My parent’s 66th wedding anniversary today – easy to remember because it falls on Australia Day every year Thursday, Jan 26 2012 

A match made in heaven but alas my Mother passed away not 15 years after this photo was taken. My Dad is alive and was chirpy on the phone today, he’s in his 90th year he reminds us. Dulcie Marion Hansen made the cake for her own wedding as it was her hobby at the time, on scanning the meal it was a tossed crab & prawn salad with very fancy iced treats and Tristrams drinks on the table. A hand coloured print from Regent Studios, Brisbane c1947. Everyone looks their best although I know from family speak that it bucketed down with rain the entire day. The bride & bridesmaids photo is here, from the left is Dulcie’s sister Noela Hansen, my mum’s two best friends Jess Simmonds on her right and Dorathy Littler on the left.

We delivered this to him this morning and its on her finger this afternoon Wednesday, Jan 25 2012 

What a delight, Mary has her commissioned ‘pinky’ ring and now this one re-worked by Barbara and Juan-Luis in the studio. Robert & Mary turned up on the last day of our studio sale with a bottle of pink champagne and a few sparkles she doesn’t wear anymore . . . looking for a rejig (maybe). Barb said “I could simply cut the setting off the top of that ring, make a new wider band and laser weld it together” and they did.

The first ‘touring’ Tinsmith show’s invite for everyone – take notice of the dates and address Tuesday, Jan 24 2012 

Some readers will join the dots, my NAWCC Clock Chapter 104 held a watch and clock display at Pine Rivers a while back and we are now venturing out there again for the touring Tinsmith show in Feb 2012. Barbara’s artist talk is on the 10th at 6:00pm for 6:30pm. The hard cover catalogue is being printed in Hong Kong at the moment, will be interesting to see it as we have not been shown any proofs – the show is really out of our hands now. We have great faith in the touring body and Artisan and warmly invite all of you to venture a little north for the show. The Pine Rivers Heritage Museum is a great venue and holds the Roy Copper Clock Collection as well as a terrific static folk art and object show from the local catchment.

His 50th present to himself – collected yesterday with everyone well pleased Sunday, Jan 22 2012 

Commissioned Ring © Bh 2012 Signet swivel Ring with Katebami symbol in Shakudo and 18ct Yellow Gold with reverse side blackened Silver and 18ct Yellow Gold stamp detail.

The earlier designs were posted and then we hit the Xmas bench pressure – graciously, he said he would wait.

Commissioned Bracelet © Bh 2012 Katebami signature, double strand Bracelet with Bar & Ring clasp and linking details in Shakudo, 18ct Yellow Gold, blackened Silver, faceted Onyx, cabochon Yellow Sapphire with Queensland Spinel beads.

Barbara writes: Often a commissioned piece can be quite complex, the time from initial meeting to completion may span from a few weeks to a few months. There would be meetings or emails exchanged perhaps to review a sketch or fine tune a detail, sometimes a visit to the studio to simply enjoy a peep into the process. When at last the client comes to collect their piece its time for me to observe their response. I’m always mindful that there may be a little anxiety mixed in with the excitement – for them it may be a long anticipated meeting with this imagined object – now firmly realised. For us the  intense and invariably microscopic familiarity with each detail of the work must now pull back to a larger focus. The ideas discussions, explorations and potentialities behind us – the waiting object is now as fixed and finished as a full stop.
Sometimes I urge people not to feel obliged to express instant approval – it might be like making friends too soon with a stranger. There might be mixed emotions. Occasionally they ask if I am sad to let a laboured treasure go?
Today G. D. came for this ring and bracelet and lifting each in turn from the velvet tray noted the soft dark colour of the gold vs. the hard black of the Spinel, the symmetry and scale, the crisp line of the Katebami symbol and importantly the size – the satisfying snug fit around his wrist. Each piece was tried on and turned over, materials named again and the relationships of each component to the next appreciated.
Some find words easily to explore and describe their new object, some coo and aah, some email me later, fortunately only a few have ever remained silent.
The family symbol, the Katebami dark and elegant in its contrasting black and gold represents a familiar plant, the Wood Sorrel. How surprising to recognise its three leafed symmetry so common here, but known by another name Oxalis. I promised to show him  where it grows in our garden, but then forgot as we talked of other things before we parted. Although the big birthday has passed, no doubt wearing these pieces will be a mnemonic for a major milestone – I love the way people choose to reward themselves at these moments – it seems to me to express a kind of tenderness to oneself.

We are starting to work up designs from the Christmas Gem Sales – Debra Smith-Long in Perth: Wednesday, Jan 18 2012 

Barbara shot off this © Bh Earring design as I was busy sending gem photos to clients who requested emailed material. The Lady from Texas was first cab off the rank (again) . . .

Both parties let the Christmas dust settle and yesterday we completed another design which has been given the ‘go-ahead’. As Debra said in her email “Liking this one a lot as have been imagining something reticulated and free hanging — love the idea of more movement and light coming through!  Yippee — another Bh BEAUTY for the jewel box!  Let me know the details, please?”

1990 Signature Bracelet back to the studio for changes and a check-up, notice the older BH makers mark on the ring clasp? Friday, Jan 13 2012 

Wonderful Melbourne client who has purchased multiple items from Makers Mark, QAG Gallery Store and Handmark Gallery in Tasmania dropped her © Bh Signature Bracelet on the bathroom floor shattering the Snowflake Obsidian Pi Disc element. The original  jade disc in the piece was replaced with the Obsidian so this was a cherished attachment, nothing in the studio gem and shell collection was deemed suitable so we searched overseas for a replacement. Got to tell you – no supplier in the USA would send one piece to Australia (too much of a hassle, it seemed).

