Friday, September 6, 2013

The mystery is revealed

Ok so it is not really a mystery - over the last couple of months Fiona and I have indicated that we were working on a commission and were not in a position to share much about it.

Well the Queensland Literary Awards (QLA) have now been awarded and we can reveal we had a part to play in that we were commissioned to design and make the 11 Awards. You can check out the 11 awards on the QLA table as reported on the QLA Facebook on 4 September.

Fiona and I collaborated on the design and creation of the awards - combining calligraphy, bookmaking, paper embossing, metal working and riveting expertise.

As you can see from the photos below the winners of the awards were given an individualised book made from Perspex, paper and recycled silver plated EPNS. The 'books' are 15cm high, 11cm wide and 15cm thick. Each award had its unique design beaten into the covers and replicated in the paper through embossing. Each leaf has 3 layers of Perspex hand riveted together with tiny polished aluminium rivets. The front and back leaves have hammered and etched silver plated EPNS encased in the Perspex. The centre leaf has two layers of paper between the perspex - one is embossed and the other with the award title printed and winner's name done by hand in calligraphy and also embossed. I'm sure Fiona will show more of her embossing work etc in future posts on her blog.

©2013 - Fiona Dempster - QLA Award sculptural 'books' - front cover
©2013 - Fiona Dempster - QLA Award sculptural 'books' - back cover
©2013 - Fiona Dempster - QLA Award sculptural 'books' - 3 leaves - middle leaf Fiona's paper and calligraphic work and awardees name
As well as doing all the calligraphy and embossing, Fiona stitched each book with the QLA signature colour - orange.

©2013 - Fiona Dempster - QLA Award sculptural 'books' - the final stack
And she made orange pouches to protect the perspex.

©2013 - Fiona Dempster - QLA Award sculptural 'books' - pouched and ready for delivery
Below are a couple of grainy iPhone shots of the awards on the table and a presentation taking place.

©2013 - Barry Smith - QLA Award sculptural 'books'  - a line up
We were very pleased with how the individual pieces worked out - and how well they look as an installation - not many people get to make an edition (with variations) of 11 hand made artists' books

©2013 - Fiona Dempster - QLA Award sculptural 'books' - an installation
It was grand to see the original recycled metal (photos below) gain a new life. There were challenges along the way and lessons learnt. Recycled metal always has its own mind and inbuilt surprises - there were quite a number of my beaten covers that had to be rejected because of too much twisting in the metal - but those challenges were overcome and 11 beauties were produced.

©2013 Barry Smith - Cut up silver plated EPNS trays
©2013 Barry Smith - Cut up silver plated EPNS trays - cut into pages and ready for hammering
We are off tonight to support Noela M at the SCAP award night - she is a finalist in the event


  1. Bravo B and F!! the awards look pretty stunning and very very classy. I really like that you infused all those different executive elements in but not exclude the handmade and repurposing touch which are so integral to your creative styles. Definitely a successful commission and an even more successful collaboration between 2 artists and between 2 worlds.

  2. Well done. These look great! V inspiring indeed. I love making hand-made books but had never considered these materials, yet recycling is one of my favourite things to do hence an attraction to collage. Good luck tonight.


  3. Hello, Barry.

      The rust is an annual ring.

      It is my joy to share your wonderful work.
      And sweet message charms my heart.

      I pray for your happiness and world peace.
      Thank you World-wide LOVE, and your Support.

    Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma ❃

  4. What a wonderful award to be given - beautiful!

  5. Excellence in craftsmanship is clearly evident in your beautiful awards. Kudos on being selected as the srtists to create these stunners and on a job well done! Thanks for sharing.

  6. They are beauties indeed and brilliant to receive such a wonderful creative and appropriate artwork as an award to treasure.

    1. HM - thanks - can be good when the form of the award fits the purpose of the award. B

  7. L, A, Ruma, VA & AA - thanks for checking out the post and leaving supporting comments. L - it does show repurposing can still be classy. A - thanks - and always good when a couple of things we love in art can come together. Ruma - thanks for your wishes of happiness and peace. VA - we have had very positive feed back from the awardees - that is good. AA - you are so right - being selected is the first big buzz - brining the gig off is the next. All - go well. B


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