Sunday, October 23, 2016

A few more fragments of an art life

We are back on 'the mountain' after our art-culture exchange trip to Japan; and I'm beginning pick up the pieces of everyday life including our art stuff.

The fragments covered in this post include: starting the commission of Bending 5 (fifth installation in the bending leaf series); doing a prototype of a simple spoon and fork made from 1mm thick stainless steel tray; receiving news that I had won a prize in the Blackall art show; and having it brought to my attention that my photo was in a Sunshine Coast newspaper article about the poetry trail.

From time to time I'm given what looks like a silver-plated tray only to discover that it is in fact stainless steel - I have kept some of these until I worked out a purpose for them. I use some in my personal shrines; but was inspired to create a simple zen like teaspoon and cake fork as you can see from the prototype below.

©2016 Barry Smith - Simple hammered stainless steel spoon and fork.
I have started the Bending 5 commission by testing how the recycled copper from the fireplace hood would form, clean and patina. As you can see from the photos below the copper will work well.

©2016 Barry Smith -Leaf on wood with patina solution

©2016 Barry Smith - Patinated copper leaf riveted to a rusted rod stem
I was notified that I awarded first prize in the Best Contemporary Art Entry at the Blackall Heartland Art Exhibition for my piece Fire Within. It was good to see that this small but beautiful work was given an award.

©2016 Barry Smith -
The poetry trail work goes on. The poetry group coordinator Judith Bandidt got an article in the Sunshine Coast Daily to promote the work and appeal for support for funds for the fabrication and installation stage of the three poetry sculptures.

And now I need to spend a bit of time doing a few menial tasks including tidying up my art photos. Quiet art fragments to ease me back into my art work.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Time in the presence of a Japanese Master Metalworker

A very engrossed student and patient Master Metalworker
Whilst in Tatebayashi, as part of the SCC-Tatebayashi Sister Cities art-culture exchange, I was given the opportunity to spend time with Japanese Master Metalworker Hariu Kiyoshi.

I first met Hariu-san at a Tatebayashi citizens' festival some six or so years ago. I was able to visit him in his workshop a few years ago when Fiona and I returned as part of the SC art-culture exchange group. When he knew we were again in town for the citizens' festival etc Hariu-san invited me to his workshop where he said he would teach me the Japanese technique of ibushi.

On our arrival we spent some time drinking tea, discussing metalwork techniques and studying some pieces and tools.

Discussing techniques - particularly patinas and colouring
Hariu-san and an older apprentice Kezuka-san
Many many stakes for different forms
Discussing which stake would be used on which section of the vessel
Discussing which hammer would be used at which stage of the forming of the vessel- the hand of Mizuho (aka Cathy) our fantastic interpreter
I was then given a lesson in ibushi - a traditional Japanese technique of adding patina and a tarnish resistant coating to metal using a concentrated smoking process. It was such an honour that a very esteemed master metal worker would personally teach me this process.

Small intense charcoal cooking fire with smoke cones in the background
Intense smoke after a smoking tray and pine needles (leaves) were added 
Hariu-san demonstrates the process with two smoke cones in place
The student has a go
The metal - coloured and sealed by heat and resin
Intent record keepers
After a successful lesson we enjoyed tea and sweets and an exchange of gifts including presenting Hariu-san with the silver stemless sake vessel from me and a print from Fiona on peace for Hariu-san's wife.

Hariu-san checks out the stemless sake vessel
We share a laugh about not being able to put the vessel down and spilling the sake
There were the formal photos to mark the visit.

Fiona, Barry, Osumi-san, Hariu-san and Kezuka-san

 Hariu-san said as his 'apprentice' I could return and he would teach me other traditional Japanese techniques - though he said I would need to spend a much longer time with him next time.

And Cathy made the lesson and the visit possible and rich through her interpreting.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Welcome to the mountain and images that remind one

We have arrived back on the 'mountain' after a packed ten days in Japan. Over the last ten days we had so many great experiences and shared so much with some wonderful people.

Today, after arriving home this morning, we have spent the day doing the mundane chores one does after a trip away; but we were reminded of the beauty of where we live by the stunning sunset tonight - such strong contrasts in the sky.

The following few images encapsulate some of the broad spectrum of beauty of the ten days - in random order.

There will be other trips to Japan to soak in other fragments and memories.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cutting metal for Funky Fish

©2016 Barry Smith 
You may remember the blog post I did on the Flying Funky Fish in July. I have been asked if I had them for sale. I thought before I put them up into the shop (which is a bit empty at the moment) I should make a few more.

I have been using the curved sides of a couple of old and large brass jardinieres for the bodies of the fish. I particularly like the curves that have stripped or diamond patterns on them  - reminds me a bit of the markings on some fish.

Anyway I got the angle grinder out, put in a fine reinforced cutting disc and cut the top section off the jardiniere (fancy name for pot plant pot).

©2016 Barry Smith 
©2016 Barry Smith 
I cut 5 fish bodies from the top section. In the past the jardiniere had been coated with varnish so I had to burn that off - interesting green flames. Of course it annealed the metal at the same time.

©2016 Barry Smith 
©2016 Barry Smith 
The metal was curved in the wrong direction so while it was soft from annealing I bent the pieces spot they curved the way I wanted them. But you can see they are pretty messy at this point. So over to the grinder and polisher to give them new life.

©2016 Barry Smith  - Funky Fish bodies in the rough
©2016 Barry Smith - Funky Fish bodies on rust
Interestingly enough as I was fossicking around in the metal pile I found a few other fish bodies I had cut months and months ago. So they got a grind and polish as well. Love the small one.

©2016 Barry Smith - Some other Funky Fish bodies that were hanging around
Now it is a matter of setting aside time to add fins, tails, gills etc.

Roses rust

A few iPhoneography images from Japan