Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The fragility of some metal

Over the last couple of days I have been reminded that all metals are not equal; nor are always reliable in terms of strength.

The cases in focus are: the metal from the trays I have been given to create pieces for the family from; and the treadle for our Lightning Jogger letterset printer.

As you can see from the photos below metal from one tray suddenly split after three annealings and hammering whereas the others have not. I will decide what I can do with the split bowls.

And we were amazed when the treadle for the press snapped - at a place it had been welded before - see photo below.

So I decided to repair it by bolting steel plates on both sides of the treadle and across the break; and fill in the spaces and gaps with "plastic steel". The photos show the process and the treadle bolted back in place.

The challenge with breaks and splits is how to ensure the repair or added design element fits with the original piece. I think the press repair fits with the industrial look of the press. A coat of black paint and it will look like part of the original and possibly stronger.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

An introduction to metal

Fiona and I have had friends from Jakarta staying with us for the last couple of days.  After seeing the studio where I assemble jewellery after dinner last night our 7 year old visitor (Miss V) said she would like to make some leaf jewellery.

So mid morning Fiona, Miss V and I went to the audio-garage to work on some leaf-forms made from thin brass.

Following are photos of the collaborative-instruction process.

©2014 Fiona Dempster  - Hammering the fold in the metal
©2014 Fiona Dempster - Hammering the fold in the metal
©2014 Fiona Dempster - Artists at work
©2014 Fiona Dempster - Hammering the edges of the leaf-form
©2014 Fiona Dempster - Opening the leaf forms
©2014 Fiona Dempster - Demonstrating setting the leaf-forms on the small anvil
©2014 Fiona Dempster - Setting the leaf-forms on the small anvil
And the finished pieces which I had ground and polished. Miss V designed the embellishments for the pieces; and decided who would get which piece. The pendant with the purple crystals was for her mum; the smaller pendant with the purple, pink and blue crystals was for her; and the plain earrings would be a gift for a family member back home in Jakarta.

©2014 Fiona Dempster  - Two pendants and a pair of earrings
This was the first time Miss V had worked with metal working tools and the first time she had contributed to the creation of metal pieces. Pretty good outcome I think.

Friday, December 26, 2014

After all it is Friday

Hoping everyone is having a relaxed holiday time. Fiona and I are between visitors. The cleaning and washing has been done so a couple of hours can be had in the garage-studio.

©2014 Barry Smith - Cut silver-plated trays
Recently the trays below were delivered to me - they were Meg's mum's small trays. As no one in the family really wanted then as they were but wanted some thing of  grandmother's and now great grandmother's she asked could I recycle all the trays into a stash of useful, inspirational and jewellery pieces.

©2014 Barry Smith - Upcycling old silver-plated trays
I agreed to make as many pieces as I could from the trays and their handles. The starting point of course is cutting them up. The photo below shows circles for bowls (Starburst and Daily Words); and strips for  pate knives.

Pieces to be used for Daily Word Leaves.

Ornate edges for pendants and brooches I think.

Handles for jewellery - bracelets I think.

And odds and ends - use still to be determined.

All in all a pretty good cutting outcome. I will keep all the pieces in a box - I won't add in additional metal as I want these to treasured as family memories.

The next lot of visitors should be here soon so time to make final preparations.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve - Wednesday Walk

A wee post to wish all a very happy Christmas and New Year holiday time - may we all find time for relaxation, giving, receiving, joy and peace. May we have time with and for family, friends and community. May 2015 bring a little more light and peace to the world.

It is light very early these days so the boring Wednesday morning walk is bathed in light. And again today nature did not disappoint with its colours and attention to detail.

I look forward to many more morning walks to bring peace to the soul and joy to the eyes.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mountains - a Sketchbook

As indicated in my Friday post, Fiona and I had started our Sketchbooks that needed to be in the US by the end of January 2015.  Well we did get to finish them over the weekend. My book has come out better than I thought because of a design input from Fiona and single page stitching of the leaves by Fiona.

Fiona re-read the Sketchbook instructions and we realised I needed to include the identifying bar code etc on they back cover - in the end we decided to include the whole back and front cover and cut out a window for the stamped word Mountains on the front cover.

As you can see from the photos below the book has come together well - I'm pleased with it.

©2014 Barry Smith - Mountains Sketchbook - covers mounted to the aluminium covers and stitched by Fiona
©2014 Barry Smith - Mountains Sketchbook - covers mounted to the aluminium covers and stitched by Fiona
©2014 Barry Smith - Mountains Sketchbook - 5 leaves with mountain prints mounted
©2014 Barry Smith - Mountains Sketchbook - 5 leaves with mountain prints mounted - slight ben in the stamped page - metal tension
©2014 Barry Smith - Mountains Sketchbook - 5 leaves with mountain prints mounted
It is great to have another artist as a one's partner - the design input and also the occasional practical assistance is really valued.

Our Sketchbooks need to be posted tomorrow so we have got them completed just in time.

Friday, December 19, 2014


This time 12 months ago Fiona and I were experiencing the lead up to a white Christmas in NYC. What a contrast this year - beautiful to be home on the mountain but lots of heat.

Whilst we were in NY we bought our books for the Sketchbook Project. We decided we would submit our books as part of the 2015 collection. Well has time rushed by - we are due to post our project books now or the beginning of January so they make it there in time for the 2015 cut off - at the end of January 2015.

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So today had to be the day we started  our books and hopefully finish them over the weekend - amidst lots of Christmas lead up stuff. Any way I chose the theme Mountains from that offered by the Sketchbook organisers. As you can see from the photo below I intend to use mountain rested prints I have made.

©2014 Barry Smith - Mountain prints to be used in my book
These will be attached to aluminium book leaves.

©2014 Barry Smith - Book leaves cut and drilled
One page will have the quote "The pull of the mountain is like gravity for the soul."

©2014 Barry Smith - Quote stamped on page 5 of the book
I have got to the stage where the prints are cut and attached. I have asked Fiona would she combine book leaves with her single page binding - she said yes - I can't stitch. But that will have to wait until the weekend as I had to whipsnip weeds down the back; and now it is time for dinner and a glass or two of red.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Birds, bees and blossoms

The warm weather we have been having combined with the rain from storms has added to the riot of colour and activity seen on my early morning walks. All the flowers etc are on the verge- footpaths - I never have to venture more than a metre or so from the Treehaven Way bitumen.

© 2014 Barry Smith - Detail of a weed - love the glow below the stamen
The bees in the small flowers that pop up each year in the roadside drain.

©2014 Barry Smith - getting right in there to get the good stuff
And the Magpies that seem to control the northern end of Treehaven Way.

©2014 - This is my turf
Colour that greets me on my journey; and insect action on the blossoms - so the bees aren't the only ones out for the goodies the blossoms offer.

And the bees in the neighbourhood hives - so active even a 6am in the morning - note the bee laden with pollen.
©2014 Barry Smith - As they say  - busy bees
I rejoice in each of my walks.