26 November 2009

Bike Thu

-Coppi and Bartali- an entertaining story of Le Tour rivalry.
-Rudge chainring- well, its a cool logo- but puzzlingly inappropriate-
its a sign for "stop" and its in a place that is clearly for feet.
-Old timers with old time geometry.
1896 Olympians Masson and Flameng

23 November 2009

Siren Song

Today's historical artefact:
Gold Earring
Greek, 300-330 B.C.
44 mm (so, about half as small as she appears on your screen)
shes a siren, playing a stringed instrument-- not so very seductive--
except maybe to the goldsmiths; because she's a virtuoso piece:
the strings measure a mere 0.1mm!!
shes wearing spherical earrings!
Are they the tiniest earrings ever??!!
It looks as if they are about 4 of her lyre's strings wide, so about 0.4mm diameter. thats like this big: "."

22 November 2009

L'Œuvre Peint

Its fascinating that Le Corbusier was a modernist zealot, well, on paper, at the start...
but seemed to just contradict all of that tight modernism with a whole lot of primitive, Picasso-esque, suspiciously colourful, decorative paintings - which I think is very balanced, in truth.
"Je suis un acrobate de la forme", he reckoned.
And I dont know if his famous little cabanon was all that functional, but it looks fun, anyway.
(actually maybe Corb was pretty sad toward the end... alone in his fun cabanon... poor old Corb.)
The very top pic is a mural with which he vandalised a wall of the 'E-1027' house by Eileen Grey)

19 November 2009

Thursday: Velo

Daily posting on The Gold on Smith is a challenge!
So, Im going to schedule the topics for each day of the week.
we'll see.
I thought:
Thursday, Bicycle day? maybe...
Fri can be Other Artists,
Mon can be My Stuff,
Tue can be Historical Artefacts,
Wednesdays could be Motif day
... hope this blows your hair back. I think the most successful blogs tend to
have a large proportion of self-generated content, yes, but I also like to post
things from elsewhere that are interesting to me... I think it all relates somehow
1. Columbus tubing stamp. Good bikes are made from special tubing- lighter,
stronger steel alloys- and are sometimes 'butted'- not the same wall thickness
throughout. Columbus is still a leading manufacturer, the motif is a dove-
('columba' signifies a dove) these days you'll only see a sticker rather than a
2.Gettin' around...
3.Peugeot Fool. from the owner's manual I think! Ha! well, I put this up because
its funny, and also because I recently scored an old Peugeot with nervex lugs
( very fancy). Will show you the restoration...
4. beauties from collectvelo. really like the old bidons ( drink bottles) and
good colours. Natural or white tyres.

18 November 2009

Difficult Motif: Spiral

(Can anyone set me straight on the plural of 'motif'?)
Anyway- some motifs /emblems etc are difficult- too many associations,
 some are irredemable.
(is that a word? my spell check doesn't like it)
So, Im going to present a series of Difficult Motifs.

If you can pull off a spiral,
 -a non-ironic, non-cynical one-
 well,  you've really got some élan, some éclat, some chutzpah.
1. roman? bronze
2.Calder. the model is great. Are the earrings good?  Im not sure. 
They are gutsy, and playful, yes- but maybe too much? please opine.
3. Jensen. Scando-folk vibe. Note reluctance to just have a spiral alone;
 evidently it was felt that balls were needed. 
4. (?) ancient... dynamic line is effective, (thick to thin) and the 
square profile too. as I understand it, ancient wire was not extruded
 through steel drawplates as it is today, but chiselled out of sheet as a 
strip that was then rolled between stone plates to round. This might
 explain the square profile? but then, it looks so laterally neat, extrudey.

17 November 2009

Rigg Revisit

(click pic to embiggen)

These works appeared in the Rigg award at the National Gallery of Victoria 
a few years ago.  Im revisiting. It was a privilege to have been included.
I thought quite carefully about this grouping- it is difficult to compose 
a coherent group of objects that have a strong 'solved' identity of their own.
Certain people (mainly Family: the toughest critics!) wondered about the
 logic of the set; how did they relate?

