What feeds my chi?

27 Jun

What gives me energy? What floats my boat? What feeds my chi (qi)? These are questions I’ve talked about before, but they always bear repeating.

I love envisioning ways to turn random objects into pieces of art. I love taking pieces of plastic, wood, cardboard, metal, etc., and turning them into something virtually unrecognizable. This is what I did when I was a kid and unlike most adults, I never grew out of it. I like putting things together and making unbelievable art out them.

In my case, I like using things that other people discard. Things that have colors and shapes and textures, but are seen as disposable…junk…trash. Things like plastic lids, packaging materials, old damaged toys, uniquely shaped boxes and bottles, food packaging fiberboard boxes…and the list goes on and on. These things are materials that at their hearts, are no different than the shapes, textures and colors that you buy as your media in art stores, but these materials are free.

Photo montage of the construction of a steampunk airship sculpture propeller, made of random found objects.

Propeller construction montage

So, what feeds my chi is finding these materials. At garage sales, estate sales, at the side of the road when I run, or even in dumpsters. No, I’m not ashamed to admit that I go dumpster diving pretty frequently, and yeah, it smells bad sometimes, but the treasures are worth it.

What feeds your chi?

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 or at 810-516-7381.


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