Friday, January 30, 2015

Treasures transformed

©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of one of the bowls and leaves from the family treasures
Sometime ago I indicated that I was asked to transform some family treasures into art and jewellery. Meg C said that the 5 small trays she was giving me to work with were her grandmother's.

©2015 Barry Smith - The five small silver-plated trays handed down from Meg's grandmother 
Her mother had handed them down to her and she wanted to hand them down to her 2 daughters. But like most silver-plated trays etc few people want to clean them and there are often not the occasions to use them - so they were just stored away.

My brief was:

  • to make as many pieces as I could minimising the waste of metal; 
  • using only the metal from the trays; 
  • keeping in mind that there were three adult women who would share in the pieces produced; and 
  • that the pieces would have forms or functions that would encourage the family members to use the pieces and so continue to treasure the energy and pieces handed down in the family from Meg C's grandmother.

The transformation process always starts with cutting up the objects for their respective uses.

©2015 Barry Smith - Strips cut for pate knives and disks for bowls
©2015 Barry Smith - Offcuts for leaf words, brooches and pendants
©2015 Barry Smith - Handles and feet for bracelets 
In the the end, with a bit of planning and judicious cutting, I created the treasure trove of pieces below. In all there are 52 pieces counting all the leaf forms - including a leaf form from a broken pate knife.

©2015 Barry Smith - Five trays transformed in living family treasure trove
Where possible I made sets of three - not always exactly the same as metal features etc. Sometimes I only had two matching offcuts from a tray to incorporate into pieces.

So there are three sets of Daily Word Leaves.

©2015 Barry Smith - Daily Word Leaf sets
©2015 Barry Smith - Daily Word Leaf set
Three flip pendants.

©2015 Barry Smith - Pendants from tray edges
Three brooches.

©2015 Barry Smith Brooches from tray handles,  edges and feet (compressed into buttons)
Three sets of earrings.

©2015 Barry Smith Earrings from tray handle and edges
Three spiral bracelets.

©2015 Barry Smith - Spiral bracelets from tray handles
Five starburst bowls and five fragment bowls.

©2015 Barry Smith - Starburst bowls from base of trays - some metal split and so was repaired using rivets
©2015 Barry Smith - Five fragment bowls pressed from the rounded edges of a thick metal tray
Four pate knives.

©2015 Barry Smith - Pate knives from edge of thick metal tray - there were five but one snapped in the forming process and had to be recycled into other bits.
And an extra pendant out of the metal remnants.

©2015 Barry Smith - Couldn't waste that last foot from the tray
Quite a number a variety of daily pieces to be treasured and used for a variety of purposes in a variety situations. Many more ways to honour a grandmother and a great grandmother on a daily basis. And the smaller pieces are easier to maintain and hopefully hand on.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

About lightning clouds and mini webs

Bit of a contrast in this post. Very big and wild thunder clouds over the valley; and a total breakout out of mini spiders' webs on the wire on the decks - revealed by the rain from the storm.

Fiona drew my attention to the magnificent cloud formation below.

©2015 Barry Smith - Spectacular sunset thunder cloud
It got darker as the sun went down and it built towards a storm.

©2015 Barry Smith - Dark and cranulated with zoom and dark
I managed to capture a couple of lightning flares - luck really.

©2015 Barry Smith - Lightning burst in the centre of the cloud
©2015 Barry Smith - Yet another burst
And emphasised the lightning using an app.

©2015 Barry Smith - Looks good in purple
©2015 Barry Smith - Zoom and solarising
There were (still are) hundreds of small webs on the railing wires on the southern decks - all about 75-100mm in diameter - with baby spiders. Cleaning them off will be a job for a dry day - but for now spiders and humans share the space; and we can appreciate the delicate magic of the weaving - though some of it is a little erratic. Photographed with a cloud whiteout over the valley below.

©2015 Barry Smith - Which way to go next? 
©2015 Barry Smith - Got the shape right but a bit flimsy
©2015 Barry Smith _ I think I might try the bowl shape

©2015 Barry Smith - Just hanging my net
©2015 Barry Smith - Spent too much time on it and now caught in the open!!!
All photos shot with the trusty iPhone - where would I be without it!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

And then there were five

©2015 Barry Smith - Section of a Steampunk Lamp assemblage
Over the last three days I have put quite a bit of effort into clearing my bench of brass and copper bits and pieces. They of course were there so I could eyeball them to make choices to create a series of Steampunk influenced lamps that just might find a home in the fit out of a new business.

