Sunday, July 23, 2017

Restoration and completion

There were quite a few demands on time over the weekend. Still one grabs bit of time when one can.

Recently we bought a small old chest of draws that we judged could become great for storing small parcels of letterpress type. I did not like the look of the old paint on the chest of drawers; and there were a few loose bits. So I decided to: do repairs; sand the whole thing; and give it all a few coats of matt finish. All of that was done with a mask on; and a good personal clean-up immediately after the job. I was worried about lead paint!!

The chest of draws is now ready for Fiona and I to fill with small sets of letterpress type.

©2017 Barry Smith - Small (about 60cm tall and 20cm square) chest of drawers with lovely aged patina
©2017 Fiona Dempster - not a bad backdrop to the outside work
©2017 Barry Smith - Drawers coated on every surface
©2017 Barry Smith - Standing tall?
I had three more small funky fish to finish to make up my next school of seven fish (A School of Funky Fish 2). So that was another task to complete - and I managed to do so.

I really like the lovely twists and turns of these smaller fish (about 15cm and 20cm long). All made from brass from old brass jardinieres and silver-plate from old trays.

©2017 Barry Smith - Three Funky Fish friends
©2017 Barry Smith - Single small Funky Fish - almost alive
I have modified the attachment of the brass rods to the smaller fish. In the past I glued them into place; but on these last three I riveted them in place with a 1.5mm brass rivet.

©2017 Barry Smith - Rivet looks better solution!!!
The seven look good as a school.

©2017 Barry Smith - A School of Funky Fish 2
Now to make the mounting board and cut the rods to length so the school can go for a swim.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Creating reflections on water

As part of my 5 post commission I have been asked to add a water motif based on an actual black and white photograph. This motif will be attached to the five posts along with snake motifs (whole and part).

The image is to be created using a single etch non-acid etching process. I have tried to take the central swirling water aspects of the photo and, in  bold strokes, I want to create the sense of shimmering water surface against  a darker background. The blue on the metal (paint applied with a paint pen) will become the shimmering silver; and the uncoated parts of the plates will become the etch darker background.

As you can see above I also finished coating the rest of the snake motifs. I drew the snakes using the paint pen; and blocked out the rest using shellac. I the no too distant future there will be a big day of etching. But for now that has been a good milestone achieved.

Blogger is playing up so I can't add captions etc.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blooms and other bits

The iPhone snippets from the week tend to have a botanical flavour.

Beautiful orchids blooms from Fiona's dad's place.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
A couple of bits of winter colour on the block.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
A disgusting fungi close to where Fiona and her team were doing the Poets on the Precinct for the Maleny Celebration of Books over the weekend .

©2017 Barry Smith
Micro lichen in soft sun on the peace tree at the front go the block

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
And the difference a half an hour makes to the light  in the sky - before heading off for my walk and arriving home.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith

Friday, July 14, 2017

Finding fragments of time for peace

©2017 Barry Smith - Peace on the grinding wheel
Life on the block has been pretty hectic lately with community, family, art commission and friend commitments. Finding time to do a little unstructured creating has been a challenge. I have given myself a deadline of the end of July to complete my Peace Leaves for International Peace Day.

I grabbed a few hours yesterday to finish opening the last of the leaves - quite a line up as you can see from the photo below.

©2017 Barry Smith - Twenty-one groups of 10 Peace Leaves in the rough
I only just made the 210 goal as I had given a few away over the last month; and as you can from the photo below I lost 8-9 to poor metal.

©2017 Barry Smith - Fractured peace (leaves)
Anyway I took a stash over to the grinding and polishing bench. By the going down of the sun I had managed to grind and polish 50 leaves.

