RSS
 

Posts Tagged ‘Papier-mâché’

Dan’s Papers

18 Oct

Shortly after I agreed to be an exhibitor in the Odd Beauty museum exhibit in the Hamptons, I got an email from the curator, Art Donovan, saying I was in Dan’s Papers. I thought, what is Dan’s Papers? Then I opened the email and he said that he had just been interviewed by a writer for Dan’s Papers, one of the premier magazines in the Hamptons that has been in publication since the mid 1960’s.

In the interview, Art talked about what steampunk is, how it got started and why he feels this exhibit is important, both to art and to the Hamptons itself. Though I wasn’t mentioned by name, right at the top of the first page is a photo of one of the airships that I wound up taking there as part of my exhibit offering! Pretty cool!

Below is the link to the online issue of Dan’s Papers where you can flip through and see what goes on and is “reported” on, then you can go to page 45 where the aforementioned article starts!

Stay tuned for more on the exhibit as it unfolds and I have more to talk about and show you!

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.

 

Steampunk airship Christmas ornaments

28 Nov

For awhile now, I’ve been making steampunk airships that are quite large, like 1.5′ to 5.5′ long. However, lately, I’ve also been making them teeny tiny…like 5″ long. These little airship novelties are great hanging in your space at work, in your window at home or as ornaments on your holiday tree! What a perfect addition to your existing set of bulbs, or why not make steampunk the theme your entire tree! (They make great gifts too!)

In the following video, I show you some of these great steampunk ornaments that I just finished.

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 kind of people buy my sculptures?

22 Nov

Q: Who is it that wants to have one of my creations? I ask myself this question often because knowing who wants your stuff and how to get it to them is important!

A: The answer to the question varies a bit because I’ve had lots of very different people buy my work. I guess it starts with people who enjoy the steampunk aesthetic since most of what I’m doing right now revolves around steampunk one way or another. And, most of the steampunk stuff is airships or hot air balloons. I think that’s because in addition to steampunk being a visually cool genre, steampunk airships are a whimsical and fantastic look at a “what if” world. Steampunk airships are awe-inspiring and amazing, so even if you weren’t a huge fan of steampunk before, one of my sculptures would convert you!

Photo of Victorian style steampunk airship sculpture Anastasia,  36" long, (Maki size).

The Airship Anastasia

So, people who like steampunk, but what else? Certainly people who want that aesthetic to be a part of their home or business. I have had people commission pieces for their homes and I’ve had people commission pieces for businesses. The most notable were the two airships that I did for a Chicago corporate holiday party last year. Once their appearance was done at the party, they were to go to hang in the company’s corporate offices. The company, you ask? GOOGLE!

I guess the people who would buy my work boils down to people who love and appreciate steampunk and want to have elements of it on display in their homes and/or offices and are willing to pay what I ask for my work. It isn’t cheap…there is simply too much love, attention and time put into each piece. Like any serious artist, my pieces are like my children and it hurts me to see them leave the nest, but I love seeing the joy they bring to those who want them and I’ll continue to build these fantasy filled creations for as long as I’m able, but I’m not getting any younger. Better get yours while you can!

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.

 

A steampunk conversation with my son

05 Jul

Awhile back, I thought it would be fun to hear my son’s opinion on the steampunk movement since kids’ opinions are never what you think they’ll be. In this case, he kinda said what I expected, but there was a bit more comedy than I bargained for!

Enjoy the video…and the gag reel.

As always, I invite your comments, ideas and opinions. I also love it when you like, share and subscribe to my YouTube Channel, my Facebook page and this blog! Thanks!!

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.

 

My artistic process – Artsmith Craftworks

03 Jun

When I build my steampunk airships, or any other piece of art, I have a bit of a process that I follow…loosely, I guess. Sometimes I start with a sketch, sometimes I just grab pieces and start putting them together.

In the following video, I describe that process…or processes…

I’d love to hear what artistic process you use. Drop me a comment and please subscribe!

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.

 

My artistic philosophy

28 Apr

I create many types of art, from paper mache animals, to mosaics, to paper sculptures, to steampunk airship sculptures. However, most all of my art involves the use of repurposed materials and found objects.

In the video below, I detail my artistic philosophy!

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.

 

Google airships fly!

11 Apr

Back in November, I told you about building two commissioned steampunk airships for a production designer in Chicago. The build went very well and my client was very happy with the results. He drove from Chicago to my home near Flint, Michigan to personally pick up the airships so they would not be damaged in shipping, since they were for a corporate holiday party he had been hired to stage. The party was to have a steampunk theme.

