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Posts Tagged ‘copper’

Steampunk airship parts from found objects

15 Jun

My main artistic philosophy is to create cool art from repurposed and found objects. Today, I thought I’d show how I imagine these pieces and parts into steampunk airship features. Enjoy the video, and please give it a like, share it with a friend and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Repurposing cardboard into steampunk airship gondolas – Artsmith Craftworks

09 May

One of the major activities I engage in when creating my art is repurposing everyday objects into something else. A couple of the things I repurpose the most are paper and corrugated cardboard…  simple and seemingly utilitarian materials that we all take for granted. Not me. I look at these materials with love and excitement. I’m passionate about art using repurposed materials, but at the very core of my being, I love paper and other materials made with paper, such as cardboard, fiberboard, handmade paper, recycled paper, papier mâché and on and on.

In today’s post, I include a video in which I talk about how I transform scrap corrugated cardboard into the framework of the steampunk Victorian airship gondolas I create. Once these cardboard pieces are put together, I cover them in a variety of outer skins, from wood to copper and brass to steel or other metals. Of course, what I use is not really wood or metals…it’s paper…made to look like metal. That’s just how I roll.

Enjoy!

What materials do you like to use in your art? I’d love to hear your comments! Also, please share these posts with other friends and artists you know. Let’s get a conversation started!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Propeller process

07 Mar

I get asked all the time how I made a particular part on one of my steampunk airships. I’m also told that I should do DIY pictures and videos, and truthfully, I do take progress photos when I’m working on an airship. I do this because I have always thought that someday I’d do some sort of steampunk DIY book or something.

With that said, I thought I’d post a few photos showing how I did a particular propeller for a particular airship. Of course, this is only one example, because I’ve done dozens and dozens of different propellers in many different ways.

This one is made using a scotch tape core and 8 of those little plastic tasting spoons…you know, the ones they have in samples passed out in grocery stores. So they started like this…

Photo of repurposed pieces to be used in making a steampunk airship propeller.

Then I cut slits in the outer ring of the tape core and glued the ends of the spoons into them. You’ll also notice that I cut a thin cardboard ring that was glued to the top side of the tape core for a smooth look. For plastics, I either use super glue or E6000, depending on how the pieces go together and what stresses they may be subject to. Super glue is great for “matching fits” and the E6000 is a gel-like glue that can fill small spaces and it a bit more flexible, so it was what used in this case. As with all volatile glues, don’t breathe the fumes. Use in a ventilated area or wear an approved respirator!

Photo of repurposed pieces glued together, making a steampunk airship propeller.

After all the glue dried, I then spray with a copper spray paint for the metal look I wanted. I use a couple different ones depending on the desired finish. In this case, I used Rustoleum’s Hammered series in copper color.

Photo of copper painted propeller made of repurposed materials to be used on a steampunk airship.

Finally, I used a couple different green acrylic paints to add a patina or corrosion look to the propeller. Some people like the shiny copper look, but I’ve always been partial to the patina look and think it adds realism and character to the piece.

Photo of copper painted and patinaed propeller made of repurposed materials to be used on a steampunk airship.

So this is what you wind up with after adding the patina. See how it looks rusty and aged? This is why I like it so much. After the patina, I’ll add accents like copper rivets, (just blobs of paint), which adds contrast and interest and even a bit more realism.

What techniques do you like to use? Send me comments and photos and I’ll be happy to show what some of you are doing!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

How large are my steampunk airships?

13 Feb

When people see my airships online or see photos of them in other places, they nearly always ask me how large they are. Often the photos I’ve taken have no way to show scale and since they are quite detailed, it’s difficult to tell how large they are. In the video below, I talk about the sizes of my airships.

In future videos, I’ll show how I choose individual pieces to get implemented in my airship construction. You’ll see how something discarded as junk can become wondrous, whimsical and magical as art! Cardboard becomes copper by painting, plastic when reused as building material becomes amazing art. When you recycle old stuff into art, it becomes cool stuff.

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

What inspires my steampunk airships?

09 Feb

I get asked often what inspires the airships that I build. How do I come up with ideas? What kinds of materials do I use and how do I choose what found object becomes what part of my airship build? In the video below, I talk about that process.

In future videos, I’ll show how I choose individual pieces to get implemented in my airship construction. You’ll see how something discarded as junk can become wondrous, whimsical and magical as art! Cardboard becomes copper by painting, plastic when reused as building material becomes amazing art. When you recycle old stuff into art, it becomes cool stuff.

