Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wallaby visitors and other matters

Fiona and I usually start the day with a weak lemon juice; as we drink this we choose our daily inspirational word; and we look out across the back yard and the valley below.  Yesterday we were fortunate to see three wallabies grazing on the bushes on our terraces. It is such a joy to have these visits.
©2012 Barry Smith - One of our little visitors
Today we had chores to do on the 'flat'. We refer to the coast as 'the flat' as we live in 'the mountains'. We  attended the opening of a new service centre for vision impaired people in Maroochydore. Fiona had lent some of her books and paper art works that are made from rusted braille paper that she sources from Vision Australia.

©2012 Barry Smith  - Fiona explains the braille paper art
We then went on to Cooroy for a lunch meeting. After the meeting we checked out the town and discovered an 'antique' shop. We were in search of more EPNS objects to recycle for metal. Initially there did not seem to much on display but when we explained to the young woman what we wanted and what it would be used for she opened her storage cupboards and invited us to sort through them. And she offered us a bargain basement price per piece. We came away with the stash below - twenty pieces in all - an amazing hoard  - it will keep me going for a while.

©2012 Barry Smith  - A great hoard of EPNS object for recycling 
I have been selling a quite a number of pieces through my Shop lately so yesterday I set aside a few hours to cut and beat to replenish items. In the process I came across a couple of pieces of metal that would make great earring leaf forms - but the metal was quite narrow (about 1.5cm wide) - so I decided to make some long slender earring leaf forms. The leaf forms below are about .7cm wide and about 7.5cm long. They are quite light and the form is delicate. The beating of these forms was delicate but I enjoyed the challenge - I like it when I can take a form and stretch the boundaries a bit.

©2012 Barry Smith - Slender silver plate earring leaf forms
©2012 Barry Smith - Sense of size - leaf forms and pen
©2012 Barry Smith - Slender brass earring leaf forms
I will give the leaf forms a trim and polish in the next couple of days.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A weekend mainly about books

The weekend has, in the main, been given over to participating in events that were part of the Celebration of Books in Maleny.

Fiona was: part of the organising committee; responsible for a couple of activities (the artists book display in the Library and the children's book making workshop); contributed to a couple of other activities; and attended a couple of others. So I was 'along for the ride' and as a bit of a helper from time to time. Check out Fiona's post for some of the details and great photos of some activities. Celebration of Books was an excellent two days of activities - there was something for everyone.

I made a little time on Saturday to have a play with a set of riveted earrings. The difference with this pair is that they are 'hinged' by jump rings so that there is a bit of movement in the lower piece.

©2012 Barry Smith - Articulated riveted earrings
©2012 Barry Smith - Articulated riveted earrings
These earrings have a rustic recycled look about them; and they work well. The metal came from: a small recycled silver-plate EPNS tray; a bit of reticulated zinc plated brass; and brass nails for the rivets. The antiqued sterling silver ear wires are hand made by Shannon LeVart. The body of the earrings are about 50mm long and 10mm wide. The vee shaped hangers are made from 14 gauge sterling silver wire.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday frivolity

Though there was not a lot of time for studio creativity today I just had the need to 'put a couple of bits together'.

©2012 Barry Smith - Cogs and crystal 1
I have had a number of 'circles' of brass that have been calling out to me for a little while to make something that reflected light and the circles of life - circles within circles and on circles. In the end I have used them in a simple whimsical Light Catcher assemblage called Light Line - a reference to the 'beam' of smaller crystals emanating from the larger encircled crystal. The piece is about 150mm high;  about 120mm wide; and about 50mm deep.

©2012 Barry Smith - Light Line - light catcher
©2012 Barry Smith - Light Line - light catcher
©2012 Barry Smith - Cogs and crystal 2
The base is a damaged brass plumbing fitting; the larger 'circle' is a threaded cog of unknown use; and the smaller circle has the appearance of being a locket of some kind in the past. The larger crystal is from a vintage chandelier; the small crystals are new as are the brass bolts and stirling silver wire. The cogs and bolts give this light catcher a slight steampunk look.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Graham's glory

Fiona's dad (Graham) is into orchid growing in a balanced and creative way. Balanced - in that he has quite a lot of orchid plants but not over the top. Creative - in that he has a go at growing a variety of types and in a variety of setting - shade house, under stairs, in the open sun, on rocks, on stumps etc.