He had told me when he arrived at my house, that his corporate client had been quite picky about the look and size of the pieces, since after the party, they would most likely be hanging in their corporate headquarters. You might also remember that when I asked him who his client was, his reply was GOOGLE!

I have been asking him for photos of the airships hanging at the party and he promised that he would send them as soon as he could, but that the photos would have to be approved by Google first.

Well, finally, after asking for about the third time, he replied that Google had finally approved some photos of the airships in place at the party venue BEFORE the party, during set up. I guess they didn’t want to worry about photo releases for those employees who might have shown up in the pictures. That’s OK I guess…at least we get to see what the set up looked like!

Photos of steampunk airships by Artsmith Craftworks hanging in place at the 2015 Google Holiday Party in Chicago.

Soaring in the clouds!

Photos of steampunk airships by Artsmith Craftworks hanging in place at the 2015 Google Holiday Party in Chicago.

Beautiful illuminated clouds…

Photos of steampunk airships by Artsmith Craftworks hanging in place at the 2015 Google Holiday Party in Chicago.

I hope to get to Chicago and try to see the airships hanging in the Google offices. When that happens, I’ll be sure to post photos of that trip!

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 started me building my steampunk airships?

16 Feb

People ask me all the time what in the world set me off on this path, building steampunk airship sculptures of all things. When I tell people I’m an artist, they usually ask if I’m a painter.   Nope… not in the classic sense anyway…

In the video below, I describe how I got started with airships and what other art I like to do.

What craft do you love and what got you started? I’d love to hear about it!

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.

 

My artistic philosophy

05 Feb

Why do I create artwork using repurposed materials? Well, aside from the fact that the found object craze in art is in full swing, I do it because I see magic in shapes. In the video below, I describe my artistic philosophy.

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 Victorian 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.

 

I love happy collectors!

22 Jan

When I get a phone call, a text or a comment on this blog with inquiries about my work, I obviously get very excited. Here is an opportunity to make someone happy by building the steampunk airship of their dreams. Sometimes they have some parameters for the build, but other times, they will say, “I like the one I saw at _____!” Or, “Can you make one similar to_____?” Then I’m off creating their piece.

The cool part is when they take delivery of the piece, usually via carefully packaged ground carrier. The emails I get, assuming no damage, are great…

<><><><><><><>

“Hi Stephan,

It arrived safely yesterday and my husband loves it! We hung it today (no mean feat as it involved drilling holes in solid concrete), and it is flying proudly in our study. Pix attached.


Thank you so much for your creativity and care – and for getting this done on a tight deadline. We will enjoy watching “Zeppo” fly for many years to come.”

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

<><><><><><><>

“I am impressed, its an amazing work of art. I know u said it would add more work and time to put the red scalloping on the balloon I was wondering if that is still an option? i think it would bring the colors into balance or proportion by adding the red to the center of the balloon. let me know what think u can do. like i said it is a truly amazing piece of work. i had no idea what to expect and it really came together. thank you for taking on this project for us and making the short time line.”

Collage photo of a commissioned blue and white steampunk hot air balloon with red banners and flags.

<><><><><><><>

Then there was this one, which was a two airship order for a Production Designer in Chicago who was hired to stage a steampunk Holiday party for a large company…

“They’re absolutely gorgeous. Be sure to give me some of your business cards and any other info you have. I’m sure that they’ll be a big hit and people will want to know the artist who made them. I’ll take pictures of them installed for you to put on your website.”

Then when I inquired as to how things went after the party…

“They loved everything. The zeppelins are going to hang in the offices. I am waiting for photos now and will share them when they come in. I passed off your cards, so they know who made them. Hopefully it leads to some business for you!”

This was the customer who when asked who his client was (the one throwing the holiday party) replied…GOOGLE!

I haven’t seen the actual party photos of the airships in place, but I’ll post them as soon as I get them.

I love happy collectors!

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.

 

The “Hot Rod” Airship

16 Nov

A steampunk airship can take on many personalities and styles. I say this because steampunk itself embraces many sub-genres and styles and is very often blatantly anachronistic. The steampunk airships I have built have ranged in style from more classic Victorian to Grunge, and from Angry Warship to cannon-lined Pirate ship.

This airship that I built this past summer had yet a different look. I was inspired by a child’s toy to do an airship that was reminiscent of a 1950’s hot rod.

