Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest post - Barry Smith

From Junk to Jewellry
by Barry Smith


A conversation that pops up from time to time amongst artists is: what do you call the art of those who take discarded and found materials and objects and turn them into something new.

Ken Munsie says his work is “rescued assemblage art”; SooZeQue seems to be a “resurrectionist”; Luthien is a mixed media artist; Mairedodd and Noela Mills lean towards “wabi sabi”; and Stregata is a “collector”.  

So what tag do I want to associate with my art and jewelry? I have decided after some thought to call myself a metamorphic. Why? Because in the main my work is characterised by metamorphosis or a change in physical form or substance. I love to take metal and objects and give them a new life as something else and imbued with other meanings. 





I am both a hands and head artist. I love the physical aspects of my making – cutting, recycling, dismantling, beating, attaching, polishing; and I also like my work to have the potential to not only portray some aspect of change and beauty but also to offer the opportunity for deeper meaning and messages.

Four factors merge in what I do:

  • use my hands (part of me is in the work);
  • re-use materials (don’t leave too big of a footprint on the environment);
  • be mindful (impart meaning and energy into what I’m working on); and
  • enjoy what I do (find joy in the creative process).  


I mostly start with a product in mind. I don’t often sketch the piece but I have an image in my mind’s eye. I try not to be rigid in how the piece will end up - if along the way I see a direction I can take or an element that I can add I often let that new element in. So the final piece often has many of the characteristics of what I envisaged but also those that came with the flow.

My art works can take many forms and sizes – a piece of ‘harvested’ EPNS jewelry; a foldformed cuff bracelet; a formed metal leaf; a beaten meditation bowl; a font for reflection; a timber monolith or marker; sometimes it can even cover the side of a building.



Earrings harvested from EPNS serving tray

Bracelet – former life – knapsack sprayer

Leaf – brass  - former life a jardinière

Meditation palm bowl – former life jardinière

Font – former life knapsack sprayer and jardinière

Flow - timber monolith – salvaged rose gum and rusted bolts

Recycled corrugated iron wall installation


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You can check out my work at on my website,
follow my art and etc. journey on my blog

or view some collaborative art jewelry I am involved in here...



9 comments:

mairedodd said...

thank you barry so much for sharing your process and vision - i am always so appreciative of the effort, knowledge and talent it takes for your pieces to make their way from beginning to end...

Luthien said...

wonderful article for those of us who loves the worn and aged :) and indeed your work can be no less than a metamorphosis ... a transformation from old to new, from one form to another, a rejuvenation ... not unlike a phoenix rising again from the ashes :)
thankyou for sharing with us your creative process and the thoughts that shape your beautiful work.

Patty said...

Barry (a man who shares the same name as my husband!) - your work is amazing and inspiring. I checked out your collaboration pieces and they're wonderful! I *love* the idea that you are rescuing metals from the landfill, and creating such beauty from them. Bravo!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Thank-you for such an inspirational post! I enjoyed reading it. I'll check out your blog and website later on when I have more time....
MaryAnn

Suzane Weck said...

Lindissimas tuas criações .Adorei todas.Parabéns e um grande abraço.

Barbara said...

Amazing work Barry and thanks for joining us! I love how you've described your process and I'm particularly drawn to your bowls and fonts! I really enjoy how I might not guess that your pieces had a former past....It speaks even more mystery to me....

Lisa said...

it's always a pleasure to see and hear about your amazing process of recycling and re-purposing..so glad you were featured here..I can never get enough of your talent and inspiration!

stregata said...

Metamorphic - I like that! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your process - and your art.
Now I want to hammer some metal...

Barry said...

First of all thanks to the LMAJ team for inviting me to be a guest poster on your blog - it is always an honour to be invited by people who are recognised artisans in their field and who are generous to share with others.
MD, L, P, ABP, SW, B, L * S/R - thank you for your comments - great to have your direct support and feedback. MD - what I love about aspects of the blog community is that we learn so much from each other and are inspired by each other. L-from one collector and recycler to another it is good to have fellow crazy folk as part of the team. P - rescuing and reusing is good. L- you do my creative spirit a lot of good. S/R - glad you liked metamorphic - I think if we work on it we could be the foundation members of a new art genre?? Thanks folks. Go well and create well in 2012. B

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