We got a message today to drop by and check out a few of the new blooms - there is always some thing new to see.  Thought I might share some of the new offerings.

I love how they are precious but not so precious that they can't be outside and even be munched on by bugs - true sharing of beauty.

And the Hoya and Bougainvillaea were a riot as well.

The recent dry and warm weather have certainly made the plants put on their Spring growth and colour. All photos taken with my iPhone.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's fragment

Though we are still quite low recovering from the 'flu' I still felt the need to just have a little time beating metal and trying out the new stake and hammer.

I did about an hour of annealing and beating on a 12-15cm disk of recycled copper. So it went from flat, to almost 'flower-like' and then to a raised bowl shape.

©2012 Barry Smith - Flower-like form
©2012 Barry Smith - Colour after fire
©2012 Barry Smith - The colour of fire
©2012 Barry Smith - Friday's fragment
I think I was trying to push it too fast - hence the folds. The bowl is about 7.5cm in diameter at this stage. I think I will still try to close it up to be more pod-like if I can - but on another day. Patience and a bit of instruction with a master should sort me out in terms of my folds and technique.

I'm satisfied with my 'Friday fragment'. I have done my dash on the energy front so I will sit and have another rest.

Bad news on the wine front though - we have been so unwell we haven't even felt like a glass of wine - now that is sick!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The universe and all that

Well the universe has spoken. I think Fiona and I have been just about running on empty over the last few months - trying to do catch up after the heath event and doing work for and implementing the Open Studios and Creative Spaces on top of the normal work-work and community things. No sooner are OS and CS over and we take a massive 'flu' hit. We have been down and out for the count since Sunday - and still struggling - hoping tomorrow will bring a better day.

The universe did deliver on another level - today a stake and raising hammer I ordered from the UK arrived - in less than a week from the date of order. Amazing!!! And the good news is that the stake and hammer are just as I read on the online store. I just need to get well enough and enough energy to give them a trial run. Maybe more raised bowls and pods coming up.

The bush fires are still on the horizon most days. This is a photos to the western range from our back deck this afternoon. (With the iPhone of course; and unaltered.)

©2012 Barry Smith - Smoke in the west
And I managed to parcel up 5 packages of off cuts - they will be in the mail soonish. The parcels look a bit suspicious but I can assure you there is about 1lb of recycled metal offcuts in each.

Apologies to folks who indicated their interest in offcuts a bit late. No doubt I will generate more.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Raised bowls and shop update

On Friday I posted on the raised bowls or 'pods' I was working on. I indicated that I would do a bit more work on the silver-plated EPNS bowl; and give it a bit of a polish to see how it worked out.

Over the weekend I was working on part of a commission; and by way variation did a bit more work on the EPNS bowl and also formed another small raised bowl from a disk of silver-plate over copper. Though I did not get to form these two raised bowls into full pod shapes they did get to curve in at the top - hence 'raised bowls' rather than 'pods'.

Though the pods in the rough looked ancient, treasure-like and mysterious, I do think the partly polished EPNS bowl below does look pretty good. This bowl is about 5cm high; 5.5cm wide; and hole at the top is about 5cm.

©2012 Barry Smith  - Raised EPNS bowl 
I started this bowl by punching it into a shallow wooden form after the first annealing which resulted in a fold. Rather than hammer the fold out I left it in and included it in the raising and hammering. The result is quiet an interesting wrap fold. I have deliberately left the top edges of the bowls ragged - gives them a bit of an aged and used look.

©2012 Barry Smith  - Raised EPNS bowl with fold
The small silver over copper bowl has worked out quite well and also looks pretty good with a semi-polish. This small bowl is about 3cm high; 4-5cm wide; and hole at the top 4-4.5cm wide.

©2012 Barry Smith  - Small raised silver over copper bowl 
©2012 Barry Smith  - Small raised silver over copper bowl
The insides of both these bowls are beautiful - both have great texture and colour - the result of much hammering and annealing.