Photo of Hotrod steampunk airship sculpture

“Hot rod” Airship

The airship fins have a flame pattern and the gondola has a “boat/car” look with that 50’s feel. It must have been as desirable as I thought it was when I built it, because it sold in less than a week at The Artisan’s Bench in Brighton, where I have many of my works for sale.

Closeup photo of Hotrod steampunk airship flame fins.

Hot rod airship flame fins

 

Closeup photo of Hotrod steampunk airship gondola.

Hot rod airship gondola

I currently have an airship in process that has a horn-shaped gondola suspended by a single pillar. I’m not sure what style I’d call THAT one, but it illustrates the variety possible within the basic shapes I often use. Other varieties possible include variations in the shape of the airship envelope itself, which I may do sometime soon. Funny thing is, the favorite seems to be the classic Victorian arrangement, with a ship-shaped gondola suspended with netting.

That’s OK…it’s a cool look…

I’d be happy to hear what ideas you have for airship configurations. Please comment with your ideas, and be sure to like my Facebook page!

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 Zeppo flies in Sarasota

30 Oct

I recently finished a commissioned airship order for a nice lady in Sarasota, Florida. She had seen the website and wanted to order an airship for her husband’s birthday. She liked the Victorian airship I had done that was purchased by my friends at Legendary Escapes, (home of Ask the Pool Guy). That ship had beautiful filigree on the bow and fins and was what we’ve come to call th “Maki size”, which is about 36″ long, plus or minus. She didn’t think she had space for one that size, so she decided to go with the smaller sized airship I do that is about 18-20″, but she wanted the filigree. So this is what the airship looks like, delivered and hung in their office. It’s a great location because it seems to float in an opening between their office space and the room beyond…sort of a balcony/overlook. When she sent me the photos after they hung the airship, she called it “Airship Zeppo”, so here’s Zeppo in flight…

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

Airship “Zeppo” flies at it’s new home

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

I think the airship looks fantastic in it’s new home and I hope that the new owners enjoy it for many years to come!

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.

 

Steampunk Airship delivery to Legendary Escapes!

04 Aug

This past Thursday, one of my latest creations found it’s way into the “clubhouse” and offices at Legendary Escapes Swimming Pools, and is now sailing next to it’s older sister ship, the “Original Maki”. The matriarch of Legendary Escapes, Sandi Maki, who the “sister ship” was named after, couldn’t resist the almost magnetic lure of the new airship when she saw it and sought at once to make the purchase!

Below is a video, shot by Sandi herself, of me talking about the newest addition to the airship collection at Legendary Escapes.

The owners of Legendary Escapes, Al Curtis and Sandi Maki, have always been ardent supporters of Artsmith Craftworks and the artworks that I create using repurposed and found objects. You can find them at the link above, and their very active Facebook page here.

Photo of Maki size medium Victorian Steampunk Airship by Stephan J. Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

Maki Medium Victorian

Drop me a comment line and let me know what you think of the new airship!

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.

 

Re-purposing… a personal passion

07 Jul

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about doing a regular post on the different elements that surround what I do. There are many topics to talk about, including re-purposing methods, raw materials, types of glue, detailing and antiquing, tools, assemblage techniques, dumpster diving, etc, etc.

Today, I’ll start with something simple, yet the very heart of my style…re-purposing.

As Americans, we throw away a lot of stuff. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve always had plenty. More than 500 years ago, we came to a land rich in natural resources and we’ve sure exploited them. The result is that there’s a steady stream of new, better, latest, bigger, faster and more. It used to keep us all working, but not so much anymore. Now it keeps the Chinese busy and the stuff we have is cheaper…in all ways. Things are now made to break and need to be replaced, Gone are the days when you had something repaired if it broke. Now, we just chuck it and get a new one…it’s cheaper to do that…by design.

Now we have land fills that are brimming over with not just our food waste, but our discarded stuff. Much of the stuff is still quite good, with a lot of life left in it, even if it’s not the latest style. This fact has prompted a movement that I certainly have joined, in which the discarded stuff is reused in some way. Sometimes it’s as is…vintage whatever. Sometimes we dress it up, put a fresh face on it and sell it as “reinvented” or “flipped”. What I do is even more deeply made over. I turn “junk” into parts for sculptures.

