Sunday, May 22, 2016

Very exciting - large freestanding etched books

©2016 Barry Smith  - Detail of etched front cover of one of the books with aluminium rivets
As you might be aware from my Friday blog post Fiona and I have been working together on a set of large freestanding outdoor artists' books. We agreed that we would both post on the books today - but I'm sure you'll agree that Fiona gives a different perspective.

We did the metal cutting, calligraphy and etching on Wednesday.

©2016 Barry Smith - Fiona doing the calligraphy in shellac
©2016 Barry Smith - Fiona doing the calligraphy in shellac
On Saturday Fiona was away doing print related stuff so I agreed to rivet the pages together so we could then open them together today.

Because I was going to use some 9mm thick aluminium rivets I picked up from a garage sale years ago I had to make some riveting tools to fit the rivets. These were made out of a couple of discarded cold-chisels.

©2016 Barry Smith - Home made riveting tools for 9mm aluminium rivets
©2016 Fiona Dempster - Aluminium sheets ready for etching with shellac resist and one etched page in the background
I was about to start the drilling and riveting when I remembered that the resist paint on the back of the pages needed to be removed. I was going to buy some automotive spirits but forgot - so given there was no car to drive into town I tried petroleum - smelt bad but it worked.

©2016 Barry Smith  - Removing paint resist with unleaded petrol
The riveting went well as you can see from the photo below.

©2016 Barry Smith  - Riveted books - ready for opening
And before lunch today Fiona and I used a bit of innovation and physical strength to bend the pages into place.

©2016 Fiona Dempster - Large book clamped ready to be opened
©2016 Fiona Dempster -  Two books opened (imagine peace book is 600mm long and 400mm high, dream peace book is 600mm high and 400mm wide).
The final set of three books was photographed in a few settings - they have worked out well.

©2016 Fiona Dempster - There peace books opened (the large book - peace is every step is 800mm high and 600mm wide) - on the gravel outside the shed - studio-gallery
©2016 Fiona Dempster - Three books on the car turning deck
©2016 Fiona Dempster - Books in the landscape - on the footbridge on the terraces below the house.
Fiona and I have wanted to make this installation-sculptural set of artists' books for many years and the metal has been there to do the work - it is funny how one commission job provided us with the encouragement to move and achieve the outcome. The theme of the books is peace - etched into the middle page are: imagine peace, dream peace and peace is every step (TCH).


  1. I have no words..... You are both such an inspiration to me. Thank you!

  2. I love this!! Beautiful work, off to see Fiona's side of the story :)

  3. I love all that!
    Peace be with you and in all your pages.

  4. Oh, Barry, these look fabulous! You and Fiona are such an inspiration! And ... How beautiful is the block looking? Superb!

  5. Your collaborations are a constant source of wonder. What fun it is to watch you two create!

  6. It is a pleasure to enjoy his art and his wonderful compositions with Fiona, exquisite!

  7. Hi R, J, VA, V, P, C LA & L - it gives me a lot of joy and encouragement to have so many people not only checking out the big books for peace but also commenting - thanks heaps. Fiona and I really appreciate that we have fortunate life together and supporting band working with each other in art. The big books are a good example of real collaboration as we worked together on these books from the design phase to the opening stage - and you can also see a bit of each of us in them. Glad that they inspire and bring joy. Go well and create well. Peace. B

  8. Barry, these are beyond beautiful. I just love the whole idea of them - the scale, the materials, the thoughts inside and the collaborative way the two of you have produced them. Fab... and you've got to love a man with an old piano in his garage....???? Can't wait to see what you do with that! x

  9. I really love how these books have been born. Beautiful vision. And they look glorious nestled into the garden. I will watch them wander about ...


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