Vito Bila ‘Unseamly Vessels’ @ Craft

19 08 2014

There simply aren’t enough silversmithing exhibitions.
Large scale metalwork is magnificent.
Vito Bila is one of smiths I admire most.
He is showing a collection of work at Craft, titled ‘Unseamly Vessels‘.

It’s a particularly apt title I think, for in my eyes the work has evolved from exceptionally minimal vessels (of many years ago) to these pieces …



… where the seams are distinctly obvious, exaggerated or highlighted. Some with texture, some with technique, and some with thick application of alternative metals (in the aluminium on copper vessels).

A handful of the pieces on show are from 2007, with others from 2011 and since.

The below vessels are the standouts to me – stainless steel, with precision-spaced welding dots … beautiful. The paper studies for these were in the previous exhibition I saw of his work, at Monash.

Vessel cluster #1 (2012)

Vessel cluster #1 (2012)

I’m at a bit of a loss with respect to the chosen exhibition design (the off-angle green one at the back upsets my peculiar penchant for lined up edges) – perhaps the uneven and distinct tables reflect the seams on the vessels. That said, the pre-loved work tables are a most effective contrast to the refined cabinets of the ‘Transplantation‘ exhibition in the same room.

Best of all, it pleases me no end that there is not a highly polished surface in sight.

Vito Bila ‘Unseamly Vessels‘ is at Craft until 30th August 2014.


See also: September 2012 Vito Bila ‘narrative


Vito Bila ‘narrative’

20 09 2012

Since first seeing one of Vito’s silver vessels in Craft Victoria … perhaps in 2002 … I’ve very much admired his work. In fact, I’ve wished to add one of his fine silver vessels to my collection for years. Ah, maybe one day.

I happened to be in the area today and so on a whim popped in to see his masters exhibition ‘narrative‘.

photograph published with artist permission


photograph published with artist permission

I loved the paper studies on the left of the above image … magic. Naturally I also wanted the silver pieces above; and to my surprise also very much liked the piece in-between, which for some reason reminded me of a bronze-age kind of aesthetic.

Seeing such beautiful smithing like this makes me want to get back into smithing … it is such an enjoyable (though physically testing) task. It’s a shame there are hardly any places to learn smithing or practice it, as the sheer scale of the space needed and the many tools (hammers and stakes), not to mention the large annealing torches(!) seems prohibitive. If you know of anywhere I could practice smithing, like a space for some-time rent or such, please do let me know. [I notice that NMIT now has a smithing evening class … which is cool, but evening classes don’t suit me right now, though maybe next year.]

narrative’ by Vito Bila was at Monash University 18th – 20th September 2012.