RSS
 

Posts Tagged ‘Zeppelin’

I’m now in The Rumjahn Gallery!

15 Jan

A few weeks ago, I got a phone call. While I was working on finishing up a couple hot air balloons for The Artisan’s Bench, another gallery, The Rumjahn Gallery, called to ask a few questions. You see, the owners, Tina and Howie Rumjahn, recently purchased the gallery and wanted it to have a steampunk theme. They of course decided that the way to do that was to have a steampunk airship as the focal point, and would I have an airship they could purchase?

At the time, I didn’t have one, but said that I could build them one. At this point, Howie said that they would love to represent me as well by having other pieces of mine for sale in the gallery. Now I know it’s a long way away, but I thought, “why not extend my reach into the Midwest?” So, I told Howie I was in. Now, seven and a half or eight hours in a car is a long time, but I offered also to deliver the pieces rather than try to ship them, so a road trip was in the future.

That future is now past because on Thursday, January 12, 2017, I delivered six pieces to The Rumjahn Gallery. I’m happy to have been asked and I look forward to a fantastic showing there! Below is a video of a “walking tour and conversation” I had with Howie Rumjahn that evening after the pieces had all been hung up for display. In it, we talk about steampunk and how balloons and airships were an iconic part of the Victorian Era, which is the time period steampunk takes it’s soul from.

Enjoy the video and don’t forget to like, share 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.

 

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.

 

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 goes Hollywood (part 4)

06 Feb

The night of the Red Carpet event happens and the airships by Artsmith Craftworks fly high over the crowd of young film makers. The theme of the night being steampunk, many cool decorative items can be seen, setting the mood for the event. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Orange County Film Festival Red Carpet

Orange County Film Festival Red Carpet

Orange County Film Festival Red Carpet

OCFF_2014_0182s

OCFF_2014_0189s

OCFF_2014_0199zs

OCFF_2014_0200s

OCFF_2014_0372zs

Diabolus on stage

Diabolus on stage

OCFF_2014_1022sOCFF_2014_1066sOCFF_2014_1295s

I’m glad I got the chance to have my work displayed at an event that honors those in the film arts. I anxiously await the call ordering airships for the next big Hollywood steampunk feature!

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.

Photo of the Orange County Film Festival Red Carpet Event. Stephan J Smith. Artsmith Craftworks. steampunk airship

 

Artsmith Craftworks goes Hollywood (part 2)

10 Jan

I got up early on Christmas Eve day and did some calculations for crate sizes based on my airships’ dimensions. I then needed supplies and luckily, my brother was able to help, so off we went to get the necessary lumber. Of course, it was only 10 degrees outside and windy, but we managed to get what we needed…and some of it on sale, and headed back to the barn.

My brother Jason hard at work building crates

My brother Jason hard at work building crates

We fired up my propane heater and got busy. All day long we worked, measuring, cutting, nailing and joining pieces. The freight company was supposed to be there to pick up the two crates around 5 pm that day, and I was on the phone several times to California for status updates. As we came down to the wire, we were told that the freight company couldn’t get there afterall and it would be the day after Christmas. Well, that was actually good news, because frankly, we weren’t ready.

Diabolus in her crate, ready to be secured with straps

Diabolus in her crate, ready to be secured with straps

We got to spend Christmas Eve with family, enjoying each other’s company, but for me, there was a lot of work to finish and I was anxious to get it done. I did a little measuring and cutting on Christmas Day, but the day after, I got back out to the barn to finish up since freight was supposed to be there between noon and 5 pm.

The Victorian dual engine, crated and ready to secure

The Victorian dual engine, crated and ready to secure

Finally, the job was done and awaiting pick up by the freight company. I was only a little nervous about sending my babies of to California… No, really I was a LOT nervous, but we’d done a good job of securing and protecting the airships.

Sealed crate containing the Victorian airship...labeled and ready for shipping!

