Sunday, July 8, 2012

Artists' Peace Book

As part of our response to Mary-Jane's International Day of Peace 2012 challenge Ken, Noela, Fiona and I have agreed to create an artists' book each to be on show in a display cabinet at our local Maleny Library from 10-29 September 2012. The idea is to complement our peace flag making efforts and draw more public attention to International Peace Day on 21 September.

Given the number of things happening in our art world I thought I had better make a start. I would like to create a peace book in the style of a prayer wheel - but horizontal not vertical.  I hunted through my brass objects stash and came up with the cylinder below. In a former life this object had been attached to the outside of a very old and non functional zinc-brass backpack sprayer.

©2012 Barry Smith - Brass cylinder formerly attached to zinc-brass sprayer
©2012 Barry Smith - Brass cylinder formerly attached to zinc-brass sprayer
My plan was to cut the various attachment off the cylinder so that it could sit on the feet (formerly the brackets for attaching the cylinder to the sprayer).  I also removed an internal valve. So I was left will a reasonable 'clean' brass cylinder with lots of age and patina. I then cut a half semi-circular piece out of the body of the cylinder so this could act as a hinged cover.

©2012 Barry Smith - Cylinder cut and test wooden rod cut
A length of 25mm timber dowel and a couple of brass decorations (off some old brass lights Noela bequeathed to me and I had disassembled) will become the core of the rod that will hold six 'pages' of the book. The decorative ends will be used to turn the pages.
©2012 Barry Smith - Rough mock-up of Peace Prayer Wheel
©2012 Barry Smith - Rough mock-up of Peace Prayer Wheel
There is still long way to go with this artists' book. The wooden rod will need to be longer and I think thinner; and the prayer pages will need to be the full length of the rod not just the three quarters in the center. I tested anodised aluminium pages but the stamped words did not stand out - so I will probably use brass. I have yet to find some small hinges I have 'put away safely'; and I would like some form of catch at the front. And of course there will be the final polish - but you can see I have left a lot of the patina on. The patina and dents give it an aged used look - which is what I'm going for.

I'm seeking short one line peace prayers - so any favourites are welcome.


  1. Always amazed at the idea you can come up with. A true artist!

  2. it is always an honor to have you share what you are working on... so much thought given, so much understanding of your materials, knowledge of manipulation...
    this is going to be incredible... it already is!

  3. An imaginative and interesting project Barry.

  4. wow! this looks like some sort of cryptex! how awesome!! i can't wait to see it finished :)

  5. Baz, you missed your calling - I think you could have made a great aeronautical space engineer.
    Love what you are doing - you seem to definately be all better XX

  6. I'm always fascinated by the way you are able to see the future unfolding of a discarded object and describe the process in such an interesting's already beautiful and can't wait to see the finished "book"!

  7. Really a great idea. You can also count on my support for world peace.

  8. you blow my mind apart at times Barry! this is going to be wonderful. x

  9. SZQ, MJ, JM, L, N, P, L & S - so pleased there are a number of others out there who love such mysterious engineered creations - thanks for the encouragement. SZQ, MJ, P& S - quite a strange creative process really - art challenges always test me - I find myself saying how will this translate into metal; and so my mind roves and suddenly a idea emerges from who knows where; and then I visit the stash of stuff - maybe more than once - until the stuff and the idea gel; and then it is testing time; and fortunately most times the concept works. It is a bit like - the stuff stash speaks!!! L - I needed to look up cryptex - Dan Brown - portable vault for secrecy messages - that is such an apt description. N- if only I was as fussy as an engineer in my execution. P- glad you liked it - a couple more sessions before it is finished. L - thanks for peace support - maybe you could promote the flag challenge on your blog 0 a peace abstract?? S - glad I can still keep you guessing - thanks. All - go well, continue to be inspired and create well. B


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