Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ten for 2017

Looking back over a year of one's art can often be surprising. In December it is hard to remember what one was doing in January. Over the last few years Fiona and I have attempted to capture the past year by choosing 10 art things that, for us as individuals, stood out a bit. The ten I share in this blog post are not in chronological order nor are they in some hierarchy - they are markers for me.

A standout was the creation and sharing of 210 peace leaves in recognition of International Peace Day 2017. Not only was it a fairly big effort; but I was blown away by the generosity, sense of community, dedication and inventiveness of the 21 people who accepted 10 leaves each to gift on to promote peace both in Australia and many overseas places.

©2017 Barry Smith - 210 Peace Leaves for International Peace Day 2017
An almost inconsequential thing in 2017 has been continuing my iPhoneography on Wednesday post. I continue to love capturing the beauty of nature which uplifts me; and hopefully a few other folk.

©2017 Barry Smith - Pure droplets of mist caught on a tiny web and lichen
The Buttress Root sculpture took a heap of my time this year. Construction started in April; installation and alteration occurred in June-July; and official opening took place in December. I'm proud of this piece of placemaking art that seems to be part of the landscape. There has been a lot of very positive feedback.

©2017 Barry Smith - Buttress Root poetry trail sculpture at Little Yabba Creek
I entered the Goondiwindi and Blackall art shows again this year. I won a prize at Goondiwindi and my work, School of Funky Fish, was purchased. I enjoy the quirky nature of the funky fish.

©2017 Barry Smith - School of Funky Fish
I continued to make work for a couple of shops: Maleny Additions and Entangle (Dayboro). Maleny Additions continues to sell quite a lot of my ladles, leaf spoons, leaf pate knives and leaf tea caddy spoons. Entangle sell quite a number of my Artisan Lamps. A good outcome for the shops and myself.

©2017 Barry Smith - Tea Caddy Leaf-spoons with Fiona's swing tags for Maleny Additions
©2017 Barry Smith - One of many Artisan Lamps for Entangle
In July-August I finished and installed a five post sculpture in a small courtyard - a private commission. The work honoured the memory of a dear dead friend of the people who commissioned the work.
©2017 Barry Smith - Installation of 5 posts with etched aluminium plates - water and snake motifs
One thing I always wanted to do was to work with Fiona to create some large etched aluminium freestanding peace books. We worked together on their creation; and also the installation near the bridge across the rock river in our backyard.

©2017 Barry Smith - Peace Books sculpture on our block
The Peace Books installation ignited my desire to create more sculptures for the block. I made and we installed a couple of sculptures where I was able to use a large number of copper soldering irons that had been gathering dust in the garage-studio. The block is beginning to have a more nurtured look about it.

©2017 Barry Smith - Large soldering and branding iron sculpture near the rock river - great perch for birds
Fiona and I visited Krakow for the first time this year. Visiting Auschwitz was very difficult - such obvious and systematic inhumane brutality - but it confirmed the need to continue to work for peace. It was fortunate that after the visit Fiona and I walked many streets of the older area of Krakow; and we were uplifted by art - including art on the walls in the old Jewish quarter. It reminded me of the gentle restorative power of some art.

©2017 Barry Smith - Faded bird art on a wall in Krakow
Metal called me again this year. I was inspired to return to the hammering out of vessels. Sometimes refining some of my simple designs; and sometimes reforming or repurposing existing shapes found in the process of salvaging silver-plated copper, EPNS and brass.

©2017 Barry Smith - Tiny hammered form - recycled silver-plated object 
©2017 Barry Smith - Small Fungi Form vessels - recycled silver-plated metal from old drink trays
Though the year was hard in patches, including dealing with the death of a good friend, art and an art life shared with Fiona helps pull one through the tough and sad times.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Bending 6 - a leaf form sculpture

©2017 Barry Smith - Patina developing on large copper leaves
I finished Bending 6 today. Bending 6 is the sixth in my  leaf form sculpture series. It is a light weight sculpture (copper leaf forms on rusted steel rods). It was inspired by bamboo grasses bending with the breeze; bent and blown in the same direction; and flowing with the breeze. Each sculpture in the series is made up of 15-21 large (25-28cm long) fold-formed copper leaves are attached to rusted steel rods (8mm thick and 600mm to 800mm long) using 3mm solid copper rivets that are hand set. Bending 6 has 15 separate leaf forms on rods.

Each Bending sculpture can be installed indoors (set in wooden planks); or outdoors (set in grass, gravel, sand).  It  can be easily moved around by the owner; and the leaf forms can be set further or closer together depending on the owner's space and preference.

Leaf forms attached to rods; and close up of the copper rivets.

©2017 Barry Smith - Hand set copper rivets
©2017 Barry Smith - Leaves riveted to rusty rods
©2017 Barry Smith - Steel and copper - shavings from drilling copper rivet holes
Leaf forms were cleaned with steel wool and ready for application of oxidation solution.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
Solution applied and patina emerging.