Sealed crate containing the Victorian airship…labeled and ready for shipping!

And off they go…

Transfer 071

Next time…arrival in Orange County…

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.

 

Artsmith Craftworks goes Hollywood!

07 Jan

I had a really great thing happen just before Christmas…

On the 23rd of December, in the late afternoon, I got a call from California. I almost ignored it because a lot of times, random calls from California or Utah or Nevada, etc wind up being credit card come-ons or something. I answered it anyway…glad I did. It was a girl from the Orange County Film Festival and this year for their Festival, they chose a steampunk theme. They explained that they were looking for airships in particular and had been looking locally and online and couldn’t find anything, and they were getting worried since their Red Carpet Event was being held on January4th. That’s when they found Artsmith Craftworks! They had been looking at the pics I’ve been posting, and they were interested in the Diabolus and the large double engine Victorian.

Airship Diabolus

Airship Diabolus

Victorian double engine

Victorian double engine

Needless to say, I was happy to help them make their event a big success! This meant, however, that I had to rush to get it out and the timing was a worry. Afterall, this was the Monday before Christmas! So the heat was on…

I got home and at 9pm, I was taking their credit card payment for the two airships and talking about shipping arrangements. They were going to set up the shipping on their end, but I needed to prepare the airships for transport, which meant building crates for them. Now, I’m pretty handy, but I’ve never built a crate before, and certainly not under these time constraints. I also really didn’t have a shed or building to build these crates in, which meant I had to pull things together even faster because, I had to drive to my mother’s place an hour and a half away to use her barn.

So after quickly putting together an extra stand so I had two, and taking seats out of my mini van, I carefully carried each airship out to my van, walking on ice and with snow blowing at midnight… By the time I had gathered all needed tools, supplies and personals, I left, arriving at my mother’s place at 2:30am.

I went immediately to bed, knowing that Christmas Eve day was going to be very, very busy!

More to come…please stay tuned…

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.

 

My first gallery/art store display!

07 Jun

As a quick post (I know I’m a bit delinquent in posting this past few weeks), I’d like to invite all my interwebs peeps to come and check out my steampunk airship display at The Artisan’s Bench in downtown Brighton, Michigan. This Friday night is their Late Grand Opening and my airships will be flying high over the celebration. Would love to see you there, or drop by any time to take a peek. The airships have been a big hit and the owner of the store was worried that we’d sell out of them before the Grand Opening event!

Artisan's Bench front window

Artisan’s Bench front window

The first airship to sell!

The first airship to sell!

 

Adding the stabilizer fins

07 Feb

In building the stabilizer fins for the steampunk diarama airship, I first had to choose a shape. On other ships, I’ve made them rounded, but I like the feeling of a scalloped fin. I’ve also made different scalloped fins before, with some being a solid fin with ribs and others having a support structure, to which was attached actual cloth sailcloth. For this small zeppelin, I decided on the former for its ease at this relatively small scale. This decided shape I then cut out of an index card stock I had lying around. To give them age and interest, I sponged them with a light brown watercolor (not pictured, sorry!)

Index stock fins cut out

Index stock fins cut out

I then had to make the ribs, and to make it simple, yet appealing, I decided to cut these out of a similar stock, but in this case, since they would be painted anyway, I decided to use cereal box cardboard and then paint them to contrast and have interest. Remember, I throw nothing away that may have a raw materials use when reused, repurposed or recycled!

Fin ribs cut from cereal box cardboard

Fin ribs cut from cereal box cardboard

I painted them by spraying a basic green enamel. I did this because a water-based paint would have been repelled by the coating on the cereal box. I then antiqued a patina on with a lighter water-based green acrylic, then applied to the fins.

