Friday, May 31, 2013

Foraging and cutting on Friday

Fiona and I went to town for a variety of things today; but as we were about to leave the car-park of our local IGA store I noticed a very large rubbish skip that was crammed full of stuff from the recent refurbishment of the store. Thank goodness most other folk were at the local show so we could do a bit of foraging or skip surfing - and we came home with a lot of good stuff - I will post on that later.

This afternoon was given over to art. I had planned to do another personal shrine; but when I got down to the studio-garage metal called and I was drawn into doing a heap of cutting, grinding and drilling for a series of Peace Book Pendants. I love doing these - both the process and the message that is finally contained in each; and carried by those who wear them.

You can see some images of the 'books' cut; clamped for grinding all the 'pages' to a uniform size; drill holes through the sheets; and the edges before I take them off for polishing after the peace words are stamped on one of the 'pages'.

©2013 Barry Smith - Peace Book production line - 11 unique pieces in progress.
©2013 Barry Smith - One Peace Book - clamped, ground and drilled
©2013 Barry Smith - Beautiful pages of metal - silver over brass and copper.
©2013 Barry Smith - Five Peace Books ready for stamping and then polishing.
I'm making 11 together - but each is unique. All are cut from recycled metal including a very tarnished and beaten wide bracelet of silver over copper given to me by friends - I'm very fortunate to have such people in my life.  I have created a couple that are less book like (second and third from the left); and a Petite Peace Book on the right. The petite pendant is about 25mm long and 20mm wide - very cute.

Now it is time to create a couple of Barry's gourmet pizzas; and break out a bit of shiraz.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Treasures from Tatebayashi

Fiona and I have just returned home from our art-culture exchange trip to Tatebayashi Japan. I really can't believe the week went so quickly - I must have been having fun. It was a great trip made special by our friends in Tatebayashi (and Tokyo) - too many to mention and they know who I mean.

©2013 Barry Smith - The portable anvil got a really good work out at the Citizens' Festival (made 30 or more leaves with and for people as well as a few other foldformed pieces)
There were so many rewarding official and social events and art activities - art highlights included: the Tatebayashi Citizens' Festival where the five Australian artists got to demonstrate our art; our day workshop with the school children in Ichikai; and a morning spent with Haryu san a master copper beating metal artist. So many treasured experiences.

But other treasures are those that I was able to purchase from a local and quite traditional hardware store (an Aladdin's cave!!!). I went to this hardware store 4 years ago on our last visit and was keen to get more stocks - fortunately our friend Hiro remembered where it was and kindly took Fiona and I there.

Hammers - yum!!

Awls - really strong and sharp - used the one second from the left to make holes in copper and brass leaves as people at the festival wanted to turn them into pendants. Cathy, friend and interpreter, skilfully made jump rings out of slithers of sheet metal.

Copper and brass nails and rivets - scrumptious.

Heaps of gloves - no excuses for dirty fingers.

Unpacking our bags when we arrived home was like opening a tardis - I could not believe we fitted so much into such a small case and kept the weight under 25kgs. And of course there was all Fiona's paper, rulers and other bits she had purchased.  And we had to bring home the hammers, anvil, pens etc etc that we had taken over to use in the festival demonstration.

There will be a little more of Tatebayshi in my metal work in the future as I use the treasures above.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

More valley moods

There are just so many times I want to grab the camera or iPhone and capture the changing moods of the valley below our block - of course I restrain myself (unbelievable I know) and often simply soak in the beauty. But on other occasions I want to capture the play of the panorama below.

A few such images - a couple of older ones and a couple from recent days.

©2013 Barry Smith - Sunset in the west
©2013 Barry Smith - Last light
©2013 Barry Smith - Clouds in the valley on dusk
©2013 Barry Smith - A valley full of cloud
And a few altered - you can see that they relate to two images above. I enjoy the way the alterations show the different shades and highlights in the sky.

©2013 Barry Smith - A valley of light and shadow 1
©2013 Barry Smith - A valley of light and shadow 2 
©2013 Barry Smith - A valley of brooding light 1
©2013 Barry Smith - A valley of brooding light 2
Always such wonder and peace inducing vistas. All taken with the iPhone.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Anvil into action

During the demonstration of foldforming leaves at the Tatebayashi Citenzen's Festival tomorrow I will be using my small anvil resurrected from a rusted and pitted scrap piece of small guage railway line.

The anvil is pictured below. I have polished various edges and surfaces so that can be used in sequence to create a leaf form without changing tools all that frequently.

©2013 Barry Smith - Railway line portable multifunctional anvil 
©2013 Barry Smith - Railway line portable multifunctional anvil 
The edge in action below can be used to do the initial fold.

©2013 Barry Smith - Folding-unfloding edge in action for folding
The top surface is used for forming the leaf.

©2013 Barry Smith - Top surface for forming
The polished side edge is used again to unfold the leaf form.

©2013 Barry Smith - Folding-unfloding edge in action for un-folding
The polished rounded edge is used to spread and set the leaf shape.

