Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mainly about metal colour

Over the weekend I: finished and delivered the the five Daily Leaf Word sets; planed and sanded a bunch of letterpress type trays so they would fit into the cabinet we bought from Maleny Recyclearama; and I made a good start on the 20 leaf forms for the commission Bending 5.

One aspect I love about working with metal is the surprises that can be part of the process. Today it was all about the metal colours that popped as a result of applying heat or washing the pickled leaves in water containing iron from the rusty fire pit basin. Any way first the colours of the metal.

©2016 Barry Smith - Fire colour on copper
©2016 Barry Smith -  Natural patina and colour before annealing
©2016 Barry Smith - Copper colour after pickling and washing in water from the rusty iron pit pit
©2016 Barry Smith - Copper colour after pickling and washing in water from the rusty iron pit pit
©2016 Barry Smith - Folded copper blanks for leaves - coloured after pickling and washing in water from the rusty iron pit
And then a bit of the process of working on the leaves today including finishing 6 of the 20.

©2016 Barry Smith - Copper coloured after pickling and washing in water from the rusty iron pit pit
©2016 Barry Smith - Copper offcuts from leaf forms
©2016 Barry Smith - Copper folded leaf forms (about 25mm wide and 200mm long)
©2016 Barry Smith - Hammered leaf forms (about 25mm wide and 200mm long)
©2016 Barry Smith - Six leaf forms - unfolded, ground and polished
©2016 Barry Smith - Six leaf forms - unfolded, ground, polished and patina solution applied
I also though I would share a photo of Fiona's mixed up type draws.

©2016 Barry Smith - Bit of a poor shot - but it gives one the idea of how this set of type draws is going to be a bit unusual - space for seven more trays!!!!!
A good practical art weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Gifts that can give every day

©2016 Barry Smith - Silver-plate and ink spots 
I went full tilt today attempting to make fives sets of Daily Leaf Words from go to completion. I had a request for 5 sets from a fellow artist friend who wanted to give them to folk on Saturday afternoon. I have three sets on hand; but rather than just make the two extra sets I decided to make five sets to give some choice.

I quite like making the Daily Leaf Word sets because they can look attractive as small table top sculptural works; or they can be used to give daily inspiration.

Warning - in this blog post I'm going to share some process photos - some folks have seen this process before and therefore may just want to move right along.

©2016 Barry Smith - 10cm silver-plated circular blanks for bowls.
©2016 Barry Smith - Stacks of word leaf blanks all about 2cmx7cm - 35 in all 
©2016 Barry Smith - Word blanks stamped with inspirational words
©2016 Barry Smith  - First stage of creating leaves - the first fold
©2016 Barry Smith - Bowls annealed and hammered; and leaves folded, cut, hammers, annealed and partially opened
©2016 Barry Smith - Bowls on the work bench after first grind and polish
Obviously I did not get the sets finished this afternoon. There will be a final lot of grinding and polishing earlyish tomorrow morning.

The post is short tonight as we are about to have visitors for dinner. I need to check to see if there is anything I can help Fiona with other than organise glasses and drinks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Seeking sun and other matters

Yesterday I cleaned out the water filled rusty fire pit. It looked disgusting and was not good for the local wildlife. I checked it out the morning to ensure the water was clear. The photo below shows an unusual green colour as the metal begins to rust again under water  - not sure what is causing that - but the water was clear.

©2016 Barry Smith - Rust in a water filled iron fire pit
On my walk a trail of blue objects led me to this gorgeous Satin Bowerbird bower - a delicate and beautiful performance area.

I was attracted to a roadside bed of flowers all facing the morning sun.

And what about the hopeful and delicate seed on the bitumen road; and the road map in a dried leaf.

The maples are a glorious colour at the moment.

The last moments of a sunset on Monday was just full of layers and contrasts.

Much to rejoice about in nature that surrounds us.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A few more fragments of an art life

We are back on 'the mountain' after our art-culture exchange trip to Japan; and I'm beginning pick up the pieces of everyday life including our art stuff.