Finished fins

Finished fins

After finishing the fins, I glued them at top and lower angled positions to the airship body with standard white glue and let them dry. To add another element of interest, I used dimensional paint to “dot” copper rivets on the fin ribs. I forgot to mention that I had done this to the propeller scaffolding as well. (How many of you noticed that?) So here’s the finished attachment…

Attached fins

Attached fins

Next time, I’ll show the process of building the gondola. It’ll be fun too, because it isn’t your run-of-the-mill boat shape!

Stay tuned…in fact, tell all your ‘punk friends to subscribe!

 

Airship nose and propeller shaft

24 Jan

I need to put a nose and tail cone on the diarama airship, so I used the same technique I use for my airship kits, which is to sart with a cut circle of card stock (I use old file folders). I then punch a hole in the center with a standard paper punch and with scissors, I cut about a quarter of the circle away. This then gets formed into a funnel shape, then glued with white glue. To make the nose spire, I used a painted wooden golf tee and pushed that through the nose cone, then attached it. The tail cone was made in the same way, but required a different structure beyond that because the tail also holds the scaffolding for the propeller.

Nose and tail cones in place

Nose and tail cones in place

Next, I constructed the scaffolding for the propeller by cutting strips of cereal box cardboard, then gluing them into the appropriate shape. (Can you tell that I never throw away anything that might have an artistic use?!). When dry, they were sprayed with copper paint and antiqued with green acrylic paint, (seen in next photo).

Propeller scaffolding

Propeller scaffolding

A piece of repurposed plastic tube that used to be the guts of a click-type ball point pen serves as the propeller shaft when painted and attached to the tail cone of the airship. The scaffolding is then attached to the shaft and the sides of the airship body. White glue works fine for most pieces.

Scaffolding attached to the airship

Scaffolding attached to the airship

Next time, I’ll show how to build a cool propeller for the zeppelin out of simple repurposed objects. Reusing and recycling can be easy and fun. Try some of these techniques to start a project with your kids. It’s a great way to find common ground with a teenager!

 

 

 

Steampunk Airship Diarama

10 Jan

I have done many airships and those of you familiar with my workmay have seen them at World Steam Expo, which is sadly, no more  :-(.  This project is one that I wanted to approach a little differently. I still wanted to do an airship, but one that was the same style as those in my Airship Kits, but a little larger, more detailed and in a whimsical format that could have a place on a tabletop or a wall. What better way to accomplish that than in a diarama. You remember these from school, but you probably built yours in a cardboard box or an old shoebox. This airship diarama is built in an old dresser drawer that I put a base on and painted just for the occasion!

I started by scaling up my Airship Kit pattern and creating the cone ends of the airship body.

Airship body end pieces

These ends were then put together to form the body or envelope of the airship.

Assembled airship body

With the body assembled, the trim and detailing can begin. I began by using a watercolor wash to add some depth and interest to the surface of the airship body, then trailing on some veining that makes the surface look a little marbly, but fun.

To cover the cone joints, I used strips of cloth tape that I had painted with metallic copper acrylic paint, then applied them carefully and burnished them down.

Then, over the center seam, I used a strip of the same index stock I used to construct the original cones…a great way to reuse, re-purpose and recycle, since this is really old manilla file folder! This strip was then also painted with metallic copper acrylic paint and glued around the center if the body. “Rivets” were added using paint dots and the copper was given a patina with green paint. It’s cool what amazing art you can come up with if you just give it a little thought!

Details added

Next post, I’ll add more details and start building some other structures for the zeppelin.

What projects have you started for the New Year?

 

 

Airship Anastasia on Recyclart.org!

20 Jun

Airship Anastasia

Once again, my work has made it on Recyclart.org and I’m as excited as I can be! This site features art that uses upcycled/recycled and repurposed materials as the medium for some really cool things.

Click here

I’d love to hear your comments on the site and my work!

 

World Steam Expo 2012!

21 May

I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been diligently working on projects in preparation for World Steam Expo 2012 in Dearborn, MI this coming weekend. Look for the Artsmith Craftworks booth and look for the DIY Airship panels where you can build your own little airship from a kit that I have available.

