Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Water on glass, moss nest and other fragments

This Wednesday iPhoneographic post is a mixed bag of fragments that flitted through my week and eye. Whilst in Melbourne Fiona and I got too have a quick viewing of the Vangogh exhibition (Seasons). On the way out I was taken by the way the fading daylight and some uplights were enhancing the film of water that was running down the glass wall (a water feature).

©2017 Barry Smith - Water and light on glass
©2017 Barry Smith - Water and light on glass
One of the benefits of autumn is that the birds nests in the maple trees on our terraces make an appearance. I love this delicately woven lichen nest - about the size of a large egg.

©2017 Barry Smith - Small abandoned woven lichen nest
©2017 Barry Smith - Small abandoned woven lichen nest
I'm surprised at just how much bee activity there still is as we move into winter (tomorrow).

©2017 Barry Smith - Bee and ant share a blossom
©2017 Barry Smith - Loaded with Penda blossom pollen
The resilience of nature as this orchid makes a comeback after being totally eaten down by a possum; and the crucifix orchids that continue to bloom.

©2017 Barry Smith - White crucifix orchid - different stages of the blossom
©2017 Barry Smith - A small green shoot of orchid hope
One of our local artists, Leeza Stratford, did a great job initiating and coordinating a beautiful participatory community art installation called Unity. The public was given the opportunity to weave the thread of themselves by choosing descriptions at each of the 32 posts. The woven result demonstrated the many characteristics we share; and that as humans we are not so different. I share here a couple of images of the threads against a blue sky.

©2017 Barry Smith - Intersecting life stories (Unity installation Maleny)
©2017 Barry Smith - Intersecting life stories (Unity installation Maleny)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Only 209 to go

©2017 Barry Smith - The first of 210 peace leaves
I really got stuck into the making of the 210 peace leaves I have planned to be distributed on International Peace Day (21 September). I realised that time is already ticking by.

I finished off the leaf above to give an idea how the 210 individual leaves might look. Each leaf is made from a 9.5am to 10cm long and 2-2.5cm wide piece of silver-plated brass, EPNS or copper. The final leaves will end up being between 9cm and 9.5cm in length. I'm making about 225 to give myself some choice.

The photo below shows the stash of silver-plated blanks that have been stamped and given the first fold in the vice.

©2017 Barry Smith - A whole pile of cut, stamped and folded silver-plat
Then the stash folded in half and marked for cutting.

©2017 Barry Smith - Ready for cutting the half leaf shapes
I'm about halfway through cutting the forms; and then the hammering, opening and grinding and polishing are still to be done. But this has been a good start.

©2017 Barry Smith - About 100 leaf forms cut and ready for hammering etc
Photo of the growing pile of offcuts near the guillotine.

©2017 Barry Smith - Beautiful fine offcuts that will go into the mental melting crucible
And I did get to finish those larger patinated copper leaves.

©2017 Barry Smith - A circle of larger (20cm) patinated copper leaves
At times the evidence of creativity is the production process rather than the finished items.

Friday, May 26, 2017

School of Funky Fish 2

©2017 Barry Smith - A few fish faces!!!
The School of Funky Fish I entered into the Aspects Art Show won the best contemporary prize; and was also sold. I have started a second School of Funky Fish which, like my leaf inspired Bending sculptures, might become a series. There were seven fish in the first school; but I'm not sure if this school will be five or seven. I will decide once the next batch are complete.

The fish bodies are made from curved sections of old brass jardinieres; and the head, fins, tail etc are all made from various bits of silver-plated EPNS - mostly offcuts of trays I have harvested when cutting up trays for bigger works.

©2017 Barry Smith  - Setting out and selecting potential components 
After making a selection of bits and doing a bit of a mock-up it is off to the grinding and polishing bench where the pieces show their true metallic beauty.

©2017 Barry Smith  - Rough mock-ups

©2017 Barry Smith  - More rough mock-ups
©2017 Barry Smith  - Pre-drilled and polished bits on the workbench
I managed to assemble a couple of the fish this afternoon  - the riveting is a fiddly job and can take some time. I particularly like the baby fish - about 15cm long.

©2017 Barry Smith  - Quite a cute baby fish
©2017 Barry Smith  - Medium sized Funky Fish
The riveting process associated with assembling the fish usually encourages me to polish my homemade riveting tools. I love the contrast between the rust of the recycled rods and bolts and the drilled and polished work faces.

©2017 Barry Smith  - Homemade riveting tools
A good Friday in the garage-studio - relaxing.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Autumn morning light and other fragments

The mornings are getting darker as we cruise to winter - I think I have mentioned that before!!!