The studio set about making an oxidised  lace work replacement and cleaned and serviced the other components, which I must say have travelled beautifully on Judy’s right hand – hardly a scratch or dint was evident. Dispatched last night it was the second job away to interstate clients this week.

The 2012 year started this week, the powerpoint of the 2011 year is updated and both jewellers can’t leave the new Laser Pro welder alone Wednesday, Jan 11 2012 

More laser shots - 1 - 2 - 3

Our 2011 ‘work in review’ as a .pptx file downloadable powerpoint, click here.

I posted this mid December and have updated it today with the last commissions for the year. It has been rewarding to see that 72 people have downloaded and viewed it so far, the older style .ppt file is here also.

Updated text – ‘tinware’ explained from Barbara Heath Wednesday, Jan 4 2012 

An additional piece of text describing the ‘tinware’ history and how it applies to the show for the foreword:

Pure tin is an expensive and soft metal and it is not used alone, however its non-rusting qualities make it an invaluable coating. Early tinplate consisted of sheet iron coated with tin and then run through rollers, it was produced in factories in Great Britain using a process little changed from the 14th century. Britain enjoyed a monopoly on this manufacture until the late 1800′s and their tinplate was packed and shipped around the world, it was a malleable metal easily worked with the simple tools of the early tinsmiths.

It is important to know that the tinplate used by earlier tinsmiths is not available today – it really is extinct. Today tinplate has been replaced by galvanised steel – zinc coated steel, a rust resistant metal with a far greater strength and lighter weight, entirely designed for the needs of the building industry. The gradual evolution of this product from around 1890 to the present day, has been in response to numerous technical innovations, the changing needs of the manufacturer and the market demand.

Interestingly the word ‘tin’ has become so much a part of our colloquial vocabulary that we use erroneously to describe many variants from the tin shed (galvanised steel), to the tin roof (corrugated steel) even an aluminium dinghy is called a (tinny). In the new objects made for the exhibition I tried to replicate some of the wonderful working qualities of that early tinplate, which is no longer available today.

We have employed copper sheet in these works as it is malleable and easily worked and as tin has a low melting temperature – a gas torch is hot enough to melt the tin which can then be spread over the surface of the copper. Included in the item inventory is a sample piece of copper which we have ‘tinned’ as well as the steel wool we used to drag the molten tin over the surface of the copper - this is just what we did. It is not what old tinsmiths would have done, they would have purchased their tinplate from Britain.

“Basic to the workshops of this period 1778–1908 were the smith’s small charcoal stove or brazier for heating the soldering irons, called coppers, as well as the divider, compass and scratch awl, all essential to striking his patterns onto the shiny tinplate, and the patterns or templates for specific tin articles. These templates were often passed down from one generation of tinsmiths to the next. Each set or nest, usually several pieces for any one form, was put on its own wire loop and hung with dozens of others along the shop’s walls.”
To Cut Piece and Solder: The Work of the Rural Pennsylvania Tinsmith 1778–1908′ Jeanette Lasansky. pp 8.

Tinsmith: An ordinary romance is about to tour regional Queensland in 2012 and 2013 Wednesday, Jan 4 2012 

The ‘touring agency’ is Craft Queensland trading as Artisan with Barbara Heath as ‘the solo artist’ and Barbara Heath and Malcolm Enright as ‘Curators’. Having dealt with the objects and research material previously, Kirsten Fitzpatrick & Simone Jones have taken the content and flown with it extremely well. The list of ‘tin’ lenders are the Gillespie family, the Hesse & Allom families with Juan-Luis Gonzalez’s pieces and those from my own Urban Archaeology collection. The most exciting benefit will be a proper touring catalogue. The detail below confirms the catalogue content, only the designer has changed due to the tight deadlines over the holiday period.

2012 and 2013 touring catalogue – Tinsmith: An ordinary Romance. Specs: · Hard cover book with dust jacket, possibly with embossing on the cover (of silhouettes from Barbara’s work potentially, designer is still exploring options) · End papers · 40 page full colour · Spot varnishing on selected pages – possibly of tin pattern silhouettes Contents: · Foreword by artisan CEO, Liana Heath · Barbara’s essay on Tinsmithing · Essay on Barbara’s works by Miriam Carter · Barbara’s CV – we are using the full one from the website, please let me know if there is anything new to be added? · Images from original publication and new photographs of Barbara’s works. We are printing in Hong Kong in order to be able to deliver a gorgeous, high level publication. Works will be photographed this week and text will be finalized by next Wednesday to allow design over Christmas. Final files will go to Hong Kong 12 January. Melanie Schafer is designing the publication and she is going to start sending through initial design concepts soon, which we’ll forward on for your thoughts. The retail price will be $9.95 during the exhibition as this is part of the funding agreement with the Gordon Darling Foundation.

So we have a slightly reduced list of research works because of venue size, insurance & logistics, otherwise the show is put together with new studio-made objects that will tour to the following venues:

Pine Rivers Heritage Museum 31 January–1 April 2012, Bribie Island Seaside Museum 5 April–3 June 2012, Redland Art Gallery 24 June–22 July 2012, Cobb & Co Museum 10 September–17 November 2012, Gladstone Regional Art Gallery 14 December–16 February 2013, Ipswich Art Gallery 2 March–28 April 2013, Stanthorpe Regional Gallery 23 May–30 June 2013, The Centre for Scenic Rim Art and Culture, Beaudesert Mid September–October 2013.

Just so you know . . . Monday, Jan 2 2012 

. . . also the Darwin Awards link

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