Sunday, March 30, 2014

Little treasures and other gifts

The weekend has been one of gifts. Today is Fiona's birthday. Because she is: a lover of books certain peace sayings; and multiples - I decided to make her a small peace book installation for her birthday. The metal was cut from a worn silver plated brass tray - lovely textured and golden highlights as you can see from the photos below. The larger book is about 8cm high and 5cm wide; the small upright book is 6cm high and 4 wide; and the landscape book is 4cm high and 6cm wide.

©2014 Barry Smith - Small book installation for Fiona
©2014 Barry Smith - Small book installation for Fiona - top down view
The larger book has peace is every step stamped in it; the smaller upright book has the words seek choose, dream and be peace; and the small landscape book simply says imagine peace.

©2014 Barry Smith - Small landscape book - imagine peace
The second gift of the weekend was spending yesterday with Fiona, Fiona's brother (Al) and his wife (Lorraine) and Fiona's dad (Graham) building the three slat walls under the steps and house of Fiona's folk: and cutting the large side hedge (done by Fiona and Lorraine). It was an all day job but the end results were worth it.

©2014 Fiona Dempster - Al and Barry - slats almost completed
And of course the other gift was from nature - beautiful early morning clouds in the valley and soft morning light.

©20143 Barry Smith - Puddles of clouds in the valley
A weekend full of the gifts of life and love - way to go.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Inspirational bowls and other matters

Didn't get to do actual hands on art work today but I can report on some bits and pieces I have done recently - indoors from the rain.

 One of the themes that runs through my work is about finding stillness and focal points in our busy lives. My Daily Word sets (bowls and words) are made as an aid to creating a focus for each day of the week. Recently Robyn (Art Propelled) said that I send my "leaves into the world like little ambassadors, spreading peace and goodwill".  This got me thinking about my Daily Words - why would I not create leaves that carry the words. So inspired by Robyn I have made a Daily Words set with leaves and words - and I like it.

©2014 Barry Smith - Daily Word Leaves  - Serenity
As always the leaves started out from fairly rough looking metal.

©2014 Barry Smith - Daily Word Leaves  - the start
And the formed leaves and bowl looked anything but beautiful.

©2014 Barry Smith - Daily Words - bowl and word leaves - humble beginning
But a bit of manipulation, cutting and polishing has revealed the inner beauty.

©2014 Barry Smith - Daily Words - leaf forms
Some time ago I made a pair of bowls from very thick, worn butter dishes - they were a little tough to form but they have the most beautiful chime - they are not singing bowls but rather beautiful chiming bowls - I'm on the hunt for more of those old, small and thick butter dishes from days gone by.

©2014 Barry Smith - Chiming bowl - formerly a butter dish
©2014 Barry Smith - A pair of chiming bowls
I was tidying my jewellery making area and realised I had a couple of unfinished projects: converting a pair of Fiona's dad's cuff links into a pendant for her mum; and finishing a set of earrings using slices of brass from and old window winder. The results are shown below.

©2014 Barry Smith - Opal cufflink pendant
©2014 Barry Smith - Brass window winder and crystal earring drops
And whilst I did not get to do hands on art today I did: spend some time showing an interested local business person what I do; Fiona and I did more work on our block; and we delivered the pendant to Fiona's mum.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How does it happen?

When I started out doing metalworking six or so years ago I began with a few basic panel beating tools and my home made benches. But over time it is funny how we as artists add to our tools whether they be brushes, rollers, hammers or pencils.

A couple of days ago I suddenly noticed that my various piles of tools had grown. As you can see my tools are not neatly on peg boards or in racks; but they are in their own separate piles.

Like the hammer pile - how did I get so many? But the strange thing is as my work has growing in diversity and complexity I have added hammers -  I have 20-25 hammers now; and yes I use them all at different times for different jobs.

And what would you do without a stash of metal cutting shears and pliers etc?

Oh yes and there are the punches, blades, scribing tools, riveting tools, rulers and squares etc.

And lurking near the gas bottles and annealing areas are the different stakes. I use vice held stakes - both in the inside and outside vise - yes there are two vises. Some of stakes are homemade and some are just metal objects like car towballs. Oh - more hammers!!!

But as you can see from the tools themselves they are well worn working tools.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend bits and pieces

The weekend was given over to progressing a number of projects: the Steampunk Lamp; our decks; and slatting the underneath of Fiona's folks' house.

I added a few bits to the lamp design; and moved a few other elements around. The photo below shows that I'm ready to assemble the lot now that I have completed the drilling, threading, grinding and polishing.

©2014 Barry Smith - Bits polished and ready for assembling.
And this is what it looks like now that it is assembled. I did not have a lot of time to work on it today so left the final wiring and lighting up until later in the week - I don't want to rush it and fry myself. The top section of the lamp is wired. I need to get a smaller round light bulb.

©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk table lamp - polished
©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk table lamp - polished
©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk table lamp - polished - detail
I got the hand rails and decking of the southern deck, off our bedroom, sanded and painted; and as you can see our Camellias, bottom left, have started to blossom like crazy.

©2014 Barry Smith - bedroom deck looking south - with Camellias
The drop posts for the slats at Fiona's folks are bolted and cemented in place after a mornings work. We will put up the slats next weekend.

©2014 Barry Smith - Posts for slats - next Saturday's job
So you can see that creativity took many forms again this weekend.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Steampunk lamp in the making

I'm always a bit surprised when I get to Friday night to see that the day has been full of many things. Today has been no different so I should not be surprised: a morning of community related meetings: getting stuff ready to do a job over at Fiona's folks tomorrow morning (it involves cement); and then into the studio-garage this afternoon.