I thought I might explain some of it now.
What strikes me immediately about this group is how disparate and various it is.
Similar subjects are treated quite differently from one piece to the next, 
but I intended a balance and logic to this. There is a spectrum of realism/ abstraction, 
which I built into a linear 'sentence'. (sadly, the display of my linear arrangement 
was broken around the ridiculously obtuse corner of an ngv cabinet. 
I was very dissapointed, because the logic of my set was confused and veiwers
 literally had to walk around the back of someone else's display to see the rest of mine.) 

The large black plant brooch is very realistic; simulacra. 
It references Greek and Roman gold work. The ring with a tiny ploughman
 atop and the red white and blue flower brooch have more stylised execution, 
both in colour and form, not quite real.

The gold pendants have enscribed wheat motifs, so these are really drawings-
  another step toward abstracted representation.

The gold horse brooch and the bone flower earrings are flattened,
 cut-out graphic representations, becoming simpler and simpler.
 ( referencing metalwork from the Americas.) 
Finally, the wooden hair comb is completely abstract, just made up of coloured strips.
 (riffing on Pacific-culture combs, woven from plant material)
Im changing gears a lot here- some wouldnt like this- but Im inspired by
 ancient artefacts- where such contrasts are often effortlessly combined.
 Im following an instinct to mix it up, create tensions.
 I said in the statement that mystery is an important ingredient for creating 
preciousness- you've got to put in a pinch of wonder- a slight question; 
what is it made of? how was that done? make it slightly unfamiliar, 
without being alienating. Its a tricky but fun game. 
 the jeweller's raison d'etre is to make treasures, after all.

16 November 2009

12 November 2009

Torun again

torun again... modelling her own jewells, always with an expression that seems to say
"yeah , Ive got it and I know it"- yes, even when soldering- look, its there...
(except for that Picasso incident?)

11 November 2009

Beez Kneez

mixed beez kneez
-stay right where you are; at The Gold and Smith!
- Suze made a pixel portrait of us, which Ive updated; Esmé has grown , Joseph appeared!
-Oamaru- a strange town in New Zealand with an amazing victorian-era ghost-town bit. Id like to make some stuff here...
-a reminder to make tea for my wife...
-Fabergé. The Bolshevics came and he said "Ill just get my hat..."
-Bubo, the animate metal owl, from Clash of the Titans
-Lalique, my grandma has one of these- its a strange object...pretty big, like you could almost put your head in it.  In fact, Grandpa kept buying Lalique for her, so she has a collection. Once I put a 'cristal' Bic pen amongst them as a cheeky but earnest statement. I quite like the Bic. 
-Dutch obliqueness. note clogs (from...)
-Morris Louis.

10 November 2009

Torun fibula

A Jensen / Torun favourite.  I think I like the back best, with the hallmarks...

9 November 2009

Still Peel Again

Oh yeah, Ricky Swallow did include the peely-lemon symbol-motif-emblem-subject after all.
History of Holding
Killing Time - on the far right, dangling down over the table. ( and lobster too. Dutch status much!)

At Work

1&2. Picasso and Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe (designer and maker made famous by Georg Jensen- no wonder she shortened it to just "Torun") 
This scene kind of makes me uncomfortable. Is Pablo judging the work? Giving condescending advice? What does Vivianna's body language suggest? she's holding her tummy... is that protective? (or does she totally fancy him? and she's wearing about 5 pieces of her own jewellery)
3. How about this guy's Gaulish face? Almost Obelix. However, I think this Silversmithing workshop is totally staged- Can any of you young smiths tell me why you wouldnt put sheets of lead anywhere near your silverware? ( they've put it as interfacing on the vice)via christophle
4. A bike frame-builder, the late McLean Fonvielle. I thought he looked a lot like me, (in this pic anyway) and I really dig the butcher's block with massive granite alignment slab atop.
5. Le Corb. and his Modular. more on that soon. I think Mr.Modular must be an epic cyclist- check the calves!
6.Martin Puryear. a fairly awesome sculptor; strong carpentry-craftsmanship vibe.