Sunday, May 26, 2019

Low tech assemblage of largish etched metal books

©2019 Barry Smith - Handmade tools to set the 8mm thick aluminium rivets - the riveting tools were made from a hardened steel punch
Fiona and I have assembled and opened our largish aluminium sculptural book collaboration. The trio of books focuses on aspects of compassion. The trio is to be exhibited in the Compassion Artists' Books Exhibition.

If you check out Fiona's blog she gives a great overview of the words etched into the metal (care, hope and kindness); and the reason we chose the Ubuntu symbol for the front covers of the three books.

Because we used salvaged aluminium sheet it was necessary to paint the backs of the etched sheets to cover the very distressed look of the metal.

©2019 Barry Smith - Beautiful layers on the sheet that I threw over the hedge to create a spraying backdrop
©2019 Barry Smith - Painted metal sheets drying
I thought I would complement Fiona's blog by showing a few photos of the low tech assemblage process including riveting.

©2019 Barry Smith - Rudimentary riveting station
©2019 Barry Smith - 8mm hole drilled through the three sheets of aluminium into timber below
©2019 Barry Smith - 8mm aluminium rivets cut to length (1cm) for the job
To open the books accurately we utilised some of the very solid hardwood posts in our stash.

©2019 Barry Smith - Low tech bending approach - book clamped between a large eucalyptus post and a plank of camphor laurel.
©2019 Barry Smith - Low tech bending approach - book clamped between timbers.
©2019 Fiona Dempster - Low tech bending approach - two person muscle action - Fiona stepped back long enough to take the photo and then was back on the job!!!
©2019 Fiona Dempster - Marking where the top board would be clamped to create a sharp edge to bend against
Fiona was in charge of judging the angles of the open pages to ensure the words were visible.

©2019 Fiona Dempster - Care emerges
©2019 Barry Smith - Yes that looks about right - not an exact science!!!
I think the outcome of our combined effort has resulted in a strong piece for the exhibition.

©2019 Barry Smith - Trio of compassion - care, hope and kindness - the tallest book is 80cm high and 60cm wide.
The trio is meant to be installed in a garden but or course it could also be installed inside. Given that it made from 1.5-2mm thick aluminium sheet it is light enough to move around. Now of course there is much paperwork to be done for the exhibition.


  1. absolutely amazing ... from the hand-made rivets to the Ubuntu symbol (have to read more about that) to the precision achieved at such a large scale

    the beautiful view from your "workshop" makes it all the better ...

  2. I love the "low-tech" approach.

  3. These are wonderful! must be amazing in person.

  4. These are fabulous. Love them.

  5. MC, LA, D, S and P - thanks folks for your welcome visit to the post and for taking the time to leave a comment. MC and D - sometimes low tech is best. LA - ha ha - loved your comment about the workshop - we are very fortunate indeed. S - the books certainly make a string statement as sculptures. P - thank you. All - go well. B


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