I say junk because often what I save are the everyday objects that truly, nobody else wants. Food container lids, bottle caps, pieces and parts from packaging materials, scrap plastic pieces, scrap wooden pieces, paper of all sizes, weights and colors, cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, paper and plastic tubes, pen parts, discount paint…and on and on and on. Believe me when I tell you that my wife is a saint. She not only has allowed me to fill our basement with all these assorted bits, but she actually participates sometimes in the hunt. She won’t go legs-up in a dumpster like I will, but if she spots something tasty, she’s been known to grab it. I have a rule at my house that no cool piece of anything gets tossed until I approve it. Even peanut butter lids are saved from the trash heap if I spot them first. I’m a hoarder, you say? Maybe, but if so, I’m a hoarder with a vision.

Photo showing scrap plastic objects that will be re-purposed into artwork.

Lids and caps

Photo showing scrap plastic objects that has been re-purposed into artwork.

Fin hub with stabilizers

I save all this stuff because at their very basic roots, these things are raw materials that I use to sculpt with. It’s really no different than any other artist going to an art supply store for their paint or clay or canvas or glue. I just use discarded shapes and colors and textures as my art materials. The really interesting thing is, these pieces already have an inherent character. A detail that adds to their appeal once incorporated into a sculpture piece. Anything can become anything if you learn to look at a golf tee and a ballpoint pen clip and imagine them as the nosecone on a steampunk airship. A piece of Venetian blind as a propeller blade, a section of a metal veggie steamer basket as a stabilizer fin. You just need to put on your special glasses and see things, not for what they are, but what they could become.

This is the core of my passion. This is how I do art.

Join me…

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.

 

Fellow steampunk fan loves his new Artsmith Craftworks airship

08 Jun

I got an email from a man named Don yesterday, who had purchased one of my airships in The Artisan’s Bench in downtown Brighton, Michigan. (I’ve mentioned them before). Don’s email was very complimentary and I’ve included it with permission below, along with the picture of the airship that he took of it hanging in his creative space. Thanks Don!

“Hi, Stephan: My wife and I were in Brighton yesterday and stopped in to The Artisans Bench. Saw your zeppelin’s and balloons and it was all over. I collect old clockwork toys (planes, tanks, submarines, armored cars), cannon models, dogs, dinosaurs, minerals, and on and on – a regular cabinet of curiosities.  Your airships are a perfect match – handmade, vintage vibe, mechanical mojo.

At one time I did a lot of pen and ink drawing (way back in the 80’s). Among the usual sword and sorcery stuff I liked creating fantastic machines. One of my favorite drawings is a man ‘o war hanging under a big zeppelin!  Buying your airship might just motivate me to get that one framed so they can hang together. Until then, I’ve got it in the computer room, hanging next to a working steam power motorcycle (I made the hangers from ladder chain and some old erector set pieces).

I’ve attached a picture of your airship in it’s new home. Thanks so much for making these masterpieces.”

Don

Photo of an Artsmith Craftworks steampunk airship hanging in its dispay position in its new owner's home.

Don’s airship in its new home

When I asked Don if I could post his email and photo, he went on to say:

“The very nice people at the Artisan’s Bench told me about your blog and web site and I read them when I got home – really great stuff. I haven’t seen work as well done as yours since I discovered the crabfu website (I think he’s an engineer or something, but he takes radio controlled cars and trucks and turns them into steampunk steam powered insect-like tanks – even a fully articulated steam powered centipede crawler).

I like the repurposed nature of your work, at first glance your pieces look all hand cast – then you start to recognize the forms within – very cool. I collect all the old toy parts I can find – then when building or repairing or setting up dioramas they all come into play.

Keep up the good work.”

Don

Thanks for the compliments, Don!

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.

 

Artsmith Craftworks on display

08 May

Though not a new happening, below are photos of my airships and balloons in the front of the Brighton, Michigan store, The Artisan’s Bench, where my work is always on display for sale. If you’re local to Brighton, I’d love to have you stop in and take a look. If you’re not local, then I need you to sell your house and move closer to the store…  Kidding!! But it does warrant a road trip to check out the fine offerings that The Artisan’s Bench represents…mine included!

Photo of steampunk airships and hot air balloons at The Artisan's Bench, built by Stephan J Smith.

Photo of steampunk airships and hot air balloons at The Artisan's Bench, built by Stephan J Smith.

Photo of steampunk airships and hot air balloons at The Artisan's Bench, built by Stephan J Smith.

Photo of steampunk airships and hot air balloons at The Artisan's Bench, built by Stephan J Smith.

Photo of steampunk airships and hot air balloons at The Artisan's Bench, built by Stephan J Smith.

I look forward to hearing about your visit to the store, or, I encourage you to look through this website, or my Facebook page (linked at the right), or drop me an email to tell me you need a custom piece that I will be happy to start as soon as possible!

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.