What art have you created by repurposing something? I look forward to your reply, just use the comment section below!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Repurposed art

11 Jan

Since my artwork revolves around the repurposing of discarded and found objects, I want to periodically post examples of what other people are doing using repurposed materials in art. Repurposed art can range from simply creating an abstract object by grouping random pieces and parts together (assemblage), to making specific items such as furniture, wall hangings, and other useful items out of similarly shaped found object components. The new pieces can be painted a new color in order to create a uniform appearance or left unfinished to show off the repurposed components. Found objects such as furniture can also simply be reused for another purpose. I’ve seen dressers used as TV stands and baby cribs or mismatched dining room chairs turned into nice benches.

The items shown in this post are not my work, but rather things I found photos of on other sites. Appropriate credit will be given when possible.

from trash to treasure (5)

from trash to treasure (11)

from trash to treasure (3)

from trash to treasure (7)

from trash to treasure (8)

from trash to treasure (6)

from trash to treasure (10)

from trash to treasure (19)

My friend Allan Curtis, Ask the Pool Guy of Legendary Escapes Pool Co. is a master of using flea market and estate sale finds in the fantastic swimming poolscapes he creates.

Repurposing objects takes just a little imagination and a desire to prevent trashing things with character and life left in them. It’s an art form and a philosophy of thrift and ecology as well.

What will you create repurposing found objects?

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Airship Christmas ornaments

21 Dec

I recently finished two different sets of little steampunk airship Christmas ornaments for some friends of mine. I had started them awhile ago, then with the other work I was doing, I had put them on the back burner. They turned out even better than I expected and they were a huge hit; so much so that I have orders already for next year. Guess I better get busy. I’ll post links to my Etsy site once I get some finished for 2016. Set #1 is very Victorian looking with red, gold and green colors. In this set, there are two airships and one steampunk hot air balloon.

Photo of a set of three steamunk airship Christmas ornaments. Colors, red, gold and green.

Set #1 Victorian steampunk style in red, green and gold

Set #2 is a bit more grunge steampunk looking, with metallic colors and rigid gondolas…

Photo of a set of three steamunk airship Christmas ornaments. Colors, metallic copper, bronze and brass.

Set #2 Grunge steampunk style in copper, bronze and brass

Needless to say, the sets didn’t last long. They were for a party raffle and were so popular that they were separated into individual pieces, not sets, so that there were 6 prizes instead of two.

As always, I encourage comments and dialogue. Drop me a line to ask questions, make suggestions or order a custom airship of your very own and let me know what you think or the ornaments and if you want a set for next holiday season!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Airships in Chicago

14 Dec

Early in November, I got a call from a man named David Krause of Big Works, Inc. Seems David, or “Big” as he is called, was hired to stage a corporate holiday party in Chicago. The theme of the party was to be steampunk and he found my website and wanted to commission two medium sized airships. After some discussion about specifics, I got busy working on them because he had a deadline of November 30, since the party was on December 3rd.

Since Big wanted progress pictures sent, I snapped a few shots as I went along…

Photo montage of a grunge steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks. Commissioned by Big Works, Inc.

Airship #1

Photo montage of a Victorian steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks. Commissioned by Big Works, Inc.

Airship #2

When the airships were finished, Big drove from Chicago to Michigan to pick them up personally and take them back so they would be safe. When he arrived, he was very happy with them and excited to reveal them to his client.

Next post, I’ll include photos of the staging at the Chicago party, as well as reveal who the client was…hint…it’s a VERY well known company!!

As always, I look forward to your comments…

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Wouldn’t you like to fly in my beautiful…

07 Jun

Balloon!

I mentioned in my previous post that there was a repeat order for two more steampunk hot air balloons from the person who bought the first one, so here they are.

Orange and yellow

Orange and yellow

Gondola close up

Gondola close up

She had indicated that she wanted one to have a yellow and orange stripe pattern and the other to have green and teal, so here’s the second balloon…

Green and teal

Green and teal

Gondola close-up

Gondola close-up

Both have the patina of age and the copper and brass look that I use on my steampunk pieces.

So now I’m off and running on yet another steampunk hot air balloon and several other airships. The fun never ends!

As always, I encourage comments and dialogue. Drop me a line to ask questions, make suggestions or order a custom airship of your very own!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or by phone at 810-516-7381.

 

18″ Steampunk airship 003

22 Apr

Today’s post is a mid-range size steampunk airship. This dirigible has a more “grunge” gondola with the propeller mounted on it instead of on the airship envelope like others I’ve done. It also has a pillar mount rather than the more Victorian looking netted suspension and the fins are a plate copper design. The overall length is about 18″ due to the propeller being on the gondola.

18" steampunk airship 003.

18″ steampunk airship 003

Gondola detail

Gondola detail

As always, I encourage comments and dialogue. Drop me a line to ask questions, make suggestions or order a custom airship of your very own!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and repurposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and upcycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on repurposing/upcycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or by phone at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk airship 002

22 Feb

Today’s post is a recently finished Victorian style steampunk airship. This one is approximately 24″ in length overall and has very decorative stabilizer fins and a wooden propeller with scaffolded prop struts.