©2012 Barry Smith  - Inside small raised silver over copper bowl
©2012 Barry Smith  - Inside EPNS raised  bowl
Because I was updating my on-line shop these two raised bowls have been placed in the shop.

You can check out the updated shop by clicking on this link.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Small pod bowls? And metal giveaway

Whilst I have beaten many a simple bowl form - one of the challenges I set myself was to beat a bowl that was a pod or an egg shape rather than an open bowl. I was to go to Portland with Fiona in June; and I was going to learn how to raise and beat these pod forms with Greg Wilbur a master of this art. But my health event meant we cancelled that trip; and doing this form of metalsmithing was put on the back backburner.

However, recently Greg sent me a kick-starter link that related to a exhibition of metal work by 11 Japanese and 11 American artists. The exhibition is to take place in Portland Oregon in August 2013. It would be good to be there.

Anyway that is a long introduction to the fact that this motivated me to look at a couple Youtube videos regarding bowl raising; and then it was off to the garage-studio to have a go. The photos below show you a bit of the process and progression of my effort. Two of the pods are made from recycled copper; and the third is from a recycled silver-plate EPNS tray.

©2012 Barry Smith - Quenched pod after about 4th annealing
©2012 Barry Smith - Copper pod under the flame
©2012 Barry Smith - Another beating and ready for another annealing
©2012 Barry Smith - Copper pods in the raw
©2012 Barry Smith - Silver-plated EPNS pod in the raw
The outcomes are pretty good for a first go. I used my two larger leaf forming hammers to do the raising; and a variety of makeshift metal stakes to do the forming on. Whilst the hammers resulted in some nice tight hammer marks-texture an actual raising hammer may have pushed the metal a little better. I struggled a bit with the makeshift forming stakes so I'm definitely in the market for a couple of stakes that allow me to get inside the pods a little better.

The bigger of the copper pods (right hand side of the photo) is about 6.5cm high; 5.5cm in diameter at the widest point; and the opening at the top is 4cm in diameter.  Fiona wanted the copper pods left raw - she felt they looked ancient and had recently been unearthed. Anyway she has now acquired another couple of prototypes.

The copper was much easier to work than the silver-plate EPNS. I think I will do a bit of planishing on the silver-plate pod and give it a bit of shine just to see what it looks like.

And on Wednesday I  indicated I have been doing a bit of sorting of the workshop including my metal offcuts (see below).

©2012 Barry Smith - Metal offcuts
I have a fairly large stash of copper, brass and ENPS off cuts that could go to a few good homes if anyone is interested. The offcuts tend to be generated when I'm making leaf-bowls and other bowls. And I have more than I can possibly use. The offcuts are large enough for jewellery making. All are recycled material. If you contact me via the website contact page I can send a parcel to you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spring colour, sunset and wallaby

Well after all it is Wednesday so why not a mixed bag of images from 'the block'.

Sprigs of new growth are pushing through what seems impenetrable bark.

©2012 Barry Smith - Fragment of new life
The maples along our 'stone river' are really showing their colour at the moment. A couple of weeks ago they were just sticks

©2012 Barry Smith - Maple blaze
The mother wallaby is visiting and sitting amongst the bushes; and she has a new joey in the pouch - very exciting.

©2012 Barry Smith - Must be a comfortable spot
The dry season continues and smoke is present on the horizon most evenings - it does make for some spectacular sunsets.
©2012 Barry Smith - Smoke and sunset
Sunsets even look good through the textured glass door. This photo is not altered.

©2012 Barry Smith - Sunset through glass
And because the photos were taken with the iPhone - here are a few altered-enhanced photos.

©2012 Barry Smith - Fragment of new life - altered
©2012 Barry Smith - Smoke and sunset - altered
©2012 Barry Smith - Sunset through glass - altered 1
©2012 Barry Smith - Sunset through glass - altered 2
Life is returning to normal on the block. Yesterday I cleaned out the garden shed; attached new hoses for the fire season; and started to sort some of my metal off cuts.

I'm planning to do a metal off-cut giveaway - but more of that on Friday.