I hope to see you all  there!

 
 

Airship Anastasia!

17 Nov

Usually I build a larger airship. At least larger in the sculpture sense…something in the neighborhood of 5 feet long, or so. In a room that is larger or when placed in a dedicated display area, they’re fantastic and formidable. In a small area though, they can be a bit tight.

This project, therefore, is much smaller. At about two and a half feet long, the Anastasia is about half the size of the Diabolus and the OTBP airship at Off the Beaten Path in Farmington, Michigan. Those of you who have seen one or both of those airships will be able to visualize the size better. At this size, Anastasia would be at home in even a very small house, apartment or office, (are you picturing a steampunk themed office? Very cool indeed!).

The Airship Anastasia

Anastasia from the starboard

The style is once again, more Victorian whimsey than copper and brass dreadnaught, but the Anastasia is not without her defenses. Small and nimble, the Anastasia would turn more quickly than most larger ships, allowing the bow-mounted plasma generator to take care of frontal and flanking assaults, while a crew member tail gunner moves to defend against attacks from the stern with an aether disruptor cannon.

Anastasia gondola close-up

Propulsion close-up

Next up is another larger airship; similar in style, but a bit heavier in the speed department and bit more armed to match. Watch for it!

I’d also love for you to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already, and while you’re at it, please wander over to my Facebook Page here and give it a “like”. Thanks!

 

From scrap to steampunk sunglasses

14 Sep

Even though my mainline is steampunk zeppelin airships, one of my latest projects has been to fashion a pair of steampunk sunglasses. Now I know that goggles are a steampunk icon, but I’m a bit of a sunglasses collector, having accumulated about 125 pair over the years. I have new wave and punk rock styles, Buddy Hollys, Venetian blind shades, owls, John Lennons, grannies, hippies and all sorts of themed varieties. What I didn’t have were any that were of a steampunk nature, so I put on my thinking cap and designed a pair. Of course, I had to stay with my mantra of “recycle, re-use and re-purpose”, so I built my sunglasses using materials that would have been junk otherwise. With a little painted patina and antiquing, some suede scraps and a lot of plastic pieces and parts, I was able to fashion a pair of wearable, however somewhat impractical, wild and crazy steampunk fashion sunglasses.

Steampunk sunglasses

Lens detail

Right temple detail

Left temple detail

Lens detail

Most of the pieces are re-purposed plastic pen barrels, odds and ends of metal, brass screws, scraps of suede and toy parts. The lenses are actually welding goggle lenses that have been inserted into vitamin bottle lids.

I’d love to hear your comments! How would you have made these?

 

 

 

 

Steampunk Pirate Ship

25 Aug

Now here’s something not everyone is doing… This group, headed by Andy Tibbetts, is building a mechanical, land-going steampunk pirate ship! Named the C. S. Tere, the group plans to finish the “ship” with sails of fire. Building this metal beauty took the combined effort of dozens of people who spent hundreds of volunteer hours welding, painting, cutting, lathing, grinding and more. Clearly the effort paid off as the C. S. Tere made its debut at Burning Man last year.

These are the things I love the most. People building cool things out of reused or scrap materials! This is why I construct my airship sculptures out of paper mâché and other scrap materials. Something beautiful and useful from something bound for the landfill.

What cool things are you building?

 

Steampunk loft

18 Aug

My daughter came hopping up the stairs tonight, bouncing off the walls with excitement at the Yahoo Real Estate article on a Manhattan loft that is steampunk from stem to stern. Complete with zeppelins, gears, portholes and countless other Victorian vintage, this Chelsea apartment is a steampunks dream. Functional levers, gadgets and gizmos in brass, copper and other materials make it interactive as well as charming.

Click here

Visually, the place is so stimulating that I think I’d have a hard time relaxing there, since I’d be too busy looking and playing with all the cool art. Perhaps though, the place could use one more airship piece…

What do you think?

