Sunday, February 28, 2016

Life on the block

This weekend was not about making - rather it was about doing things that contribute to our life on the block including our art life.

On Friday we spent all day travelling and loading and unloading beautiful letterpress trays, type and cabinet that Fiona had purchased -n a 'town' about 2 hours drive away.

©2016 Barry Smith - Gorgeous heavy cast-iron book press
Saturday morning was about picking up the book press above that had been gifted to us - we thanked the woman who gave it to us with a couple of small art pieces. The press has made its way over to my studio-garage - it will encourage me to get back to a bit of bookbinding and journal making.

I spent a bit of time sanding and oiling Fiona's 'new' type cabinet. As you can see the cabinet was very dirty; but is now clean without removing the marks etc that are the history of the piece - it is very old. Fiona has spent much of the weekend sorting type and putting the trays back into the cabinet - she has a veritable treasure trove of type now.

©2016 Barry Smith - Type cabinet - seen cleaner days.

©2016 Barry Smith - Type cabinet looking a little more loved
When we we were off picking up the letterpress stuff Fiona's dad was keen to visit a big orchid nursery in the area of the town we visited. Fiona and I ended up with 12 small orchids. I managed to attach these to offcuts of the Hairy Oak I cut about a week ago on the band saw. They turned out well as you can see below - all now attached to trees on the shady terraces below the house.

©2016 Barry Smith - Baby orchids ready to take their chance on the block.
And we were running out of 601mvr coffee so it was time to husk some beans. Ended up with about 1-1.5kg of green beans - ready for roasting. I'm sure the coffee will help with creative thinking and doing.

©2016 Barry Smith  - Dried 601mvr coffee beans ready for husking - last year's crop
©2016 Barry Smith - Once through the hand operated husker
©2016 Barry Smith - After a couple more rubbings and winnowings
©2016 Barry Smith - The Husks - lovely texture and colour
All in all a varied weekend.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Little lights - Artisan Lamps that is

©2016 Barry Smith - Looking down on the globe of a lamp made from gas-light bits and pieces
I knew that today (Friday) was going to be dedicated to our art life; but not in the garage-studio. We had set the whole day aside to collect a heap of letterpress type, type draws, another small press etc; but I'm sure Fiona will post on that down the track.

So in anticipation I decided to use yesterday afternoon to create a couple of little Artisan Lamps using some of the Hairy Oak timber I ripped; and a few of the decorative bits from the gaslight stash I bought recently.

As is my way the process starts with the putting together the bits that might work together on my garage-studio bench.

©2016 Barry Smith - Hairy Oak, antique gaslight fittings and vintage electric light fittings
Then its off to the grinding and polishing area over at the shed.

©2016 Barry Smith - All polished and drilled 
And back to the garage-studio to assemble the lamps; and of course test them out once they are wired.

©2016 Barry Smith - Assembled Artisan Lamp with new electric cable
©2016 Barry Smith - Assembled Artisan Lamp about 30cm tall including globe
©2016 Barry Smith - Assembled Artisan Lamp with new electric cable - note the difference in the flower like fittings
©2016 Barry Smith - Assembled Artisan Lamp - also about 30cm tall including globe
The lamps still need a last bit of sanding and some felt on the base and they are then ready to go to a good home. So a good Friday achievement on Thursday.

©2016 Barry Smith - Looking down on the lit globe of a lamp made from gas-light bits and pieces

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mist, moon and moulting

This post is quite eclectic.

We have had some misty mornings of late - this soft mist tends to collect beautifully on tiny spiders' webs that cling to the underside of the deck railings. I captured some shots (with the iPhone) of these delicate structures on Monday.

©2016 Barry Smith  - Suspended mist droplets on micro spider's web against a mist background
©2016 Barry Smith  - Multiple layers of tiny suspended mist droplets on micro spider's web against a mist background
©2016 Barry Smith  - A line of micro mist droplets on micro spider's web against a layer of droplets and a mist background
©2016 Barry Smith - The mist - droplet generator
The moon of course always captivates me - so a few photos taken with the Canon Powershot. Some photos taken early through the bushes, power lines and clouds in the evening a couple of nights ago; and a couple of shots very early in the morning.