©2013 Barry Smith - Leaf spreading-setting edge
And there is the simple small (about 70mm) formed leaf in the rough - needs a polish itself.

©2013 Barry Smith - Leaf form in the rough
I'm pretty pleased with this multifunctional tool. But the proof will be tomorrow - will it work to form 30 or more leaf forms over a 6 hour period??

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Small bowls in Japan

Before leaving home I made a series of small bowls to give as gifts to folk in Japan.

Well we are now in Tatebayashi and the bowls below are finding owners as we go about our art-cultural exchange; and as folk kindly help with transport, translations, introductions, shopping etc.

©2013 Barry Smith - Small 3 & 4 foldformed bowls - unpolished on the workbench
©2013 Barry Smith - Small 2, 3 & 4 fold foldformed bowls - unpolished
©2013 Barry Smith - Small 3 & 4 fold foldformed bowls - first polish
©2013 Barry Smith - Small 2 fold foldformed bowls - first polish
©2013 Barry Smith - Small 3 & 4 fold foldformed bowls - second polish with brass brush
Great thing about metal is it is so portable- no breakages; looks so precious; and yet all made from recycled metal .

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Water and rust

There is something very calming about still bowls of water; or a body of water that has a quiet trickle of water creating ripples. I can sit and stare into such water bodies such as this one we found in a temple in Japan on our last trip.

©Barry Smith - Calming cleaning water 
©Barry Smith - Calming ripples
In its own way it is reflected in our own quiet bowl of water made from an old fire pit on a heavy wooden stand.

©2013 Barry Smith - Still reflections
I'm always photographing the different moods of this water and the rust that grows under the surface.

©2013 Barry Smith - Bowl, water, reflections and blue gravel
©2013 Barry Smith - Still water, reflections and rust
©2013 Barry Smith - Still water and rust
I also love playing with the images to bring out deep jewel like colours.

©2013 Barry Smith - Bowl, water, reflections and blue gravel - altered
©2013 Barry Smith - Still water and rust
©2013 Barry Smith - Still water, reflections and rus
Never alone when you have photo apps and an iPhone!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Personal Shrines

It is quite a long time since I made a series of personal shrines. In fact it is almost two years ago - I really find that hard to believe myself but the post on a shrine celebrating the moon is proof.

©2013 Barry Smith - Detail from Personal Shrine
As I did some two years ago I stop and ask myself - what are the personal shrines about? Well to tell the truth they are a small reflection of our own life. In our house we have a corner where we have a few candles, a bowl of words and an incense holder. It is the place where each morning we pause, have a juice, look out over the valley, choose a word to start out day. It is a quiet spot to give a start and focus to the day. In making the personal shrines I guess I am making pieces that can become the personal quiet spot for folk in their home - to start and/or end their day.

The thing about personal shrines is that what I offer is the beginning. People who purchase the shrines take them and personalise them. Folk will add crystals, icons, words, photos etc - whatever is the focus of peace and stillness in their life.

The two small shrines below reflect the themes of our upcoming exhibition - peace and stillness.

©2013 Barry Smith - Peace and Stillness Personal Shrines
©2013 Barry Smith - Peace  Personal Shrine
©2013 Barry Smith -  Stillness Personal Shrine
These shrines are made from leather bound wood covers from a very old but damaged book.  They can hang but given that they are about 220-250mm high and the brass shelf is very rigid they can stand nicely on a niche or corner in a home. The two back boards have brass or EPNS decorative bits cut from an old tissue box holder and EPNS tray respectively.

©2013 Barry Smith - Offering Bowl and Leaf on Personal Shrine
Each of my personal shrines will have a small offering bowl held aloft on a brass ring. The bowls will be made from EPNS drink coasters and the brass rings are cut from an old 'yabbie' bait pump. Each shrine will also have a small EPNS leaf with the word peace or stillness stamped into it. The offering bowl can also be used for incense. Both shrines need a few finishing touches.

Home made pizzas and red wine call so I must respond.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


On the 25 April Fiona and I got up at 3.30am to attend a dawn service. I was surprised to see the moon in full glory heading towards the western horizon but still high in a dark sky. The morning was clear so I dashed out to take a few photos before heading to the service.

Thought I might share a few shots of that dark clear morning.

©2013 Barry Smith - Early morning moon 1
©2013 Barry Smith - Early morning moon 2
©2013 Barry Smith - Early morning moon 3
I took a few more photos over the next day or two. The moon was then setting with the sun up. First set with colour and contrast just before and after dawn.

©2013 Barry Smith - Moon just before sunrise 1
©2013 Barry Smith - Early morning moon 2
©2013 Barry Smith - Early morning moon at sunrise 1
©2013 Barry Smith - Moon setting at sunrise
©2013 Barry Smith - Early morning - sun and moon glow
And then pale moon on a blue sky with the sun well up in the eastern sky.

©2013 Barry Smith - Pale moon on blue 1
©2013 Barry Smith - Pale moon on blue 2
I never get sick of the cool brilliance of the moon. These photos were not taken with the iPhone.