Tuesday, December 31, 2019

To the future

As we leave 2019 behind with it's current hardships and dangers; may 2020 offer us all some respite, hope, love and joy.

Friday, December 27, 2019

End of year decluttering

©2019 Barry Smith - Paint tube buttons from the Orkneys
I have decided that it is time for me to reduce my studio footprint and do a bit of decluttering. I had spread my jewellery making over an entire room which resulted in inefficient use of space; and the keeping of stuff I just did not use.

So the first task was to do a big sort and put aside stuff I did not use. And second was to reduce my jewellery assembling space down. So now I share space with Fiona in what has become her sewing room.

The photos below show a more streamlined work area.

We have visitors coming today and staying for a few days so it meant that there was not a lot of time available for making. I decided to just make a couple of simple paint tube earrings from buttons Fiona and I picked up on the Orkneys.

©2019 Barry Smith - Purple buttons riveted to silver-plated metal
©2019 Barry Smith - Orange button earrings
I had intended to make a set of earrings from the backbone of a carpet snake that died down the back of the block some time ago. I did prepare the bones but ran out of making time.

©2019 Barry Smith - Carpet snake vertebrae - about 1cm across
Snake bone earrings will have to wait.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Hope in these times

©2019 Barry Smith - Seems an appropriate image for Christmas day - Christmas colours and touches of moisture - hope
Hope is such a powerful word and  a powerful emotion. I wish it for all on this day that some celebrate as Christmas - I wish it for all on all days.

Over the last couple of months we have struggled with heat, dry and smoke. Overnight we had 10mm of rain and woke to a valley full of moisture filled clouds - truely a sight for hope and joy.

©2019 Barry Smith - Early morning - cloud filled valley after rain
©2019 Barry Smith - Yep - 10mm
©2019 Barry Smith - Peace bell in the mist/cloud - peace to all
We wandered the block to see how the trees and plants had responded to the overnight gift. It is amazing just how quickly nature can respond. As you can see from the photos I was taken by the lichen that was dedicated that now is growing so quickly.

©2019 Barry Smith - Lichen edge
©2019 Barry Smith - Into a micro lichen forest
©2019 Barry Smith - Bursting out
©2019 Barry Smith - Micro lichen on a twig
And of course droplets are always a joy and a sign of hope.

©2019 Barry Smith - Droplet on frangipani petal
©2019 Barry Smith - Droplet on maple leaf
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith - Stark - lime tree blossom on a twig - survival and hope
Even the birds got into the act and had a good scrub amongst the leaves.

©2019 Barry Smith - Scruffy butcherbird after a scrub
And the bees were having a fine time in the pumpkin patch

©2019 Barry Smith - Amazing energy
To all I wish hope, love and peace in these times.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Persistence - task completed

©2019 Barry Smith - Soft leather bound journals
Over the weekend time was spent on the block getting jobs done - like hedging the camellias and oiling one of the 'bridges' across the rock river. But it has been too hot to do too much outdoor work.

On Friday I gave myself the goal of using up the journal blanks and the leather. Much of the leather was brown hence many of the journals are a soft brown as you can see from the photo above and other photos. Great that this work could be done in the cool of the studio.

In all I have boxed up twenty good journals.

©2019 Barry Smith - Twenty in a box
The leather had some imperfections so this resulted in six journals with a bit of character.

©2019 Barry Smith - Lovely imperfections
©2019 Barry Smith - More imperfections
A few photos of the process.

©2019 Barry Smith - Leather scraps on the studio floor - gathered up and boxed
©2019 Barry Smith - Stash of covers ready for attaching
©2019 Barry Smith - Glueing the final cover
Lovely looking stash - I made 15 today.

©2019 Barry Smith - Looking good
A sense of satisfaction on completing this task and using valuable art resources.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Leather covered journals

©2019 Barry Smith - Journals with soft leather covers
The end of the year seems to encourage me to do a bit of sorting and culling of art resources. In fossicking through one of my cupboards I came across a number of packs of journal blanks - about 30 to be more precise. I also rediscovered a small box of soft leather which had been purchased with covering journals in mind. The blanks are 13cmX9cmX1.5cm. Very good fine and strong cream archival journal paper - some lined and some blank.

So today I decided to get stuck in and make as many as I could. As you can see from the photo at the end of the blog I got 10 done.

A few photos of the process follow.

©2019 Barry Smith - Cutting a stash of covers
©2019 Barry Smith - Applying leather book binding glue - including glueing the leather thong tie in place
©2019 Barry Smith - Plastic sheets to ensure the glue only goes on the cover sheets
©2019 Barry Smith - Leather in place ready for the journal to spend some time in the book press
©2019 Barry Smith - Out of the book press, trimmed and tied
The completed 10 look pretty good.

©2019 Barry Smith - A good stack of journals that will fit nicely in a travelling bag
I will keep going until the stash of journal blanks or the leather runs out.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Hope ...

©2019 Barry Smith - Birds photobombing the view of the valley this morning - overlooking the resilient bougainvillea hedge
The heat, lack of rain and fires continue - these tend to combine to drag the spirits down.

©2019 Barry Smith - Dry grass, leaf fall and tree under severe stress.
But we also look around us to see that nature makes the effort to survive - some of the flowers, bees and birds remind me to have hope.

©2019 Barry Smith - Edge of a petal in early sunlight
©2019 Barry Smith - The frangipanis are looking strong
©2019 Barry Smith - Small roadside flower has picked up dew overnight - bare earth background
©2019 Barry Smith - Weed - morning glory sending out sending out a new tendril
©2019 Barry Smith - Magpie looking for insects in the ravaged grass
©2019 Barry Smith - Our pumpkin flowers are providing some substance to some bees and of course they are doing great pollination work
©2019 Barry Smith - Baby and parent rosella sitting on the power line in Treehaven Way - the rosellas still seem to be getting nectar from the native trees in the area
©2019 Barry Smith - Tough time to be a young rosella
I'm sure all will celebrate when we get cooler weather and rain.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Stairway to ....

©2019 Barry Smith - Stairway between the terraces - form and function
We had planned to put in a stairway that could be used to walk between the upper and lower gravelled sculpture terraces. We had set aside 9 450mmX4500mmX80mm timber blocks that were cut from salvaged storm timber. The timber is not suitable for fine art work; but again can add art dimensions to the block.

I started on the bottom terrace and built the steps into the earth. There was quite a lot of earth that needed to be dug out - it was relocated to provide good soil for bushes we are planting at the base of the lower terrace - below the large agapanthus.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Multitasking - cutting the steps in and watering the agapanthus in as well. It was hot so a bit of fine scary from time to time was welcomed
Fiona and I had talked about the relationship between the stairway and the timber cubes. I think it has worked well.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Overview of the stairway in relation to the long terraces - I have finished planting the mini agapanthus along the slope above the terraces - that is good news to me. 
©2019 Barry Smith  - Stairway watered to get rid of the mud etc - looks good with the cubes.
Because I was working on my own there are a couple of wobbles that need to be sorted before I screw the stairs together. Fiona will provide guidance fro the mini boardwalk at the top of the slope.

I was also able to install the last bench seat on the terraces down below.

©2019 Barry Smith - Bench seat nestled into the slope of the terrace - with the gravel and leaf litter it looks like it has been there for quite some time.
©2019 Barry Smith - Bench seat surrounded by tree trunks and agapanthus