Monday, September 16, 2019

Rust from recent travels

©2019 Barry Smith - Old, rusty but still at work on a croft  in the village
Over the last week we have spent time in our cottage, Orkney and Shetlands. Being by the sea in all three locations means there is often the opportunity to feast one's eyes on fragments of rust - some ornamental but most functional.

Sharing a few bits here.

©2019 Barry Smith - Lockedsolid
©2019 Barry Smith - Must be something precious as there were three locks on this door
©2019 Barry Smith - Tie point - wee harbour Lerwick
©2019 Barry Smith - Must have been some heavy boats in the past - wee harbour Lerwick
©2019 Barry Smith - Top of a mangle - Sumburgh Shetland
©2019 Barry Smith - Gears in a restored water driven grain mill - Quensdale Shetland 
©2019 Barry Smith - Boat and heaps of rusted chain and massive d-bolt used as an anchor - private slipway old harbour area Lerwick
©2019 Barry Smith - Stapling blocks of stone on the harbour edge
©2019 Barry Smith - Timber piece to keep the wind out - open and one lets the light in - St Magnus Cathedral Kirkwall 
©2019 Barry Smith - Good use for an old steel cannon - bollard at the wee harbour Lerwick
©2019 Barry Smith - Detail from the stand of the rusted mangle.
On our trip away from the cottage it proved to be a a bit too difficult to blog so fragments were shared on FB and Instagram. We are back home in the cottage again.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Old and the new

©2019 Barry Smith - Patinated door knob on old cottage
This post shares a bit of a contrast - my progress on converting the garden shed to a light and useful art workspace; and a few images of one of the oldest buildings in Armadale village.

First the progress on the workspace. I have used the shed a couple of weeks ago to do some stone cutting but found it dark and untidy.

©2019 Barry Smith - Garden shed aka studio-workshop??
I spent some time removing junk and Fiona and I took that to the recycling centre. After rearranging some of the useful material and shelving I have started to paint the whole of the inside of the shed. Initially I will paint it all with a couple of coats of ceiling paint as we had quite a bit left over when we gave the cottage a spruce up. Already the shed is beginning to look cleaner and lighter.

©2019 Barry Smith - Dark green paint on the shed walls and ceiling.
©2019 Barry Smith - It will take a couple of coats to cover the green
©2019 Barry Smith - About a quarter of first coat done
The old cottage (Allt Beag) in the photos below is one of the remaining original cottages that probably dates back to around 1800. It is a bit sad to see that though efforts have been made to preserve it from the weather the stone work and the iron roof are losing their integrity.

©2019 Barry Smith - Beautiful simplicity
©2019 Barry Smith - Losing its integrity
©2019 Barry Smith - Grass taking over
©2019 Barry Smith
Fiona and I always want to reach out and preserve such wonderful simple historic cottages.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Ephemeral - of stone and rust

©2019 Barry Smith - Tiny succulent type plant inhabiting a crevasse on the stone wall of the church
Though it is Friday my creativity has been limited to continuing to work on the cottage grounds, work with a local resident to relocate a large rusty ancient engine that did not belong to the cottage and continue a bit of work on reorganising the garden shed so that it can be also used as an art workshop.

On Tuesday Fiona and I visited an old derelict church (1220-1832) in Thurso - we had driven by it a couple of times and made remarks like "we must stop and check that out sometime" - so we did. We were there at the same time as a school group was being shown through so we were able to tag along and see the inside of the ruin. The crumbling stone, plants in crevasses and rusting fittings was a stark reminder of the ephemeral nature of even those things that seem solid.

A few images of an interesting visit.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Grass high on a ledge
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith  - Stone lacework - formerly a stained glass window
©2019 Barry Smith  - A few fingers of stone reach out towards each other
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith  - About to take flight
Check out the little insects making a home of an inscription on a headstone within the church body.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Tiny crawlies in the crevasses of the sandstone inscription
Tomorrow I hope to make a little more progress on the FaB Armadale studio (ha ha).

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fungi feast

©2019 Barry Smith - Micro blue-green fungi-like lichen amidst moss, pine needles and other matter
F and I went for a drive to Lairg today - a beautiful drive through bog-lands, hills/mountains, burns and lochs. The day started with sunlight and the promise of a glorious day in the highlands.

On our way home we home we set out to find a sculpture called The Unknown by Kenny Hunter that stands in the landscape of Borgie Glen. But by mid afternoon the day had gone to custard - wind, rain, grey and cold. So not the afternoon for a 1.5 hour walk to a sculpture through a wet forest. However we decided to check out signs and a totem pole so that we would be well informed when we returned for the walk. Imagine our delight to find a glade of fungi when we did a short walk into part of the forest to a picnic table. Such a variation in colours and sizes; but the prize had to go to the very wee blue-green fungi-like lichen - so small that you could hardly see them as you walk by.

A few of the images of this gorgeous microclimate follow.

©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith - Green moss
©2019 Barry Smith - Almost glass like
©2019 Barry Smith - A field of red topped fungi
©2019 Barry Smith - Delicate flutes of this brown fungus
©2019 Barry Smith - Two is company
©2019 Barry Smith - Red moss
©2019 Barry Smith - A micro forest of blue-greenies (lichen that is)
©2019 Barry Smith - Their own little eco-system
©2019 Barry Smith - A fragile strong web of branch-like lichen
Obviously somebody had been enjoying many of the fungi as the photo of one below shows.

©2019 Barry Smith
We look forward to revising the glade soon when we go to check on the sculpture.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Changing moods of the north sky-sea, droplets and other matters

©2019 Barry Smith - Horse hair caught on barbed wire with micro droplets of water
There was no time for making art today - there were mundane tasks to be done. But we still manage a walk to the cove. The mood of the sea from the cove headland always captivates me. Yesterday it rained virtually all day so the sky-sea were grey on grey.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Grey on grey sky-sea
This morning started out pretty much the same; but around midday the sun was out and  the sky-sea was blue on blue.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Blue on blue sky-sea
Though the rain can be challenging I prevailed upon Fiona yesterday to stop in the rain whilst I photographed a few raindrops on wool and horse hair caught on a fence along the way.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Rain droplets on fine wool fibres
©2019 Barry Smith  - Rain droplets on brown wool fibres
One of the mundane tasks today was to dig another trench to get water away from the sump of our sewerage system.

We did also get sidetracked moving a large flagstone; and rehabilitating Pratias that had become overgrown by clover. That was a creative thing to do in a bit of afternoon sun.