But added to the mix was a little surprise in my quenching bucket - at first I thought the larger lizard had expired but I found once I drained off the water and gave it time it revived - that was a good start to the afternoon. The lizard is about 35-40cm long.

©2014 Barry Smith - Large lizard recovering in empty quenching bucket
Then I cut up footing metal in preparation for the job tomorrow.

©2014 Barry Smith - why not create a bit of a pattern with the post footing metal!!!
On to the planned activity for this afternoon - begin assembling a Steampunk bedside or desk lamp. So got together odds and end and started the process.

©2014 Barry Smith - Initial stash for the lamp - some bits rejected and others added along the way
By sundown I had get the rudimentary shape of the lamp together. This has included making lots of new internal and external threads to bolt the pieces together.

©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk lamp takes shape
©2014 Barry Smith - Riveted lampshade etc
©2014 Barry Smith - Side view of the lamp in progress
©2014 Barry Smith - Front view of lamp in progress
Fiona asked if it would actually work - the answer is yes - I think. I deconstructed a lamp I bought from a garage sale so I will use the electrics (carefully) from that to turn it into an actual lamp. And of source I will test it very cautiously. Off to make pizzas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Grabbing time

Sometimes it is not so easy to grab time in the garage-studio to create. So when there are only small stretches of time available I try to use it to progress work that I have on the go. This week it meant progressing the Ladles (not ladies VA) that are to go into Maleny Additions store.

Yesterday I managed to get enough time to attach (rivet) handles to four ladles; and polish them. The handles on these four ladles were rescued from some of the trays I bought back from Tasmania. All the bowls of the ladles are made from recycled silver plated copper or EPNS cut from discarded serving trays.

©2014 Barry Smith - Ladles - two medium shallow and two small deep
I'm a bit fond of the wee ladles - they cry out for: serving chocolate sauce; or serving olives; or ladling balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

©2014 Barry Smith - Ladles - chocolate sauce or olives anyone? 
©2014 Barry Smith - Small ladle with spiral handle
And I have five other handles ready to go - shaped, drilled and polished - four are formed from brass rod and one from a tray handle.

©2014 Barry Smith - Ladle handle - ready to rivet
I hope to finish the stash of ladles and get them into Maleny Additions early next week.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rust and other matters

Our weekend has been given over to maintenance on the block and house - lots of pressure cleaning by Fiona, weed-snipping and painting for me.

One always gets the chance to be distracted by the rust table when your doing other jobs. The rust shall be shared with Fiona - I believe it is now our rust bank.

©2014 Barry Smith - Delicious rusted cogs on the rusting table
©2014 Barry Smith - Rusting saddles, screws and washers on the rusting table
©2014 Barry Smith - Delicious rusted cogs on the rusting table
One other job was cutting up a plank and glueing reinforcing rod into the cut down bits so they can be installed (cemented into the ground) at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre. Lucky there was a bit of rod in the rust bank.

©2014 Barry Smith - Wood for the MNC Indigenous Yarning Circle story board
©2014 Barry Smith - Wood for the MNC Indigenous Yarning Circle story board
And go course there was the painting in the landscape  - done to the sounds of calming music. Not so hard to do in the shade and with a gorgeous sky.

©2014 Barry Smith - Painting the rails and deck boards of the western deck
©2014 Barry Smith - All clean, painted and shiny again
We visited my brother and sister-in-law in Townsville - she had lost one of the drops of a "found" bow earring - I knew they were one offs - so offered to show her a selection of other possible "found" pieces.

©2014 Barry Smith - Earring drops cut from trays and handles
A very good weekend of taking steps to regain control of our block and house.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Something new & something old

When Fiona and I went to Portland (Oregon) in December last year I spent a day with Greg Wilbur - master metalsmith. I wanted him to check my Pod metal work; and give me instructions on how to go beyond the pod form to create sacred water container forms.

©2014 Barry Smith - Sacred water vessel
A few weeks ago I started to create a form that went beyond the pod. The photo below shows where I had got to - looks like an ugly slug.

©2014 Barry Smith - Going beyond the Pod
Today I decided to finish this metal trial. After many cycles of heating and hammering I was getting the shape going. But there was one piece of Greg's advice that I could not quite grasp at the time and needed to test. I pushed the metal both forwards from and back towards the pod form.

©2014 Barry Smith - Going beyond the Pod
This was ok for one or two cycles to get the shape going; but too much repetition made the metal in the neck thin and it began to split - so I ceased doing that; and turned the form into a very lovely organic pouring vessel.  

©20124 Barry Smith - Vessel in the rough
©20124 Barry Smith - Vessel in the rough
©20124 Barry Smith - Vessel - polished
So I have learnt from this trial; and hopefully will improve my skills as I do more of these forms. And because one can't just do one piece of work I decided to make some small raised bowls from the copper bases of wine goblets - in photo below.

©2014 Barry Smith - Annealed copper goblet bases
After about 5 cycles of heating and hammering they were taking shape.

©2014 Barry Smith - Small copper bowls take shape
With a bit of hammer finishing they were good to go.

©2014 Barry Smith - Small copper bowls - ready for grinding and polishing
And after a grind and then a polish with a brass wire wheel they are ready for my shop.

©2014 Barry Smith - A beautiful trio of small copper bowls.
©2014 Barry Smith - A beautiful trio of small copper bowls.
So Friday has been a good art day - I have learnt something new; and created something from old and discarded stuff.