Sunday, December 30, 2018

Looking back - looking forward

©2018 Barry Smith - Rainbow on a fragment of a painting on the Wall of Small Things
I find it useful at this time of the year to reflect on how my art practice has expressed itself - what have I done, what have I contributed to, what have I created. In a post such as this one simply tries to pick up some of those threads without covering everything or putting things in order of priority.

Because of time away in Scotland this year iPhoneography featured a bit more in my posts. It is one of the things one can do when on the move and/or away from the studio. But it also sharpens ones eye and inspires.

©2018 Barry Smith - Horsehair and wool fibres in rain droplets
©2018 Barry Smith
A milestone was the launch of Deckled Edge Press. A very significant commission was a limited edition of Imagine Equality posters to be presented to presenters and speakers at Australia's premier social issues conference (Communities in Control).

©2018 Barry Smith - Imagine Equality posters printed with large wood type
Skill development got a pretty good run this year.  A stone letter cutting course in Scotland.

©2018 Barry Smith 
And an introduction to bookbinding in Brisbane. It is not often that Fiona and I pause to invest in ourselves and our art skills.

©2018 Barry Smith 
Even though we were away in Scotland for a couple of blocks of time we did manage to do more art work on the block including: a new bridge across the rock river; the beginning of a sandstone installation; and a small installation of posts that is now nestled in the trees on the terraces.

©2018 Barry Smith 
©2018 Barry Smith 
Creating stock or product doesn't always seem to be all that creative. Still quiet a lot of product was sold through Maleny Additions and Entangle - so making functional leaf forms, ladles and lamps was quite a thing in 2018.

©2018 Barry Smith 
©2018 Barry Smith 
Peace and International Day of Peace always draws Fiona and I. This year: peace tags were sent out into the world; as were many peace peace; but also Fiona and I did our International Day of Peace installation in our tree on the block and on the gate at the cottage in Scotland.

©2018 Barry Smith  
©2018 Barry Smith 
©2018 Barry Smith 
Random acts of kindness and giving just seemed to emerge out of the ether this year including: book earrings for a dedicated group of book festival volunteers; and small bowls for volunteers at our local neighbourhood centre.
©2018 Barry Smith 
©2018 Barry Smith 
I did participate in a few exhibitions; but this was not my year.

©2018 Barry Smith  - Vase of trumpet flowers
Contributing to Mo Crow's Gathering (Love is the answer) was heart warming and engaging.

©2018 Barry Smith  - Small metal ingot
I loved continuing to develop my metal working skills by making small vessels.

©2018 Barry Smith 
©2018 Barry Smith 
Looking back - seems 2018 was a pretty full year; now looking forward to the possibilities of 2019.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Tools for a new year

©2018 Barry Smith - Polished faces of some of my steel hammers
Over the last month or so I have assessed my tools and decided that: some needed to be replaced; and some just needed to be refurbished.

My hammers can do some very hard work and occasionally loose their gloss and pick up the odd small line or indentation. I gave my 6 key hammers bit of attention on the grinding-polishing machine. I love how they are looking shiny and ready for work in 2019.

©2018 Barry Smith - Polished hardened steel hammers on the polishing-grinding bench
Somewhere-sometime in 2018 I lost my oyster opening knife that I used for opening folded metal leave forms - so I have had to convert a 'knife form' into a useful but blunt tool for this purpose.

©2018 Barry Smith - New tool for opening folded leaf forms
I worked out that I needed to replace the soft faces that I use in my vices. I had worn out two copper sets and two rubberised-plastic sets. I brought magnetic aluminium faces and also a set of magnetic rubber faces.

©2018 Barry Smith - Aluminium and rubber faced vice inserts.
Whist I was buying the above I indulged in a magnetic cast iron metal bending tool and a new full set of metal drills ranging from 1mm to 13mm.

©2018 Barry Smith - Heavy duty metal bending tool - fits into the 15cm vice and produces perfect 90% bends
©2018 Barry Smith - These are looking great for the jobs ahead
So no excuses in the new year????

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Bits from the block

©2018 Barry Smith - Copper patina on a copper soldering iron on a sculpture on the block
A few fragments from the block - celebrating life, rust, patina and the beauty of nature.

