Holding the Whisky

1It is not every day that the average person is asked to make something unique.

But I am in the wonderful position of having a job where I am constantly confronted with the question,    “Can you do this?”

My answer is always, “yes I can”  and then I have to step back and wonder…how am I going to do that?

But usually it’s is not the technical aspects of the project, but rather the artistic.

Like this request…

“My husband is coming home from deployment and I want to give him something interesting as a welcome home gift.  What should it be?”

Wow that is a lot of leeway.

She did give me the patch for his unit and thought I could do something with the design

.        Now apparently there is Scotch out there which cost a fortune and is only consumed by those who really know what the heck they are tasting.  And her husband is one such appreciator of fine, aged scotch.  So there was a place to start.

She gave me a bottle (empty of course)  to check for size and we finally decided to make a table top bottle holder with the unit logo as part of the design.

That seemed to be something I had done before,  except for one thing… it was tiny!  With tiny parts!2

But I had said “sure I can do that”  so it was on!


I drew the design on the computer.  The parts were really tiny when I shrunk them to the size they needed to be….real tiny….

The frame for the actual holder was designed to hold the bottle and also make a statement on the table.  It drew out nicely and would be clean looking and sharp.

3My laser cutter was amazed at the size of the parts and said some of them now live in the bottom of his machine….  But he got the job done and shipped them to me.


Bending the frame and assembling the tiny pieces were not as difficult as I planned   (yea right)

I lined the bottom with a felt cushion and covered the bottom with cork to make for a

The bottle of that fine scotch sits on a felt cushion, with cork between the holder and the countertop. 4a


And I am happy to say that a Marine who returned home safe from a bad place, is able to enjoy a little something special.

And I was thrilled to be part of it.

















I’d love to hear your comments,

Email me at Steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

Or just use the form below.







I Could Be On Your Coffee Table!

My “Art of Nature” collection was included in Schiffer Publication’s “Ironwork Today”.

And yes, it is a coffee table book.today

The book is a collection of art pieces created by metalworkers from all over the world.  There are 256 pages of beautiful art ranging from door knockers to huge outdoor sculptures.  All accompanied by discussions with the artist who created them.

There are 89 artist represented in the book.  As always they somehow decided that the only fair way to list them…is alphabetically… oh great!

……With a name like Zawistowski I am use to it.

But I was not last, thanks to a German named Heiner Zimmerman.

The book is a beautiful collection and I am proud to be part of it.


I’d love to hear your comments.

Email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

or use the form below.



The Christmas Crane

Here it is !!

The “Christmas Crane” is my entry into the Wee Tree Show in Jacksonville next weekend.

crane 1

The Wee Tree Show is a part of the Onslow Caregivers, Inc 12th Annual Festival of Trees.

It runs from Sat Nov 22 at 10 am to Monday Nov 24th at 2pm.

There will be about 100 “Big” trees on display, in every style you can imagine.

But the part I am interested in is the Wee Tree Show.

What is a Wee Tree?

Well, I am glad you asked.  It is any tree you want it to be, but it has to be less than two feet in any direction.

The wee tree contest is a judged event where the overall winner is added to the “Permanent Collection” and re-shown each year.

Here is last years winner

… yes…I won last year. (So I had to show it to you again….don’t judge me)

Charlie Brown tree

The other trees are available to the public in a silent auction with the proceeds going to help Onslow County Home Health and Hospice.

It is a lot of fun.  There were about 20 trees entered last year.

This year I felt like I needed to go in another direction …crane 2

so I went industrial.

The Christmas Crane is all copper colored steel with balls attached to cables and tied at the cross pieces on the bottom of the tower.

crane 3

The star on top of the tree has a multi jointed drive shaft connecting it with a crank at the bottom of the tree, so the star can spin.

Be sure to try it out!  (Yes you can touch)

And speaking of the tower… yes it is a little crooked… but that makes it more lifelike… or is it just more fun to do it that way?  Oh well, anyway…

If you want to see some great Christmas decorations go to the National Guard Armory next weekend and kick off the holiday season with inspiration for YOUR tree.

And be sure to vote for your favorite Wee Tree.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Use the form below, or email me at: Steve@stephenzmetaldeisgns.com

Tiny Bird Houses

In my never ending quest to notice the art that most people just ignore, I have found something genuinely “charming”.

At a self serve gas station in Waynesville NC, I looked over to the split rail fence and noticed something on top of most of the rails.

Tiny wooden bird houses made to look like old mountain cabins. They were covered with moss which made them look like they had been there for years.

I thought I would share one of them with you.

tiny bird house

Just another example of art being all around us.

We just have to find it.

So open your eyes. There are great masterpieces all around you.

Let me know when you find a piece of unexpected art.

I’d love to see it.

You can use the form below,

or email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com


Amazing Sundial

I found this sun dial on our trip to the UK this summer.

It was about 15 feet up on a building… but then I am always looking up to see the stonework on the buildings…,

When it first caught my eye, I thought it was a great stone carving and it was… Moses and the Ten Commandments,  the gold sun and the Latin reference to God …but as I checked it out, I noticed that the (real) sun would move around the corner of the building as the day progressed.

There needed to be a second sundial on the other side of the corner to continue the clock. The second one was restructured to be accurate in the afternoon.

sundial s



It’s the little things that make art so much fun!

But, as you know, you have to stop and look around to find it.


I would love to hear your comments. You can use the form below,

or email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com





Quality Art is Smart and Beautiful

I was recently at the Lenior NC sculpture festival. There were about 50 sculptors presenting about 140 sculptures.

The show has been going for 39 years, and they say next year will be even greater.

I had one piece entered in the show. It didn’t win, but it was purchased…and I kinda think that’s a win.

But I love celebrating quality work wherever I see it, and I saw a number of great pieces that weekend.   I also love art which shows ingenuity and craftsmanship…I call it smart and beautiful.

I met artist, Eric Isbanioly, a North Carolina artist, and was fascinated that he had created a coffee table.  It was very well crafted and very interesting.

elemental joe

You may not know without being told, the base of the table is a model of the coffee molecule. (It is a coffee table isn’t it?)

Eric named it “Elemental Joe”. There is even a little chemistry information on the website for those interested.

You can see more if his work at sTableMolecule.com, or email him at ericisbaniolydesigns@gmail.com

What People Will Go Through For Comfort

Here is a couple examples of exotic steps done for the purpose of making a bike seat comfortable.

They both come from England. Give them a look to see if you can justify all the engineering.

Number 1


All those springs and extensions make the seat bounce a little more… why not add some cushion to the seat!

But it did look cool in its day, and it still works!

The owner let me ride it and I must say, it was better than if there were no springs… but still kind of stiff!


Number 2

And now here is a historical one I shot in a museum.


This one is really involved,  and apparently, it cannot be used by short people.  Rube Goldburg could not have designed it better.

So I made a diagram to help the mechanically challenged out there.

bike seatStep 1:  the bottom of seat post # 4 is attached to bike

Step 2:  rider’s butt is loosely attached to seat #1

Step 3:  bike hits a bump creating upward pressure on post #4

Step 4:  that upward pressure is counteracted by butt weight at #1

Step 5: upper seat post #2 reacts by moving down on the pivots       attached to seat post #4

Step 6: as a result the spring attached to #2 stretches and allows the sear to travel downward

Step 7:  Butt at #1 feels less of the bump referenced in step 3

Not bad for 18th century engineering.

Lots of interesting things in this world…I just happen to find the weird ones.

If you have a comment send it to me with the form below,

or at Steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 415 other followers