maleny on 8-9 September. COMA will have an exhibition in a coffee shop in our main street. My bowls are 'condiment bowls' for pepper, mustard etc. We have to produce pieces that are 12X12 inches square and be able to be hung on a wall. I will build a small shelf onto my canvas. Three bowls will sit on the shelf and one will be imbedded in the canvas - watch this space???

©2012 Barry Smith - Beaten texture inside one of the bowls
©2012 Barry Smith - Four condiment bowls
When I'm beating different sized bowls I use different sized stakes. You can see from the photo below that my stakes for these bowls are a chrome car tow ball; and a panel beater's handheld form. Cheap and they work.

©2012 Barry Smith - Cheap but effective stakes
A former work colleague died recently and was buried today. Fiona and I could not attend the funeral so we agreed to 'gong' the peace bell. I gonged the bell at sunset.

©2012 Barry Smith - Strong colours of Val's sunset.
The light in the sky was intense and beautiful - may the spirit of Val soar.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Restoring body and spirit

Fiona and I went AWOL - headed to the beach about 45 minutes drive from the mountain. It was an opportunity to take a few days out to: sleep, read, walk, coffee and take in the beauty of the river, sea and sand.

Though we captured much with our eyes and minds, the iPhone was used to take in a few images to share.
©2012 Barry Smith - Low tide - where the river meets the sea
©2012 Barry Smith - Gentle curve of golden sand
And as you can see often it was about the texture.

©2012 Barry Smith - Shadows and sand ripples
©2012 Barry Smith - Gently floating by
Or prints in the sand.

©2012 Barry Smith - Dog print - sharp impression
©2012 Barry Smith - As in flight - a child's toes only touch the sand
Reflected light.

©2012 Barry Smith - Brooding fading light - a touch of red
© 2012 Barry Smith - Fiona mesmerised by the gentle waves and soft light
©2012 Barry Smith - Sun reflections - like oil on the water
©2012 Barry Smith - Pelican - cruising in a molten sea
And I altered a small number of the shots.

©2012 Barry Smith - Soft ghostly print
©2012 Barry Smith - Viens of silver, copper and violet
©2012 Barry Smith - Soft light from a brooding sky
The break away has refreshed us in both body and spirit - we are back on our beautiful mountain and back into the full flow of life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

All silver is not the same

In the past I have used some silver plated drink coasters to make shallow bowls for my Daily Words series. And if one looked at the photo below you might say the bowls all look pretty much the same.

©2012 Barry Smith - Daily Words bowls and words
But a closer inspection of the drink coaster on the left of the photo shows that it is rhodium over steel. Beating the coaster resulted in fractures in the 'silver' plate and after a little time the metal under the plating begins to rust or as in the photo turn black. So that little bowl will not be for sale.

©2012 Barry Smith - All that is silver is not the same
©2012 Barry Smith - The iron bleeds through the 'silver'
The outcome for me is that I need to be a little more careful in my inspection of coasters. In they case of the shallow bowl below I have cut a circle of metal out of an tray that is actual silver plated over brass; as are the daily words.
©2012 Barry Smith - Unpolished Daily Words bowl and words
The bowl  is yet to be polished; and then it will be off to a new home.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Leaf spoons and ladle

I'm still playing with some forms and functional objects for the food festival.  In comments on an earlier post some folk suggested that the bent handles of the salt-pepper spoons looked a bit like leaves. I had intended to try a couple of prototype teaspoons with leaves.

The spoons below are the results of the experiment. The brass spoon is made from brass from a jardiniere; and the copper from a small recycled water tank.

©2012 Barry Smith - Leaf teaspoon 1
©2012 Barry Smith - Leaf teaspoon 1
©2012 Barry Smith - Leaf teaspoon 2
©2012 Barry Smith - Leaf teaspoon 2
Fiona suggested that a ladle might be useful. The ladle below was made from a recycled four fold fold formed copper bowl and the handle off an old plumbers soldering iron. After a bit of reworking; sanding; polishing; and riveting the ladle came together quite well. The ladle gives one an idea of the size of the teaspoons.

