Sunday, January 13, 2019

Cuff bracelets

©2019 Barry Smith - Silver-plated cuff bracelet on polishing cloth with small corrosion spot
I recently sold my last cuff bracelet made from high quality silver-plate that i usually cut from vintage silver-plated placemats if I have them in my metal stash.

With judicious cutting I can  get 4 bracelet blanks with good pattern out of such a placemat. Sometimes salt has been spilt on the placemat and that erodes the silver. This placemat was pretty good - just a couple of small corrosion spots.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Backs of blanks marked ready for bending
©2019 Barry Smith - Front of blanks - couple of corrosion spots evident
I used my new vice bending tool to get really accurate bends.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Four blanks bent to 90 degrees
To reduce the hammer marks on the pattern I covered the metal with duct tap and did all the heavier hammering with the tape on.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Blanks gently folded in the vice - covered in duct tape
©2019 Barry Smith  - Fold forming finished on the anvil using a soft nylon mallet
©2019 Barry Smith  - Unfolded and then set on the anvil
The forms were bent over a 50mm aluminium pipe held in the vice; and the final hammering and polishing was done gently. With the gently hammering and adjusting three really good cuffs were made and one other that has a couple of small corrosion spots.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Ground, polished and ready for bending into bracelet shape
©2019 Barry Smith  - Bent and given another polish on the workbench
©2019 Barry Smith  - One of the best - no corrosion spots

©2019 Barry Smith - Trio of cuffs on the workbench
It is good to have a few of these classic simple cuff bracelets back in stock.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Sidetracked by rust, love and connections

©2019 Barry Smith - Front of rusty washer ring
I had planned to make four cuff bracelets today; but got sidetracked making a ring for Fiona. Whilst we were in Scotland we found a very odd shaped rusty washer on the street in Thurso. Fiona asked if I could add a bit of silver to it as a contrast and turn it into simple pendant. So I made a loop out of hammered solid silver which I had riveted into an oblong after I had put it through the washer as you can see in the photo below.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Rusty washer pendant - Thurso Scotland
When we were moving a log as part of the reshaping of our task of creating a couple of sculpture terraces Fiona found a rusted washer that had fallen off a piece of fabric art she had attached to the post many moons ago. She thought it would be significant if the washer was turned into a piece of jewellery to create a link with the rusty washer from Scotland - like our two homes. But she didn't want another pendant so asked if I could make a ring out of: the washer; a circle of silver-plate on my work bench; and some form of plain ring. I had a plain solid silver ring that was spare from a commission quite some time ago. So I started with the bits below after spraying the rusty washer.

©2019 Barry Smith - Rusty washer etc
The pieces came together well I think.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Rusty washer ring - on the block Wootha
I asked Fiona to model the ring - I think it looks good on her hand.

©2019 Barry Smith - Love and global connections
©2019 Barry Smith - Love and global connections
I managed work on the cuff bracelets but more on that latter.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A few fragments from a recent trip

©2019 Barry Smith - Tile fragments
Fiona and I decided to take a few days away from the mountain at Christmas. We had a relaxing time.

Following are a few fragments of texture and colour from the trip.

©2019 Barry Smith - Lyre Bird tail feather detail

©2019 Barry Smith

©2019 Barry Smith - Painted poppy
©2019 Barry Smith - Woven
©2019 Barry Smith - Like holes in the night sky
©2019 Barry Smith - Colonising 
©2019 Barry Smith - Tiny fragments of sunshine on stems
©2019 Barry Smith - Pearl shell set in corten steel
©2019 Barry Smith - Rusty window on the sky
©2019 Barry Smith - Texture on a landscape
©2019 Barry Smith - Rent in paper fragment

There were no photos from this morning as I did not walk; but rather created an erosion barrier on the slope of a pair of long sculpture terraces we are creating.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A vessel to kick off 2019

©2019 Barry Smith - Marked up vessel-bowl on a metal stake being hammered with Japanese style hammer
I have a request to make a rather large bowl - about 30cm in diameter. It needs to be made from high quality brass so that it will polish up to a high golden gloss; and it needs to have hammer marks similar to those on my Fungi Bowls. It needs to be made now.