©2017 Barry Smith
Once the patina has fully developed and dried the sculpture will be placed outdoors to further cure.

A pleasing outcome for the day.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Orchids and other bits

On Christmas evening Fiona and I took a walk around her dad's garden. He has many orchids. I thought I'd share photos of a few to wish everyone a relaxing and peaceful Christmas and New Year 'holiday' time.

©2017 Barry Smith - Orchid with ant
©2017 Barry Smith - Mysterious brown and yellow
©2017 Barry Smith  Crucifix orchid - yellow
©2017 Barry Smith  Crucifix orchid - orange
©2017 Barry Smith  Crucifix orchid - pink-orange
©2017 Barry Smith  Crucifix orchid - pink-purple
©2017 Barry Smith  Crucifix orchis - red
This morning's walk was through and in a grey and gentle mist that shrouded the valley and Treehaven Way. It meant that droplets clung to spider's webs and blossoms.

©2017 Barry Smith - Clear droplet on a small orange blossom
©2017 Barry Smith - Stash of Agaves we cut yesterday to be given away to friends and at the top of our drive
©2017 Barry Smith - Droplets on a small spider's web against a grey mist morning sky
©2017 Barry Smith - Power lines in the mist
©2017 Barry Smith - Large delicate spider's web hanging in a tree
©2017 Barry Smith - Section of a large delicate spider's web vibrating in the breeze against a foliage background
The mist made for a quiet morning - I met no-one on my walk. There was very little birdsong; but I did have the company of one Magpie.

©2017 Barry Smith - My Magpie companion
Wishing all a quiet, refreshing and safe end to the year.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sculptural progress

I got some time over the weekend to continue the work on the Bending sculptures and the stash of smaller leaves that I was making 'along the way'.

First the sculptures - after grinding off all the rough and sharp edges I pickled the big leaves to make them really bright before I started riveting them to the rods. I will apply oxidation solution to them after the riveting process. I can't do the pickling after I have riveted the steel rods to the copper leaf forms as one can't put steel into the pickling bath.

©2017 Barry Smith - Clean and shiny pickled leaves (about 25-28cm long). They are  ready to be riveted to the hammered rusty steel rods
©2017 Barry Smith - Half a bucket of pickled leaves - washing the picking solution off
©2017 Barry Smith - My pickling bath - an old slow cooker
Because they did not require riveting I decided to finish the stash of smaller leaves. They all needed to be pickled first and then have the oxidation solution applied. After drying a couple of coats of spray varnish was applied as these leaves will be indoors and one does not want powdery patina dropping off onto furniture. The edges of the varnished leaves were reground to give the edges some highlights.

©2017 Barry Smith - A stash of pickled smaller leaves
©2017 Barry Smith - Leaves with oxidation solution applied - patination progressing
©2017 Barry Smith - Three leaves with ground highlights on the edges - the leaves are sold in packets of three
©2017 Barry Smith - Stash of ground patinated copper leaves
I the next little while the larger leaves will be attached to the rods; and patinated.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Restarting a sculpture

©2017 Barry Smith - Steel rods in the fire pit
Today I restarted a couple of my light leaf based Bending sculptures. I started these months ago - they got put aside as I worked on a range of other demands. One is to become Bending 6 and the other Mini Bending.

As you can see I got to do a bit of blacksmithing in the process of hammering the ends of the rusted rods that will hold the copper leaf forms. I clamped my gas torch into the hot bench vise and directed the flame on to the fire pit I use for annealing. It made the hammering of 22 rods so much easier.

©2017 Barry Smith - Rusted rods
©2017 Barry Smith - Hammered rods
©2017 Barry Smith - Lovely colour of the hammered rusted rods
I also got around to hammering the large leaf forms to attach to the rods; and a whole stash of smaller copper leaves that will become small 3 leaf packs.

©2017 Barry Smith - Hammered small leaves (about 12.5 cm long)
©2017 Barry Smith - Unfolded small copper leaves
©2017 Barry Smith - Comparison of the large and small unfolded copper leaves
A reasonably productive day given that I started the day doing community work and work on my friend's estate. And now a glass of red.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Kissed by early morning light

©2017 Barry Smith - Kissed by the early morning sun
In our house we know it is summer when: the early sunrise floods our bedroom at a time that has 4s in it; the birds are in full voice; and some birds have the temerity to tap dance on the corrugated iron over the deck outside our bedroom. We know then we should get up and on the move.

©2017 Barry Smith - Light touches the edge of the rusted fire pit.
As I began my walk before 6am I was captured by the way the early light was touching and enhancing: the edge of the rusted fire pit (now a 1m round avian font); and a myriad of blossoms.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith - Kissed by the morning sun
©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith - Suffused by the sun - white with a tinge of purple
©2017 Barry Smith - Hibiscus

©2017 Barry Smith - Facing the sun
As you can see the soft morning light and oblique angle of the sunlight just seemed to make the colours and details become more vibrant.