Making It / Found Metal Artifact Sculpture With Light Number 53 / Michael Smith / Milwaukee WI

I went to my local auto repair shop and asked my friend, the manager, what old parts he had for me. He just pointed out the back door, and told me to take what I wanted. This part, he told me, was from a steering column.  I like being able to take a piece of junk, mount it on a cool piece of wood, and call it a ‘sculpture’.

I’ve mounted this sculpture/lamp on a beautiful, interesting Walnut Burl base.

These bulbs can be found at

steering column sculpture 010


Often, my pieces design themselves.  After I had mounted this piece on the base, I realized that I had mounted it upside down from what I had planned on.  I first started to think what I would have to do to ‘correct’ this mistake.  I quickly decided that it looked ‘right’ and better than my original plan!

About destructivetesting

I'm a self-taught artist who prefers to use found objects in ways that were never intended. I'm not interested in making 10 or 100 of the same object. This, of course, takes more time to make each piece. I also prefer a more minimalist look, where each part of a piece can be appreciated. I consider my clocks to be small sculptures with moving parts. And, my lamps to be small sculptures with light. My mirrors are reflective sculptures. DESTRUCTIVE TESTING means to push something to it's limits to understand it's structural performance or material behavior under different stresses. I interpret this in my artwork as using materials in different ways or combinations than they were designed to be used. I also just like the slightly ominous sound of the term...
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2 Responses to Making It / Found Metal Artifact Sculpture With Light Number 53 / Michael Smith / Milwaukee WI

  1. clinock says:

    That’s the wonder of “mistakes” – they become happy accidents and lead to creative chance happenings that are unexpected but work…

  2. Yeah! On one piece I made last year, a drill bit broke off as I was drilling a hole in the metal base. It was sticking out a couple inches. My first thought was ‘how do I get that out?’. My next thought was ‘hey, it looks more cool like that!’ Someone else thought so too, because they bought it.


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