Most of my bowls-vessels tend to be on a smaller scale except when I'm making avian fonts. To remind myself of the techniques and tools I use for larger vessels I decided to make a medium sized bowl first and then the larger bowl. I cut two squares on unused brass metal sheet - one 26cm and the other 30cm on Friday; and then used the guillotine to cut the two circles.

©2019 Barry Smith - Who would have thought that a 30cm circle of metal would look so much bigger that a 26cm circle - of course the camera angle distorts the size a bit.
Yesterday I proceeded to make the smaller bowl; but at the same time I decided to do some of the earlier steps of the large bowl whilst I was in the process of annealing and sinking the metal for the smaller bowl.

©2019 Barry Smith  - The first steps of annealing and sinking a bowl can be pretty unattractive
©2019 Barry Smith  - After four rounds of annealing and sinking with a wooden mallet the smaller bowl is ready for hammering on the metal stake; whilst the larger one will need another round of annealing and hammering with the wooden mallet
I then put the larger bowl aside and progressed the smaller one through to completion. One of the important steps in getting the hammer marks right for my Fungi Bowls involves making sure I have marked up the roughly formed bowl and then very systematically hammer down along the lines on a steel stake.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Bowl marked up - decided into 32 segments to ensure the hammering process is consistent and systematic - this results in the bowl taking on a very balanced form
I was pleased with the outcome of the smaller bowl.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Detail of the hammering
©2019 Barry Smith  - Back of the smaller bowl (now 25cm in diameter)
©2019 Barry Smith  - Front of the smaller bowl
I have done more work on the larger bowl today but will need to put the finishing the polishing on Monday. Because of the size the polishing process takes quite a lot longer.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Love the process and colour

©2019 Barry Smith - Mixing that gorgeous purple
There has not been a lot of time for creative work today as we are doing a big lot of pruning etc on the block and were pushing to get it finished today.

I did cut up a lot of remnant 15cm square timber into 45cm lengths, 18 lengths, to create a couple of cube installation-thingies - but more on that another time.

I wanted to share a few images of the process and colour involved in printing my 2019 New Year cards.

Letterpress can be quite relaxing if one is willing to work slowly and methodically - and one has a tutor such as Fiona one can call on along the steps of the process. Images of some of the steps and colour follow.

©2019 Barry Smith - Sitting with a mug of tea choosing fonts - using the card system Fiona has created for all our 70 plus metal fonts
©2019 Barry Smith - Deciding on words and layout and font size
©2019 Barry Smith - Trays of spacers
©2019 Barry Smith - Press and type inked up and ready to go
©2019 Barry Smith - Testing the placement of the paper to be printed
©2019 Barry Smith - Making an adjustment to layout
©2019 Barry Smith - Chase back in the press and another proof printed
©2019 Barry Smith - A stash of postcards printed including proofs
©2019 Barry Smith - Fiona and my postcards beside each other - I love how Fiona has over printed the green of the wood type with the purple I used - suffragette colours
I'm already itching to do a wood type poster. So hopefully that will be my next letterpress project.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

First morning walk of 2019

©2019 Barry Smith - Dew on rose petals
It was a beautiful soft morning after a night of light dew. Many of the flowers and other bits encountered on the walk were festooned with microscopic droplets like the ones on the rose petals above; and on the leaf below.

©2019 Barry Smith - Dew drops on rose bush leaf - reflecting early morning sunlight
Usually you cannot see the very small spider webs on-in the grass but they showed up in many places because of the dew. Makes one think who is lurking down the neat holes in the web - I did not investigate as I did not want to damage such brilliant web work.

©2019 Barry Smith - Delicate web in the grass
©2019 Barry Smith - Web with tunnel entry and hundreds of  dew droplets
How about the great camouflage of the beetle below? I didn't notice it until I got close and it moved a fraction.

©2019 Barry Smith - Green beetle on Tobacco Bush berries
A few more fragments from the walk.

©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith - Small (about 2cm) feather on the road
©2019 Barry Smith - Single Tea Tree blossom
Below are a couple more blossoms from the block.

©2019 Barry Smith - Purple papery blossoms of a purple potato bush
©2019 Barry Smith - Orchid with ants
©2019 Barry Smith - Delicate orchid currently growing amongst leaf litter
Good to be alive in a new year; and good to be experiencing the small beauties on offer.