Sunday, February 8, 2015


©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of cover of the original Futility - coat button and bullet lead
As readers of this blog know Fiona and I, along with Susan, Helen and Olive, had artists'  books exhibited in the Pieces for Peace 14-18 Exhibition in Ypres, Belgium.

©2015 Barry Smith - Original of Futility just after is was assembled
The books have come home; and Fiona, Susan Helen and my books are to be exhibited in the Redland Art Galley and Caloundra Art Gallery. The tricky part is that the books needed to be exhibited in the two galleries at the same time (end of March). The solution was for the 4 of us to supply an 'edition variant' of their books so that two versions of the books could be displayed at the same time. The originals to be exhibited in Redland; and the variants to be exhibited in Caloundra.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been making my pages (including stamping the lines from poems by Wilfred Owen, Vance Palmer and John McCrae) and adding patina to my brass covers to create my 'edition variant' of Futility. Why is it called Futility? Simple - it is about the futility of war; it does not achieve true peace.

©2015 Barry Smith - Lines from John McCrae's Poem In Flanders Fields stamped into the metal
Today I assembled the various elements of the book.

Clamps holding pages and covers so they can be drilled and riveted.

©2015 Barry Smith - Clamps holding pages and covers so they can be drilled and riveted.
The finished product.
©2015 Barry Smith - Futility - version two
The old meets the new.

©2015 Barry Smith - 'Spines' of the the two versions meet over the drilling block 
©2015 Barry Smith - Futility version 1 and 2
Few photos of the new variant and both together.

©2015 Barry Smith - Stamped pages
©2015 Barry Smith - Stamped pages
©2015 Barry Smith - Looking down at the pages of the two versions of Futility.
The variant has turned out well; has a real poignancy about it; and continues to tell the story of the futility of war. But, though it has a brass button, bullet casing and bullet 'lead' from 14-14 and the fields around Ypres as does the original version, the variant version does not have the unique history and material of the original.


  1. Really great to see your book with the original Barry. How tragic it is that the war to end all wars was so futile and nothing much has been learnt 100 years on.

  2. Lovely idea for you all to make variants to show together at Caloundra. This variant of yours is a great success, Barry! Peace to you and Fiona.

  3. Love to see them in the flesh, (so to speak!)

  4. Love the new as much as the old Barry. The photos of them together are wonderful and a great record to have too. Good name too - Futility.

  5. H, C, P & SB - thanks for visiting and commenting on this peace effort. H - thanks - and yes we don't seem to have learnt much at all. C - thanks - the variants will give us all the opportunity to get the peace message out a little more. P - and to hold them and feel the gravity of them - one day. SB - the new one turned out well - though not made out of the more historic objects. Futility does say it all. All - peace. B


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