Friday, May 30, 2014

Unfinished on Friday

As is often the case 'on the block' the day has been quite full. After our coffee in town earlier today I had a load (3 cubic m) of river stones delivered for spreading in the drain beside our driveway; which I'm widening and edging. It rained. I worked with a guy with a mini skid steer machine to spread the stone. About 1.5 hours later it was completely done. And the rain was useful as it washed the mud off the stones.

©2014 Barry Smith - Metal for Peace Leaves - stamped and ready for folding
Today's tasks in the garage-studio was to: make a stash of leaf letter openers and peace leaves as I was totally out of stock after selling 7 LLOs and 3 silver plated leaves during the week; finish opening some brass and copper leaves that have been on the bench for ages; and do a test run on some metal linked to a possible commission.

So the metal (stainless steel, aluminium, silver-plated copper and silver) were all hammered but not ground or polished.

©2014 Barry Smith - Metal test - hammering flat metal
The leaf letter openers and peace leaves were folded, cut, hammered and unfolded but not ground or polished.

©2014 Barry Smith - Five LLOs in the rough & one busted LLO
©2014 Barry Smith - Seven Peace Leaves on the bench
And the 30 copper and brass leaves were open-end but not ground or polished.

©2014 Barry Smith - 30 copper and brass leaf forms ready for the polisher
So you can see why I titled this blog post -  "Unfinished on Friday". But still quite a bit of progress; and satisfaction about being in the studio after being away in Melbourne all week for work-work.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


On the terraces at the back of our house we have about 50 Camellia bushes. All started life about 6 years ago as wee plants; and now they are 2m tall. Maybe because we have had a dryer wet season this year we have had a great abundance of flowers. We planted white, pink-white, pink and red-pink bushes moving from white to red-pink as the bushes are spaced away from the stone river through the terraces.

So many petals falling like coloured snow on the blue stone of the terraces.

And such a display of colour by the individual bushes and flowers.

One of the buses has a beautiful bird's nest in it; and as you can see from the last photo the bees also love the flowers. The photos were taken with the iPhone.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Meditation 'bells'

Back in early January I made a suspended meditation bell from an old thick walled goblet and other bits.

This weekend I have made a series of three meditation bells or gongs from the gongs of old clocks. These rods in these gongs are tuned rods - beautiful mellow gong sounds. Each of the gongs required a slightly different assemblage approach - though in all I have used the same thick recycled brass plate base cut to the same rectangular size. The strikers for ringing the 'bells' are made from rods out of mini pump push rods.

©2014 Barry Smith - Three meditation bells (gongs)

There is a four rod bell-gong - with a downward angle.

©2014 Barry Smith - Four rod bell-gong
©2014 Barry Smith - Four rod bell-gong
A three rod bell-gong (was 5 rods but two were damagd) on a single metal rod post.

©2014 Barry Smith - Three rod bell-gong
©2014 Barry Smith - Three rod bell-gong
And a two rod bell-gong - I made a special brass bracket to hold the wrought iron base of this bell-gong.

©2014 Barry Smith - Two rod bell-gong
©2014 Barry Smith - Two rod bell-gong
In my mind all these bell-gongs are small assemblage table sculptural pieces. The four rod bell-gong is my favourite - I like both the form and sound of this meditation bell-gong.

I have been making a few different pieces lately in preparation for our 601 mvr Open Studio weekend on 14-15 June - only three weeks away. I want to have a range of things in our studio-gallery to show visitors the variety in my work.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wild things ….

As part of my sorting the studio-garage I have also been dismantling various found and gifted objects including some old clock bodies.

©2014 Barry Smith - Detail of a Steampunk influenced bowl
Most old larger clocks have a brass plate at the front and back of the mechanism - the clock chassis. The availability of the plates and clock pieces prompted me to create a few wild Steampunk influenced bowls. The two brass plates I used were about 1-1.5mm thick - quite stiff and took a bit of hammering to form the bowls. I also hammered (curved) all the other pieces and gears to fit the curve of the bowls.

I got the three bowls roughly completed - they all required adjustments (some design elements don't quite work); and they need further grinding and polishing to take the rough edges and improve the circular nature of them.

©2014 Barry Smith - Three Steampunk influenced bowls - still a bit rough
The one below is the wildest - it not only has two plates but also a solid face, gong hammers, gears, and a little spring loaded whirligig that still works if you give it a little nudge.

©2014 Barry Smith - Hammers of time
©2014 Barry Smith - Detail of the whirligig gear thing
The next one is created using part of an aluminium display board that was used for watches. The focus of this bowl is on gears - both bike and clock.