©2017 Barry Smith - Mountains in a sea of cloud in a soft dark pastel autumn morning sky
But seldom does one get: sunrise, a fragment of a moon and the morning star - a joy to enjoy on my morning walk. All faded out in the space 15 minutes.

©2017 Barry Smith - Sunrise, moon fragment and morning star
©2017 Barry Smith - Caught between the lines - moon fragment, morning sky and powerlines
Loved the bird in the tree in soft pastel light when I arrived home this morning.

©2017 Barry Smith - Silhouettes against a soft layered background
The recent instability in the weather has delivered many morning white-outs and unusual cloud puddles in the valley and rolling banks of cloud covering the mountains.

©2017 Barry Smith - Clod lake and cloud bank
That same weather has also provided the gift of fungi.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith - Gentle fungi fold
Many peaceful offerings of nature to calm and refresh.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The beauty of copper, fire colour, leave and patina

©2017 Barry Smith - Copper offcuts shards
Though the weekend has been reasonably busy I did grab some time on both Saturday and Sunday to start making patina copper leaves of different sizes for a number of projects. I planned to make about 15X200mm leaves; 25X250mm leaves; and 20X120mm leaves.

Doing multiples has its positive (cutting heaps of metal in one cutting and lifting the heavy guillotine onto the bench once); but on the downside there is the sheer number of leaves and the repetition factor. Some photos of the process follow even though folks who visit thew blog have seen similar images before.

©2017 Barry Smith - First fold of the 200mm leave blanks - I attached a 'new' vice to the outside workbench to make this task easier with longer leaves.
©2017 Barry Smith - 60 folded copper blanks
©2017 Barry Smith - Second folding completed on the anvil and leaf forms marked
©2017 Barry Smith - Leaf forms cut and ready for hammering
©2017 Barry Smith - The 200mm leaf forms annealed and in the process of unfolding - love that fire colour
And then there are the cleaned shiny leaves before patina solution is added. I focussed on getting the 15X200mm leaves finished.

©2017 Barry Smith - Unfolded, pickled and washed leaves
©2017 Barry Smith - Unfolded, pickled and washed leaves - ready for patina solution
And after about a half hour of acidic reaction and curing there are beautiful patinated leaves.

©2017 Barry Smith - Beautiful patinated leaves - need to set and then knock back the colour.
Because the 200mm leaves will be for indoor decorative purposes they will need: a coat of sealant; a grind and polish to bring out the highlights and knock back some colour. This will be done during the week hopefully.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sometimes the smallest takes the most time

©2017 Barry Smith - Almost looks like a musical instrument or something from Dr Who!!!!
The Artisan Lamp that was commissioned was collected during the week- a choice of one out of the three. I decided that whilst I was in an Artisan Lamp making mood I should make a few more to boost the number to five so I can deliver them to Entangle in Dayboro.

I have wanted to make a lamp using the small brass piece above for quite a while but combining it with a base that did not overwhelm the ornate piece and its lovely taps was a challenge. But as part of rummaging around I came across an small vintage camera tripod. To the naked eye it looked like it was steel painted black. Imagine my joy when I discovered it was solid brass. Below you can see the polished tripod with all the other prepared bits that were ready for assembling into lamp form.

©2017 Barry Smith
But back to the title of the blog. To be able to attach the piece, an antique gas-light fitting - 100-150 years old, required quite a bit of rummaging and engineering to: attach thread that would carry the light fitting; drill out the body including one of the small tap to enable cable to be threaded through; and threading several bits to create the base that could attach to the screw on top of the tripod.

But the real fiddling came when I went to attach the tripod to the top section - well the small screw on top of the tripod was so brittle it just sheared off when I went to assemble the lamp. This required more engineering to drill the sheared of bits out and find another thread etc. And of course the cable would not cooperate and go around a right angled bend. More drilling through the piece and finally the cable was dragged through. However the vintage bakelite light fitting I chose was not up to speed and I blew a bulb and flicked the safety with in the house. After attaching a new fitting it was all good to go. And I think the outcome was worth it - a strong yet delicate and quirky Artisan Lamp.

©2017 Barry Smith - Tripod Artisan 
©2017 Barry Smith - Tripod Artisan 
Thanks goodness the other two lamps came together so much more easily.

©2017 Barry Smith - Refurbished and slightly modified retro desk lamp
©2017 Barry Smith - Refurbished and slightly modified retro desk lamp
©2017 Barry Smith - Mood lighting?
©2017 Barry Smith - Interesting internal section of the blowtorch
©2017 Barry Smith - Blowtorch Artisan Lamp
©2017 Barry Smith - Blowtorch Artisan Lamp
Now I'm off to make one of our favourites - home grown roast pumpkin and blue cheese risotto. To be complemented with a nice shiraz or two.