©2017 Barry Smith - About 100 peace leaves in the rough
©2017 Barry Smith - First group of 10 Peace Leaves off the grinder and polisher
©2017 Barry Smith - Small steel circular brush polishing 
©2017 Barry Smith - Fifty Peace Leaves reflecting a little bit of setting sun
Only 160 to go.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Lighting up the clouds and other fragments

Over the past week I have been taken by how the moon and sun play with the clouds. I was woken one morning at 4.30am by Fiona 'sharing' the beauty of the setting moon with me - and of course I had to get out and capture images of the moon as it played hide and seek with the clouds and vice versa. I loved the way the light of the moon bounced off different layers and types of clouds. Moon photos taken with the Canon Powershot.

©2017 Barry Smith - Setting moon dripping light into the clouds
©2017 Barry Smith - Moon - flitting through layers of cloud
©2017 Barry Smith - Unusual colouring of cloud and moon
©2017 Barry Smith - Dark clouds races across the face of the moon
One afternoon and amazing fay of cloud fragments was set ablaze by the setting sun.

©2017 Barry Smith - Blazing sky
This morning I started my walk in darkness and was offered the spectacle of the moon through the tree at the top of the block; and the morning star through the powerlines on Treehaven way.

©2017 Barry Smith - Bright moon against a dark morning sky
©2017 Barry Smith  - A tiny fleck of morning star through the powerlines
After my exercise the sky was blue and the moon hug silver against the sky.

©2017 Barry Smith
The dandelion gone to seed was brilliant in the soft morning light.

©2017 Barry Smith
As was this brave rose of winter.

©2017 Barry Smith
Looking up and looking around fills the senses and the soul.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Heavy work

©2017 Barry Smith - Some detail in the timber posts
Sometimes the work we do on our art is heavy and takes quite a long time with not a lot to show. Such was the case for me over the weekend. On Friday I had taken delivery of 5 large and very heavy posts I'm going to use in a five post sculptural installation.

The posts are 170mm square and vary in height from 1.25m to 1.75m. They are Tallowwood - hard and dense hardwood. They arrived sawn and roughly milled but required a lot of sanding. Getting them up onto the workbench required a bit of heaving and leverage.

©2017 Barry Smith 
Each post took over an hour of concentrated sanding with 80grit on my belt sander. But the end product is worth it.

I now have the five posts sanded and oiled with decking oil. I sanded and oiled them as soon as I got them to reduce-stop cracking.

©2017 Barry Smith - Some nice colour
©2017 Barry Smith - Standing tall
The posts will stay standing and drying waiting for me to add etched sheets that are still a couple of weeks off.

©2017 Barry Smith - Chainsaw marks in the top of the post - still to be sanded back

Friday, July 7, 2017

Gently unfolding

©2017 Barry Smith - Putting a gentle twist in an opened leaf
One thing that doing large numbers of peace leaves has taught me is just how many steps there are in my process for creating leaves.

Today I got a few hours in the garage-studio; and was determined to really push on with finishing my 210-240 peace leaves for International Peace Day. I finished the hammering of the leaf forms; and then was into opening the leaves.

©2017 Barry Smith - Last leaf form hammered
Because I use metal from old silver-plated trays I often don't know the quality of the metal until I come to unfold the hammered folded metal. So I have developed a 6 step process whereby I use a range of tools to gently open the leaves and so reduce the shock factor and in the main minimise splitting along the fold.

©2017 Barry Smith - Tools for opening leaf forms
Step one involves using an old oyster knife to just crack the two layers of metal apart.

©2017 Barry Smith - Small opening 
In step two I use an old carpet laying chisel in the vise and a soft faced hammer to open the metal right along the edge.

©2017 Barry Smith - Slightly opened all the way along
A vintage cooper's chisel is then used to open the form to about 45 degrees.

©2017 Barry Smith - Increasing the width of the opening
The edge of the anvil is brought into the act to open the leaves to 90 degrees.

©2017 Barry Smith - 90 degrees on the edge of the anvil
And the flat of the anvil is used to open the leaves to about 150 degrees. At this point two pair of pliers are used to give the leaf a twist and set it.

©2017 Barry Smith - Opened to about 150 degrees
So tomorrow's job is to do the anvil and plier steps on about 240 leaves; any then it is off to the grinding and polishing bench.