 

Vent tubes

03 Aug

So in case you were wondering how to make a cool and convincing steampunk vent tube that you would see on something mechanical, coal-fired, steam-powered or something lighter-than-air…say like…an AIRSHIP, here’s how I do it. I have a bunch of medical surplus tubing connectors. They use these to connect rubber hoses in ventilators and such. What I do is trim off any sharp edges, which there shouldn’t be too many of if it’s medical supply pieces. Rough it up a bit with a piece of fine sandpaper and then hit it with your favorite metallic brass or copper spray enamel. When it’s dry, add rivets with metallic puffy paint and then patina the piece with some green acrylic paint. What you wind up with is something like this…

Vent tubes

To add these to the Diabolus, I glued pieces of bamboo skewers into them with the sharp ends sticking out. I could then push them into the sides of the airship. Before I did that, I created a flat plate for effect using cardboard with puffy paint rivets as shown.

Flat plates

Once painted and patina antiqued, these become the bases that the vent tubes get pushed into for the final effect shown below.

Vent tube installed

 

Turret installation

23 Jul

Installing the observation turrets into the sides of the Diabolus first requires cutting a hole in the mâché. Due to the curving shape of the airship’s sides, the hole could not be just a simple circle, but rather a complicated ellipse. I had to hold the turret alongside the airship and lightly and carefully trace its contour into the side, allowing the pencil to follow not only the edge of the turret, but also the contour of the Diabolus. Once the hole was traced and cut, the turret slid in fairly easily and was glued into place.

Observation turret in place

With the turret in place, I bordered around it with brass trim and riveting for a strong finished look.

Turret from below

And with the “brass” trim applied, adding some patina with acrylic paint to the side of the airship gives it a weathered and aged look. Below is another view of the Diabolus showing both turrets and their position relative to the rest of the airship.

Both turrets in an inferior view

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Do you have any cool stuff you like to do with recycled or re-purposed materials?

 

Turret interior

19 Jul

Last post, I showed you how I made the observation turret on the airship Diabolus. Now I’ll show you the interior.

I wanted to give the turret enough interior detail that if someone looked inside, there would be something that made sense, not just darkness or the side of the airship underneath. I had some pieces of scrap plastic that looked like the caps off spray paint cans and as luck would have it, their diameters matched the diameter of the plastic caps that I made the turret “windows” out of. I then found a couple of photos of submarine interiors and Photoshopped them together, then printed the pieces and applied them to the inside of the painted caps. Below I show a cheap Army man I cleaned up and then detailed.

Inexpensive army man

Detailed and placed within the painted cap.

Detailed crewman

And now with the turret “glass” in place…

Turret glass in place

A different view shows the detail a little better.

Different angle

The next step is to add the turrets to the sides of steampunk zeppelin, Diabolus. Do you have ideas for how windows could be added?

 

Turret construction

09 Jul

Today, I’m going to show you how I put together the observation turrets that are on the sides of the Diabolus. Believe it or not, I used repurposed pieces for these as well 😉  Really, you say? I don’t believe it!   Well, it’s true…read on to see more!

I started with the bottom of one of those 50 cent gumball machine toy bubbles as shown below…

Gumball toy bubble

In order to make it look like a paneled turret, I need something that not only looks like metal, specifically brass or copper, but also is thin and flexible. I could use thin sheet craft copper, but remember that I like to reuse materials or repurpose things. What I do is to paint tape, then cut it into strips. You’ll also notice that I added “rivets” and patina before peeling up the strips to apply to the bubble.

Painted tape cut into strips

Next, of course, I add the strips to the bubble in a fashion that is reminiscent of the gun turrets on a WWII bomber, or the bridge of the Millennium Falcon, whichever you prefer!

Finished turret

So this is how the finished turret looks. In order to add it to the side of the Diabolus, I need to build a “background”, and I’ll show you how next post!