Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back on line

As Fiona indicated in her last post we have had some trying weather on the mountain and in fact half of Queensland.

©2013 Barry Smith - Looking south to the valley below
I the main we did not have a bad experience like people who had to be evacuated and lost all their possessions. Our main issues were: few small trees-bushes down; dealing with the lack of power for just short of three days; no landline phone and no internet for 4 days; showering in the rain; collecting water for drinking and toilets; cooking on a gas single burner stove etc - bit like camping at home really.

We had a bit of water inundation; but we got over that after we got outside and dug a diversion drain.

Anyway I thought I'd share a couple of photos of the storm and rain.

©2013 Barry Smith - Torrents of rain - looking to the west
©2013 Barry Smith - Rain-out to the east
©2013 Barry Smith - Unusual storm light at dusk
©2013 Barry Smith - So the tanks are full then
And then a beautiful sunset with magic colours after the storm and rain moved south.

©2013 Barry Smith - Clean sunset after the storm passed through
And a couple of photos of the rust where I had been cutting up metal for shards.

© 2013 Barry - Battered Frangipani flower and rusted iron filings after the rain
©2013 Barry Smith - Edge of the drain and rusted iron filings
©2013 Barry Smith - Storm drain grate and rusted iron filings

All photos taken with the iPhone; and none have been altered with apps.

At the moment we are in returning the yard and house to shape; and we will get to a bit of art as the time permits.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Post installation on a rainy Friday

Yesterday I started work on an installation of three posts that I think might make its way into the Aspects Art Show 2013 in Goondiwindi.

When complete the tallest post will be 1.55m; and the other two about 1.3m and 1.15m. The posts are 150mm square. I have cut the posts from lengths of timber that were left over from the building of our house. The one I cut up was set aside because it had faults in the timber and not good for structural strength; but good for art.

©2013 Barry Smith - Posts for installation
The working title for the three post installation is Shards Rising - as I will be embedding shards of recycled 3mm mild steel into the faces of the posts but in a rising pattern. Photos of the steel marked up; and some of the shards cut. The cutting is done using my angle grinder with special cutting disks. I didn't get to finish the cutting job today as planned because it needs to be done outside and it has been raining pretty well no-stop since yesterday afternoon.

©2013 Barry Smith - Partial detail of beautiful rust sheet - marked up
©2013 Barry Smith - Some shards cut - longest 900mm
And as I was cutting steel, and one piece of the steel sheets was big enough, I cut a largish leaf out as a by product. It will get a bit of grinding and bending before it is finished.

©2013 Barry Smith - Rusted Leaf - about 1m long & 300mm wide
And of course after the rain the iron dust from the cutting process is turning a beautiful rust; as is all the other metal that has been left out in the rain.

©2013 Barry Smith - Water, rusted iron dust and leaf.
Still a long way to go with these posts by the design is there and the cutting and preparation has begun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The true value of coffee

Fiona and I do like a good cup of coffee. And as I have indicated on this blog many moons ago we have a small coffee plantation (30 bushes) that are now producing a few kilos of coffee beans each year. We managed to get a crop off about 12 months ago and had gone through all the processes to get them to the dried husk stage. Illness intervened in the process so they were never processed and roasted.

The flowers for the next crop is on so we decided to husk and roast the earlier crop. Thought I'd share the labour intensive process with you.

Start with the dried beans with husk (wheat coloured shell) still on. To get to this point we had already picked, pulped, soaked, washed and dried the fruit.

©2013 Barry Smith - Green coffee beans with husks on
Then the husking starts. We bought a small hand operated husker - the red and green machine with beans for husking in the hopper - comfortably does about 250gm of green beans at a time.

©2013 Barry Smith - Husker hopper ready to go
©2013 Barry Smith - One handed photo of the husking
The husks need to be separated from the green beans. Picking out husks is too tedious so I worked out that with the fan on full one could decant semi husked beans from an upper bowl to a lower one and the husks, being light, blew away.

©2013 Barry Smith - Beans husked but not separated
©2013 Barry Smith - One handed photo of the husks being blown away
©2013 Barry Smith - The winnowing station - aka fan and bowl
This actually worked - though I ran the beans through the husker two more times and did the old winnowing trick each time until I ended up with clean green beans that were without husks.

©2013 Barry Smith - Clean green beans ready for roasting
Then the roasting needs to be done. We have an amazing electronic fan forced roaster that our friend Jeff gave us. It roasts 250gm of green beans at a time in the Pyrex tumbler that stirs the beans and removes the chaff that is blown out into the attached filter and chimney. But don't do it inside as it fills the house with smoke as some of thew chaff chars and smokes.

©2013 Barry Smith - Roasting started - green beans turning caramel
And after 17minutes of roasting we have beautiful roasted coffee in the NYC style - ready for grinding.

©2013 Barry Smith - Beautiful roasted 601 mvr coffee
And the answer is - yes we did grind the first batch and we are drinking it each day as our daily brew; and it is beautiful. Organic and direct from the farm.

And I could not resist taking a few photos of the husks - they were like a mini installation.

©2013 Barry Smith - An installation of coffee bean husks
©2013 Barry Smith - An installation of coffee bean husks
©2013 Barry Smith - Drain with an installation of coffee bean husks

The husks ended up as mulch on the veggie patch.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A year for peace

Fiona and I have had a few planning sessions for 2013 - we use these to work out what work-work we might do; what maintenance and development needs to be done in the garden and on the house; and what opportunities we might follow up regarding our art. One of the things I would like to do this year is to use my leaf forms as a vehicle to promote a little more peace consciousness. This will not bring about world peace but in small ways it would just be good to get a few more ripples out there.