I completed four more assemblages that are the bodies of four lamps: two larger ones; and two smaller ones. Because I only had bigger Edison globes and only a couple more wire-plug fittings I decided to wire up and fire up the bigger lamps. The wiring and globes for the smaller ones will need to wait a bother time.

Photos of the bigger lamps. One made from another welding torch, recycled brass plate and ceramic and brass light fitting from Prague  (with chain operated switch); and one from a cylinder of a pump, a brass shower arm and ceramic and brass light fitting. These lamps stand about 500-550mm in height.

©2015 Barry Smith - Welding torch Steampunk Lamp
©2015 Barry Smith - Welding torch Steampunk Lamp
©2015 Barry Smith - Pump cylinder Steampunk Lamp
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of copper and brass cylinder - very industrial
©2015 Barry Smith - Pump cylinder Steampunk Lamp
The first of the bigger lamps with a different globe - I think it might be a better fit in terms of balance and design.

©2015 Barry Smith _ Torch lamp with squatter globe
And the smaller ones - both made from many bits and pieces. The smaller lamps are about 180-200mm in height.
©2015 Barry Smith - Lots of knobs and taps in this Steampunk lamp assemblage
©2015 Barry Smith - Lots of knobs and taps in this Steampunk lamp assemblage - small ceramic and brass light fitting
©2015 Barry Smith - Its about pressure and pipes in this Steampunk lamp assemblage
©2015 Barry Smith - Its about pressure and pipes in this Steampunk lamp assemblage
The smaller lamps would make good reading lamps; and the bigger ones would give good tight to a room. The smaller ones are my favourites.

The remaining brass and copper bits and pieces have now been stored away.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Smelting and using the metal

Art is not always about the making. Sometimes it is in the preparation; the ordering of materials; the acquiring of tools etc. Today has seen me ordering sheet metal and steel rod for elements of a couple of projects; attempting to order some equipment; taking delivery of some recycled silverware; and making a Steampunk Lamp (not yet polished).

During the week I spent four days at an art institute learning the art of recycling scrap silver; forming useable sheets and rods from the smelted metal; using the silver plate and rod to make a few pieces; and learning about some sustainable and non toxic processes and chemicals along the way.

In the following I want to share some photos of the smelting process; and the creation of plate and rod. I will then go on to share a few photos of the pieces I made from some of the silver we smelted. I also took along some old worn silver coins that I also smelted to create some coin-sliver plate that I will use at home. We were taught by a silver-smith Claire Poppi.

Setting up the cast-iron mould.

©2015 Barry Smith - Claire setting up the casting mould.
Melting  the recycled 925 silver which is mixed with new silver scraps..

©2015 - Lots of heat - took about 5 minutes to melt 60+ grams.
©2015 Barry Smith - Beautiful molten blob of silver - lovely zoom shot with the iPhone
The crucible after the pour. We did 6 smelts and pours.

©2015 Barry Smith - The crucible still glows red hot after the pour.
Breaking out a 925 silver ingot.

©2015 Barry Smith - 60+  gram ingot of pure 925 silver
The coin-silver ingot cooling; and then cleaned (pickled). The coin-silver is probably about 60-80% pure silver.

©2015 Barry Smith - My coin silver ingot - also about 60 grams
©2015 Barry Smith - Clean coin-silver ingot
Making wire - drawing square rod rolled earlier in the mill. I cut off a piece of the square rod for later use in making a twist ring.
©2015 Barry Smith - Claire demonstrates wire drawing
Coin ingot after rolling in a hand operated plate rolling mill. All the ingots looked similar to this after rolling down from about 5mm thickness to about 1mm.

©2015 Barry Smith - Rolled coin-silver
Rings made from some plate and square rod. Fiona and her mum scored one each

©2015 Fiona Dempster - Two twist rings - one from smelted square rod and one from smelted silver
A couple of pendants made from recycled silver. I added a piece of pearl shell from home to the highly polished piece. And the second one has been pickled in citric acid but not yet finished.

©2015 Fiona Dempster - 1mm thick back of the pendant made from a piece of rolled smelted 925 silver - natural rolled form about 15mm wide and 50+mm long
©2015 Fiona Dempster - Pendant made from a piece of rolled smelted silver - natural rolled form about 30mm wide and 60+mm long
And my coin-silver straightened and cleaned - ready for use.

©2015 Fiona Dempster - Natural form of the end of my coin-silver plate 

A very enjoyable week I learnt a lot. Now I must go and make a roast pumpkin and blue cheese risotto to go with the red wine.