©2012 Barry Smith - Copper ladle
©2012 Barry Smith - Copper ladle
©2012 Barry Smith - Copper ladle and teaspoons
The playing has indicated that there are a number of food related objects that I could create for the food festival stall. It was suggested that the objects I make might need to be made from copper or pewter. The copper certainly worked well and the public generally accept it for use with food.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Moonset, inkblots and other matters

I was cleaning up my iPhone memory and came across a number of photos I had altered and thought I might share them. Interesting that there is a mix of light and darkness.

The alteration of the moonset simply shows the flip side of the morning light - but I think it shows another  dimension of the the morning light.

©2012 Barry Smith - Moonset - altered
©2012 Barry Smith - Moonset - altered
The shots I refer to as light and dark angel are alterations of a couple of photos of ink blots. Fiona's exercise program got wet and the purple ink seeped nicely down the fold of the paper - though Fiona was not impressed I thought it resulted in some interesting shapes and colour.

©2012 Barry Smith - Angel of the light - purple inkblot altered
©2012 Barry Smith - Angel of the dark - purple inkblot altered
 I took a photo of a drain in a pond with leaves and rubbish being washed down it - a murky shot - yet when flipped the light and contrast turns it into something altogether different.

©2012 Barry Smith - Drain - light - altered
And how could one resist the light shining though a small glass of red wine.

©2012 Barry Smith - Reflecting through the red - altered
 I still find it is an interesting challenge to see if the iPhone shots I take can be seen in a different light.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Form and function

This weekend has been pretty busy with visitors and it looked like there would be no time for getting down into the studio-garage. However a fellow artist dropped in to see if I was interested in joining her in creating functional objects for a stall at a food festival in a couple of months time. She thought I might join her (a ceramicist), fine wood worker and textile artist. My objects would be related to the presentation and serving of food; and be beaten metal.

©2012 Barry Smith - Small salt-pepper spoons
©2012 Barry Smith - Small salt-pepper spoons
Today between visitors Fiona and I found we had a couple of hours to spend on art so I thought I'd have a go at a few prototype objects such as the small salt-pepper spoons above; and a larger serving spoon. The starting point was the piece of brass from a jardiniere, a rusted iron rod and a couple of offcuts from an EPNS tray. All pieces were cold formed. The salt-pepper spoons are about 7cm long.

©2012 Barry Smith - Recycled brass, iron and EPNS
The larger serving spoon shown below has turned out quite well. The spoon is about 32cm long overall; and the spoon form is about 8.5cm long and 6.5cm wide and 1.2cm deep. The spoon form is riveted to the handle with 3 small copper rivets. Not sure of the ergonomics yet.

©2012 Barry Smith - Serving spoon - brass and iron
©2012 Barry Smith - Serving spoon - brass and iron
I guess this effort indicates it is possible to make such functional pieces - now the thing is finding the energy and time to do this amidst our preparations for the Open Studios and Creative Spaces 2012. Well at least it will keep me off the street.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A fling with rings on Friday

In early May I had a go at making a ring from a section of brass tubing and a slither of anodised aluminium. That prototype turned out reasonably well. So today, Friday - art day,  I set myself the task of making one or more rings if time permitted. In the end, over a couple of sessions, I did make three rings as you can see from the image below; but I would not say they are a resounding success.

©2012 Barry Smith - Three brass rings in the rough
As you can see from the photo below the brass tubing, from a recycled fuel camping stove, does not look pretty when annealed and roughly beaten several times.

©2012 Barry Smith - Three brass rings - really rough
But in the end the rings have turned out ok. And you can see I experimented with a few different designs. The simple anodised aluminium; copper wire with stirling silver beads; and 14 gauge stirling silver wire.

©2012 Fiona Dempster - Three brass rings - getting closer to completion
©2012 Barry Smith - Brass rings with copper and stirling silver beads.
So what went wrong? Well over the last couple of months I had forgotten: which hammers I used when; that I needed to file and polish the inside edge of the piece I fold over (can't file and plush the inside edge after it is folded over wire or anodised aluminium); and the lengths of tubing were a little too short to give me a decent grip when creating the initial fold. And of course I think I might have tried to do too much too quickly - but I think I was driven by the fact that Saturday and Sunday are given over to visitors so no art.

Still it was good to get back into the fine motor skills part of metal beating. The rings will still be ok when I sand the inside finger area to get rid of the irregular shape and give them a final file and polish.