Other ways I can use my art to contribute to the peace movement might include: celebrating International Day of Peace again on 21 September; being part of Flags for Peace if it goes ahead again this year;  and maybe creating a peace tree with leaves contributed by folk from different parts of the globe.

The Peace Leaves production has already started and several of them have made their way into the world. Over the weekend I managed to make four more. One has made its way into my shop; and another as a farewell gift to our local baker who are closing up shop and leaving town after serving us well for many years. A few photos of the four Peace Leaves are below.

©2013 Barry Smith - Peace in flame stain
©2013 Barry Smith - A quartet of Peace Leaves before polishing
©2013 Barry Smith - Peace Leaf - before polishing with fire stain
©2013 Barry Smith - A polished quartet of Peace Leaves - photographed in low light
©2013 Barry Smith - Seek Peace - Peace Leaf - photographed in low light
The Peace Leaves were all made from the edges of a single rectangular middle sized silver-plated EPNS tray. Most trays I recycle are oval and therefore have very curved ends and I only tend to get two offcuts from the sides suitable for making leaf forms.

Regarding the peace tree - it was an idea SZQ and I have been sharing and working on over the last year; and we will do something about it when the time is right.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Riveting Friday

It was good to get the afternoon in the garage-studio. During the week a conversation Fiona had with a fellow artist reminded me that during the Open Studio event months ago I had committed to making a cuff bracelet from recycled leather belts, brass and anodised aluminium sized to fit the person. I had forgotten about it - but today I managed to make two cuff bracelets as you can see from the photos below.
©2013 Barry Smith - Blue and brass cuff bracelet 2
©2013 Barry Smith - Blue and brass cuff bracelets 2 & 3
©2013 Barry Smith - Blue and brass cuff bracelet 2 
©2013 Barry Smith - Blue and brass cuff bracelets 2 & 3
Before beginning the cuff making process I foldformed a sheet of blue anodised aluminium cut from an old bread storage container. One has to be quite delicate fold the anodised aluminium as it is thin and the anodised splits and cracks - but in a way that is part of the beauty of using it - letting the silver of the aluminium show through the folds.

©2013 Barry Smith - Foldformed strip of blue anodised aluminium
Like quite a few of my tools I create; or adapt things I find to suit my purpose. As you can see below I use a piece of 50-60mm bamboo to form and drill the bands of metal for the cuff; I use an old piece of pipe with a welded end to rivet on; and I have made a very small rivet setting tool made from an iron bolt for setting 1.5mm rivets.

©2013 Barry Smith - Tiny rivet hammer and home made rivet setter
©2013 Barry Smith - Pipe as cuff bracelet for rivet setting
©2013 Barry Smith - Bamboo for forming and drilling rivet holes
When setting the rivets I protect the metal with a bit of gaffer tape.

©2013 Barry Smith - Rivet setting on cuff bracelet
Making two cuff-bracelets will give the person they are made for a choice.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

For Liz & adding a peace page

A good friend of ours - Liz and her husband popped in today to drop off a book. If I'm a leaf person Liz is a feather person.

Amidst a myriad of things that we talked about I showed her the feather earrings - it was in love at first sight - but it seems they did not quite suit - but "a feather pendant would be nice". So this afternoon a couple of feathers for pendants were made. One from silver-plate over copper and one from silver-plate over brass. The outcomes are shown in the photos below. The feather forms are about 6-7.5cm long and about 1-1.5cm wide. I deliberately left the bent and crinkled look to the feather forms - just seemed to be a bit more like the ones found by the roadside

©2013 Barry Smith - Feather form pendant 1 - silver-plate over copper
©2013 Barry Smith - Feather form pendant 2 - silver-plate over brass
©2013 Barry Smith - Feather forms
And whilst I was at it I thought I'd add a page to the earlier layered pendant - so it is now a Peace Pendant as well. As you can see from the first photo the additional page is made from silver-plate over copper. I will be a bit sad when I finish the metal from this tray.

©2013 - A Peace Page
©2013 Barry Smith - Becoming Peace Book 2
©2013 Barry Smith - Becoming Peace Book 2
It was grand to spend a little time at the anvil; and good to add a little more towards this year of peace.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Inspired by feathers

We are in the midst of a heat wave. This is quite unusual on the mountain where it is often cooler than on the lower lands. On our morning walks Fiona and I have noticed many more feathers on the road and beside the road.

We wondered if the birds were feeling the heat to such an extent that they were shedding some of their plumage. We hope they are coping OK; and that this heatwave passes through in the next couple of days.

We were intrigued by the colour and delicacy of some of the feathers so collected a few to photograph at home as you can see below.

©2013 Barry Smith - A trio of tiny delicate feathers from the roadside
©2013 Barry Smith - A pair of roadside feathers - toy camera treatment
©2013 Barry Smith - A pair of roadside feathers
©2013 Barry Smith - Pale-headed rosella wing feathers?
©2013 Barry Smith - Pale-headed rosella wing feathers? - toy camera treatment
And of course nature is a great inspirer. It is too hot to do too much work in the garage-studio - but I felt the creation of a small pair of feather forms for earrings would not be too great an exertion. The feathers below are made from a scrap of recycled silver-plated EPNS that was lying on the bench. The feather forms are about 4cm long and 1cm wide.

©2013 Barry Smith Pair of hand formed feather forms
©2013 Barry Smith - Feather form earrings.
Fiona said that though she loved these feather forms - maybe they could go into the shop.