As always, this airship uses repurposed/found object, cardboard, paper and papier-mâché in its construction. How many recognizable objects can you identify?

SMAirship02 021w©

I encourage comments and dialogue. Drop me a line to ask questions, make suggestions or order a custom airship of your very own!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and repurposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and upcycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on repurposing/upcycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or by phone at 810-516-7381.

 

Small steampunk gunship #2

18 Dec

Another of the 12″ steampunk airships that I built for the 2012 World Steam Expo in Dearborn Michigan.  Similar in shape and design, but with some modification. Like my other airships, it uses recycled, repurposed materials.

12" Steampunk Gunship Airship 02

12″ Steampunk Gunship Airship 02

If this ship is one that you would like to have built as part of your own home steampunk display, don’t hesitate to email me for details!

As I said before, I welcome all comments!

 

18 inch Victorian steampunk airship #1

13 Dec

This is the first of a new mid-range sized airship I started which is about 18″ long. This particular airship has a Victorian aesthetic, with a ship-like gondola, suspended with netting and cable. The propeller is a frame and sailcloth style, rather than a solid style.

18" Victorian Steampunk Airship

18″ Victorian Steampunk Airship

From the bow, you can see a bit more detail in the gondola.

Bow view

Bow view

And a close-up of the propeller…

Aft view

Aft view

I’d love to hear what you think of this ship. Drop me a comment!

 

 

Small steampunk gunship #1

03 Dec

This is a 12″ steampunk airship that I built originally for the 2012 World Steam Expo in Dearborn Michigan. I actually built four of them, but this one and one other are the only two I have photos for. I’ve built quite a few at this size, and they are nice, but surprisingly, they seem to be less popular than a version I’m doing lately that’s about 50% larger. I try to build airships that capture a Victorian whimsy or a harder edge steampunk aesthetic, but that always look well used machines, not bright, shiny relics.

12" Steampunk Gunship Airship 01

12″ Steampunk Gunship Airship 01

This airship is a simple Victorian design that, like all my other work, uses recycled, repurposed materials. I save scraps of just about anything to use as raw materials for my sculptures. My wife thinks I teeter on the edge of being a hoarder, but I’m more of a saver of artistic elements, so I guess I hoard with a purpose!

I’d like to say that there is a link for this to my Etsy site for purchase, but alas, this one is sold. If this ship is one that you would like to have built as part of your own home steampunk display, don’t hesitate to email me for details!

What type of features would you like to see on the airships I build? I welcome all comments!

 

The battery compartment

01 Sep

As mentioned, the battery needs a believable housing and I started with a mint container, then cut it in half and created a lip so that a slide-on top was possible.

Mint container as a battery compartment

Mint container as a battery compartment

Building the battery compartment

As you can see, after the battery compartment was built, I added plastic pieces for detail and interest. I then painted the whole piece with an antiqued copper paint.

The painted battery case

The painted battery case

Then I added a patina with green acrylic paint…

Battery compartment with patina added

Battery compartment with patina added

Next time, I’ll show adding the “fur” to the steampunk deer. It’s coming together now! Stay tuned!

 

 

The mechanical cyborg steampunk eye (cont.)

25 Aug

Well life sort of got in the way and it’s been awhile since I last posted…sorry! To continue with the mechanical cyborg steampunk eye, I’m going to show what I applied beneath the eye before I attach it. My goal for the steampunk deer head was to make the cyborg eye light up. I figured while I was at it, a sublit antler would be cool too, but I’ll show that in another post.

I started with a small, single diode, battery operated LED light. Since this runs on a single 9-volt battery, I need to provide a housing for that, as well as a switch. I elected to go with a red push button type switch. I also want the light to be reflected so that it’s amplified a bit. A piece of foil from the packaging of a contact lens seems to fit the bill.

LED light, switch and reflector

LED light, switch and reflector

First, I added the foil for the reflector behind the cyborg eye…

Reflector in place

Reflector in place

Then I ran wires for the light, taped them in place, then went over them with more mache strips to conceal them.

Taped wires

Taped wires

More tape added

More tape added

Next post, I’ll show the building of the battery compartment…and I promise not to be gone so long!

 

 

The mechanical cyborg steampunk eye

20 Jul

First of all…an apology for not posting in so long, but after the show at the Artisan’s Bench, things got hectic. I not only got a couple orders for commissioned airship pieces, but I’ve been preparing a new workspace and all that has taken a lot of my time.