©2016 Barry Smith - Almost looking through a tunnel to the moon - Lomandra seeds and spikes
©2016 Barry Smith - Lomandra seeds and spikes against the moon
©2016 Barry Smith - Weeds and the moon
©2016 Barry Smith - Power line across the moon
©2016 Barry Smith - Shadow of a cloud across the moon
©2016 Barry Smith - Crisp morning moon
©2016 Barry Smith - Crisp morning moon
And on my walk this morning my eye was drawn to a number of tiny feathers that were stuck to the damp roadway and dew covered grass - a little be or preening or jolting going on - but whatever lovely treasures to be seen in the fine detail.

©2016 Barry Smith - Galah feather?
©2016 Barry Smith - Down
©2016 Barry Smith - Feather caught by dew drops
Sometimes it is the tiny things that offer so much beauty - the eye can hardly see the details at time - but macro shots give another view of the micro world.

The valley this morning

©2016 Barry Smith - The valley

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ripping into timber

©2016 Barry Smith - Band saw blade and timber in late afternoon sun.
In the wood stash over at the shed we have had about 8 short lengths (200-250mm) of River Oak (also known as Hairy Oak because of its stringy bark) that someone gave us when they were moving about 6 years ago. It has just sat there waiting for me to saw it into useful shapes. I need some blocks for Artisan Lamps so I thought it was about time to wheel the bandsaw out and at least saw some of the blocks.

When I first started the task (Tuesday) I found the band saw drive belt had perished and simply snapped. I ordered a new belts and a couple of new blades - these arrived on Friday.

So today I managed to do the running repairs and saw four of the 8 lengths. One has to admire the detail of the grain of this timber. So I now have pieces ready for lamps - will of course cut up more over the next couple of weeks.

The ripping part

©2016 Barry Smith
©2016 Barry Smith
©2016 Barry Smith
And the blocks oiled to preserve them

©2016 Barry Smith
©2016 Barry Smith
©2016 Barry Smith
©2016 Barry Smith
Bark and timber offcuts for orchids

While I was at it I decided that I would cut some thinner pieces for small cheese boards - I'll see how they work out. If these turn out OK I will make more functional boards.

©2016 Barry Smith - Ready for sanding and then the table
It was good to reacquaint myself with the band saw - a useful piece of equipment I bought second hand some 5-6 years ago. Good to be able to produce my own timber from gifted and salvaged timber.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Responding to a jewellery request

©2016 Barry Smith - Watch bodies and parts - riveted, adorned, ground and polished - ready for assembly
A fellow artist bought a watch part pendant for a daughter at Christmas time - it was well received so why not complement it with watch part earrings. Requirements included: not too heavy; not too long; and not too many jangles.

I had sent my stock of watch part earrings to Jo St Baker Studio-gallery in Redcliffe a couple of weeks ago. I promised I would have a selection for consideration this afternoon (Friday). So you know what I was doing today.

Below are two groupings of earrings: those with whole watch bodies; and others made from watch parts.

©2016 Barry Smith - Watch body earrings - some showing the beauty of worn faces and others the beauty of the workings - but all are reversible of course.
©2016 Barry Smith - Watch part earrings - cut, riveted, adorned etc
A few photos of some of the pairs of earrings.

©2016 Barry Smith - Split cog earrings - about 35mm long.
©2016 Barry Smith - Watch base plate earrings
©2016 Barry Smith - Small split cog earrings (about 20-25mm long)
©2016 Barry Smith - Small - adjustment plates - fob-watches with rubies (about 20-25mm long)
©2016 Barry Smith - Watch body earrings - lot of history on the faces - about 30mm long including crystals
©2016 Barry Smith - Watch body earrings - beauty of the workings - about 30mm long including crystals
Must away to put the pieces in the studio-gallery shop for the client to make a choice. Then off for dinner with Fiona's dad - I believe baked fish and a crisp white wine!!!