The fragments covered in this post include: starting the commission of Bending 5 (fifth installation in the bending leaf series); doing a prototype of a simple spoon and fork made from 1mm thick stainless steel tray; receiving news that I had won a prize in the Blackall art show; and having it brought to my attention that my photo was in a Sunshine Coast newspaper article about the poetry trail.

From time to time I'm given what looks like a silver-plated tray only to discover that it is in fact stainless steel - I have kept some of these until I worked out a purpose for them. I use some in my personal shrines; but was inspired to create a simple zen like teaspoon and cake fork as you can see from the prototype below.

©2016 Barry Smith - Simple hammered stainless steel spoon and fork.
I have started the Bending 5 commission by testing how the recycled copper from the fireplace hood would form, clean and patina. As you can see from the photos below the copper will work well.

©2016 Barry Smith -Leaf on wood with patina solution

©2016 Barry Smith - Patinated copper leaf riveted to a rusted rod stem
I was notified that I awarded first prize in the Best Contemporary Art Entry at the Blackall Heartland Art Exhibition for my piece Fire Within. It was good to see that this small but beautiful work was given an award.

©2016 Barry Smith -
The poetry trail work goes on. The poetry group coordinator Judith Bandidt got an article in the Sunshine Coast Daily to promote the work and appeal for support for funds for the fabrication and installation stage of the three poetry sculptures.

And now I need to spend a bit of time doing a few menial tasks including tidying up my art photos. Quiet art fragments to ease me back into my art work.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Time in the presence of a Japanese Master Metalworker

A very engrossed student and patient Master Metalworker
Whilst in Tatebayashi, as part of the SCC-Tatebayashi Sister Cities art-culture exchange, I was given the opportunity to spend time with Japanese Master Metalworker Hariu Kiyoshi.

I first met Hariu-san at a Tatebayashi citizens' festival some six or so years ago. I was able to visit him in his workshop a few years ago when Fiona and I returned as part of the SC art-culture exchange group. When he knew we were again in town for the citizens' festival etc Hariu-san invited me to his workshop where he said he would teach me the Japanese technique of ibushi.

On our arrival we spent some time drinking tea, discussing metalwork techniques and studying some pieces and tools.

Discussing techniques - particularly patinas and colouring
Hariu-san and an older apprentice Kezuka-san
Many many stakes for different forms
Discussing which stake would be used on which section of the vessel
Discussing which hammer would be used at which stage of the forming of the vessel- the hand of Mizuho (aka Cathy) our fantastic interpreter
I was then given a lesson in ibushi - a traditional Japanese technique of adding patina and a tarnish resistant coating to metal using a concentrated smoking process. It was such an honour that a very esteemed master metal worker would personally teach me this process.

Small intense charcoal cooking fire with smoke cones in the background
Intense smoke after a smoking tray and pine needles (leaves) were added 
Hariu-san demonstrates the process with two smoke cones in place
The student has a go
The metal - coloured and sealed by heat and resin
Intent record keepers
After a successful lesson we enjoyed tea and sweets and an exchange of gifts including presenting Hariu-san with the silver stemless sake vessel from me and a print from Fiona on peace for Hariu-san's wife.

Hariu-san checks out the stemless sake vessel
We share a laugh about not being able to put the vessel down and spilling the sake
There were the formal photos to mark the visit.

Fiona, Barry, Osumi-san, Hariu-san and Kezuka-san

 Hariu-san said as his 'apprentice' I could return and he would teach me other traditional Japanese techniques - though he said I would need to spend a much longer time with him next time.

And Cathy made the lesson and the visit possible and rich through her interpreting.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Welcome to the mountain and images that remind one

We have arrived back on the 'mountain' after a packed ten days in Japan. Over the last ten days we had so many great experiences and shared so much with some wonderful people.

Today, after arriving home this morning, we have spent the day doing the mundane chores one does after a trip away; but we were reminded of the beauty of where we live by the stunning sunset tonight - such strong contrasts in the sky.

The following few images encapsulate some of the broad spectrum of beauty of the ten days - in random order.

There will be other trips to Japan to soak in other fragments and memories.