Today, I’m posting how I built the mechanical eye on the steampunk deer head. I had an old bakelite 220 plug cover that looked cool, so I scuffed it up and painted it copper, antiqued it with a green patina, then drilled out a hole large enough to accommodate an old magnifying glass that I’ve had literally for years. I thought that the combination of these two things would make a cool eye.

Painted Bakelite plug in upper left

Painted Bakelite plug in upper left

Drilled out Bakelite plug

Drilled out Bakelite plug

Magnifying glass in place

Magnifying glass in place

For grins, I thought I’d make the eye red. This is simple, since I collect pieces of broken auto tail lens as well… (don’t ask…). So I shaped a piece of this tail lens and glued that to the underside of the eye.

Tail lens piece and underside of eye

Tail lens piece and underside of eye

Lens in place in mechanical eye

Lens in place in mechanical eye

Now that I’ve shown the construction of the steampunk cyborg eye, I need to show what I decided to put under it, but I’ll save that for next time.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Steampunked ear on the deer head

14 Jun

OK, now that the Grand Opening is done at The Artisan’s Bench, I’ll get back to posting progress on the steampunk deer head mount. I said last time that I would show how I started putting together the steampunk ear. I did the “live” ear last post, which was corrugated cardboard covered in mache. The steampunked ear will obviously be mechanical looking.

I thought a piece that looked like a “receiver” would be a good place to start and I had an old brassy looking shower head that seemed to fit the bill. To hold the ear shape onto the base, I used a plastic jar lid that I had cut open and removed the top flat portion.

Jar lid cut for deer ear

Jar lid cut for deer ear

The ear base

The ear base

To form the ear, I used some white cardstock that I will paint to look like sheet copper.

Cardstock cut to ear shape

Cardstock cut to ear shape

Then, the cardstock gets attached to the plastic ring with glue and small screws and beads.

Cardstock bolted to the ear ring

Cardstock bolted to the ear ring

To make the center look more like it would pick up sound, I used a random plastic piece that looks like a stalk, and half of a cat toy.

Center "hearing" pieces

Center “hearing” pieces

All put together, we have this…

Ear all put together

Ear all put together

Finally, I painted the assembly using my favorite copper spray paint, then adding aging with a nice green patina.

Steampunk deer ear painted with patina added

Steampunk deer ear painted with patina added

Next time, I’ll construct more of the pieces that I want to add to the sculpture.

What steampunk projects do you have plans to construct?

 

 

 

 

 

Adding “flesh” to the steampunk deer head

05 Apr

Now that provisions for the antlers are in place, I can start to “flesh out” the deer head. I began by filling the void areas in the wooden armature with wads of newspaper, then going over that with rolled newspaper, which I fl;attened out a bit and trimmed to fit. I taped those pieces in place with masking tape and kept building on that until the desired shape was reached, reffering often to several different photos I’d printed from the net.

Adding "flesh" to the deer head

Adding “flesh” to the deer head

More layering….

A more smoothed out look

A more smoothed out look

Once I had the basic shape I wanted, I decided to spray the “copper” antler so I didn’t have to be careful with where the paint went. I knew I’d be covering the newspaper later.

Copper sprayed antler

Copper sprayed antler

The “real” antler will wait until I start adding the actual mâché to the deer head. But for next time, I’ll add detail to the face and that will include providing a base for the eyes, both “real” and cyborg…

Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

Steampunk deer antlers

01 Apr

Now I’ll show how I constructed the antlers for the steampunk deer head. I originally wanted to make one antler look natural, while the other look like a steampunk cyborg replacement of copper pipe. The problem is, the price of copper is so high right now, that it would have cost $50 just in that small amount for the antler. I decided that I could do a good job of making PVC look like copper with only a fraction of the cost. With some research, I arrived at a design for my antlers and got to work.

The natural side would be made of papier-mâché, but would need an armature. Looking around my junk pile, I found an old rusty drill bit extender that I bent into the right shape and glued it into a drilled out hole in the deer head armature.

Bent drill bit extender as armature

Bent drill bit extender as armature

From here, I added another piece of metal rod I found, then bent into shape, and used the tightening nut on the drill bit extender to affix it.

More length added and bent into shape

More length added and bent into shape

Then, I found an old leaf rake head and removed a couple metal tines and bent them around the rods and Gorilla glued them in place as the armature for spikehorns on the antler. Great way to upcycle and repurpose some old junk!

Rake tines as spikehorns

Rake tines as spikehorns

For the pipe side, I began by drilling a hole in the wooden armature that was large enough to accomodate a threaded PVC coupler and glued and screwed in in place.

PVC coupler as anchor for pipe antler

Now the rest of the antler can be cut, shaped and glued into place.

The whole rack, ready for detailing

The whole rack, ready for detailing

Next time, I’ll show how I began adding the thickness of the flesh to the deer head and how I made provisions for the eyes. Stay tuned!