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.


  1. what a beauty & wow 30 cms is big, that's a lot of very focused hammering!

  2. Hi MC - thanks for your comment. I worked out that the smaller bowl took over 4000 hammer strokes to make. Focused indeed. B

  3. those who have the opportunity to run their fingers over your bowl will surely appreciate the 4000+ hammer strokes all the more ... and how wise you were to make a smaller version first

  4. Yes, Liz hit the nail on the head (ha ha, a hammer joke). It was a really good idea to get into the rhythm with a smaller piece. The even texture the hammer blows produce is a marvel. Beautiful.

  5. What a beautiful bowl. Thank you Barry for the card that arrived today, I am sitting looking at it and hoping that the way I feel today will be short lived. Thank you for thinking of me.


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.