©2018 Barry Smith - A gathering of leaves on the keys of an old typewriter
©2018 Barry Smith - Leaves caught behind the roller of an old typewriter
©2018 Barry Smith - The beauty of the purple snow peas - and they taste gorgeous
©2018 Barry Smith - Tendril reaching out
©2018 Barry Smith - Micro micro herb blossom
©2018 Barry Smith - Very strange spider orchid
©2018 Barry Smith - Looking to the light through miniature Hydrangea

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Go well

©2018 Barry Smith

Wishing all a peace filled day from the mountain. May today bring peace and joy; and may we carry it forward into the days ahead.

©2018 Barry Smith

Sunday, December 23, 2018


©2018 Barry Smith - Fungi Bowls and hammers - earlier in the day I had given 6 of my hammers a polish to ensure the hammering surfaces were in good condition.
 One of the things I enjoy about being a creative is being able to make stuff and give it away. Making and giving to bring a little more light and joy into what at times can seem to be a sad and dark world.

Over the weekend I managed to use some of those metal pieces cut during the week and on Friday and use them to make: a pair of Name Leaves; and a trio of Fungi Bowls.

Because I was making leaves I made 10 Peace Leaves whilst making the two Name Leaves.

©2018 Barry Smith - Peace Leaves and Name Leaves on the workbench - the workbench has seen a lot of metal in a lot of forms - I love it's patina (aka marks, scratches and stains)
©2018 Barry Smith - The two Name Leaves - same name - informal and formal versions - leaf forms are about 14-15cm long
The Fungi Bowls seem so small and delicate when compared to the hammers responsible for their creation. But the outcome looks good.

©2018 Barry Smith - Metal stake for raising the bowls on
©2018 Barry Smith - Japanese style metal working hammer - bowls are about 6cm across
©2018 Barry Smith - Two bowls have been put through the third phase of hammering - the third bowl is marked up for the systematic cycle of hammering
©2018 Barry Smith - Fungi bowls after the fourth phase of hammering and grinding and polishing
The Name Leaves, the Fungi Bowls and 4 of the Peace Leaves went to new homes today.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Metal mania

©2018 Barry Smith - The flat serving sections of about 20-25 small silver-plated trays
 At this time of the year I tend to have an urge to sort out my garage-studio space so that I can start the year a little more organised. This has resulted in my going through containers and shelves of my bits for making Artisan Lamp; and sorting through my watch and clock bits used in jewellery. That has all gone quite well.

This week I decided to rationalise my silver-plated metal stash. Whilst the larger trays stack well and can be cut as needed the small trays take up more room as they usually have attached ornaments and feet and have curved sides. Out of the shelves I pulled about 30 such trays and spent a couple of days sweating the ornaments and feet off and cutting the trays up. Not all the trays were suitable for my work so five were put aside to give to metal recyclers. From the bases of about 25 trays I managed to rescue the stash of metal in the opening photo. Offcuts resulted in the following bits.

©2018 Barry Smith - About 40 pieces to make Peace Leaves - cut to 25mm wide and about 12-13cm long
©2018 Barry Smith - Small blanks - about 20mm wide and 8-10cm long for making small inspirational leaves
Since I had the guillotine in action I decided to cut up other pieces for planned 2019 projects including: a series of small metal books; a series of book earrings; blanks for bowls; and 63 pieces (30mm square) cut from a single larger tray for International Peace Day.

These pieces are now in their various containers in a larger storage container on the shelves.

©2018 Barry Smith - Pieces ready for projects
©2018 Barry Smith - Pieces ready for projects
There can be ornamental bits that get harvested as part of the cutting process including those in the photos below.

©2018 Barry Smith 
©2018 Barry Smith
©2018 Barry Smith 
Small high quality silver-plated copper bits were also harvested for smelting at a later date.

©2018 Barry Smith - Chips of silver-plated copper
©2018 Barry Smith - Chips of silver-plated copper
So a great time of harvesting useable metal. Now I can easily see and select the metal I want for jobs; and of course identify gaps in the metal stash that can be filled from op-shops. or gifts from folk.