©2014 Barry Smith - Gears of time
The bowl has a brass clock plate, watch bodies, gears, a clock levelling gear, feet off a silver plated tray and clock hands.

©2014 Barry Smith - Hands of time
The bowl section in each of the bowls is about110-120mm in diameter. All the pieces are riveted together with copper rivets. They can all be used to hold stuff - but given the layers of gears etc I'm not sure you'd get a lot into them Bur they are fun and would make both a talking point and a quirky art piece.

Fiona is about to serve a glass of bubbles and some of our macadamia nuts whilst I finish this post - sound good to me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sculpture on the block

©2014 Barry Smith - Nature's installation in one of my pieces
Over the weekend Fiona and I moved the organ into place down between the Mango trees; and moved a bit of our 3D pieces around the block; or just cleared the area so one could now see them more clearly.

I took photos of the pieces at dawn today - soft light - a hint of darkness still.

Some of the pieces are shown below.

©2014 Barry Smith - Organ in position but yet to add the seat etc

©2014 Barry Smith - Organ in position but yet to add the seat etc
©2013 Barry Smith SZQ's Iris plus a fence post and rust thingy
©2014 Barry Smith - Fiona's rusted fabric pieces installed on a weathered gate post
©2014 Barry Smith - Rust and wood amidst the Agaves 
©2014 Barry Smith - A gathering of posts
©2014 Barry Smith - Looking to the right of the front of the house
©2014 Barry Smith - Looking to the right of the front of the house
©2014 Barry Smith - Lena hiding under the ferns and bamboo
©2014 Barry Smith - Foil flowers re-installed
©2014 Barry Smith - A rust folly amidst the Agave
Good to see old friends and a couple of new pieces.

©2014 Clouds and mountain layers in the morning
And above shows the lakes of cloud in the valley below.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Studio control

Much of my art time over the weekend was dedicated to art on the block or sorting my studio-garage space.  The art on the block included installing the organ into position between the mango trees (heavy work for Fiona and I but it looks good in place); and moving various pieces of sculpture into new positions so we can appreciate them - but I'll cover that another time.

I did get time to complete the Steampunk influenced pen-brush holder I started on Friday.

©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk influenced pen-brush holder
©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk influenced pen-brush holder
©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk influenced pen-brush holder
As you can see the old blowtorch has polished up well and the two dividers ensure the pens are held in place. In the last photo you can see how the dividers are held by a bolt at the top and the resin at the bottom. The resin also protests the pens.

©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk influenced pen-brush holder
And this is how the studio-garage looks when almost everything is up off the floor and into storage containers. I went from two sets of shelves to four and increased the number of draws by heaps.

It now means I will have a better chance of getting on with creating. Studio control is a good feeling. I can now walk around my table of goodies.

Friday, May 16, 2014

This and that

Today included some starts and some finishes.  In the finishing department I finished: a small bowl; my Steampunk lamp; and a ladle for Fiona. In the starting department I started: a Steampunk pen-brush holder; and a bunch of brass and copper leaves for an up coming event.

The bowl was made from a small ornate plate (about 12-15cm in diameter) with a pressed pattern of flowers and leaves. I sweated the base off and after annealing it I sunk it, hammered the inside on the anvil and them planished the back on a stake. The end product I was going for was a simple beautiful hammered bowl in which you could still see the underlying original pressed pattern.

©2014 Barry Smith - Re-worked brass platter
©2014 Barry Smith - Re-worked brass platter
I finished the Steampunk lamp by adding some additional decorative bits, wiring it up and testing it. And yes it does work; and no nothing shorted out. I will however have it fully checked by a licensed electrician.

©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk lamp
©2014 Barry Smith - Steampunk lamp
Recently Fiona offered up a ladle I had given her. A friend wanted a present urgently and wanted a ladle with interest. Today I made a similar ladle. Note the company mark on the soldering iron head - JS. We think not means 'just a soup ladle'.

©2014 Barry Smith - Fiona's new ladle
©2014 Barry Smith - Fiona's new ladle
The Steampunk pen-brush holder is being made from a discarded blowtorch. I intend to have a sealed off section on either side of the blowtorch element to hold the pens-brushes. I could not finish this piece off as I have set the copper sides of sealed section in cold epoxy - which will probably take a day or two to set.

©2014 Barry Smith - Dismantled grungy blowtorch
©2014 Barry Smith - Polished parts in the process of assemblage
And at the end of the day I finished cutting and forming a stash of leaves. The photo shows the leaves drying on the annealing pit.

©2014 Barry Smith - Laf forms in the making
Looking back I did get quite a few bits and pieces done on this art Friday. Time now to think about creating a couple of pizzas to be accompanied by a glass of red.