Weekend Studio Tour #13 - SteamSmith Studios

Fasten your seatbelts!

We're off to an alternative universe for this week's tour

Today, we're going Steampunk. To paraphrase my favorite explanation of steampunk (I forget who said it): Are you familiar with 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea or The Time Machine? Now, imagine a world where those books would be Non-fiction and you've got the gist of steampunk.

This week's tour director is one of my fellow Etsy SteamTeam members, Mark Elliot Schwabe of SteamSmith Studios.

I am just crazy about Mark's airships and other wonderous pieces. Please note, you can click on the images or links for even more info. Now I'm going to get out of the way & let you visit with one of my favorite steampunk artists:

Airship Pin by SteamSmith

I love making this stuff!

I often fantasize about winning the lottery - so I could have more time to make stuff!

Below are pictures are my studio work shop - aka, home. It is a bit of a mess, but there is a tool for almost every job, and I know where everything is (sort’a). The work bench is “grand central” ... where everything happens. The rest of the space, the drawing table, the power tools, the drawers and drawers of storage, they all exist to support what goes on at the bench. It all began with my father. Dad (James Schwabe) had a high end gold jewelry business. The “factory” was in the basement of our house. At the tender age of 14 I began to learn his trade. Eventually I left the family business to peruse a career as a sculptor.

Along the way I learned steel welding and bronze casting techniques and picked up two graduate degrees (MA State U of NY at Albany and MFA at State U of NY at New Paltz). I had some success as a sculptor. Selling about half of the pieces that I made. I made a profit, but never a living.

Some of my Steel & Copper and Bronze sculptures are available at the Moose Walk Galleries/Studio.

After working a couple of soulless jobs making other peoples stuff I became a freelance sculptor/model maker for the jewelry and giftware industries in RI. This is when I started making Dragons - my own designs, some of which were purchased by Rawcliffe Pewter which was a big pewter giftware manufacturer at the time.

Look for dragon designs new and old at my newest Etsy store: http://www.DragonSmith.Etsy.com coming soon.

I had a long and productive relationship with Rawcliffe. During that time I made the original sculptings for most of their Star Trek licensed ships, and almost all of their Star Wars licensed ships.

Star Trek Pheonix by SteamSmith
This got me totally involved in making sculptures of machines and required me to make many specialized tools. Both the experience of making Star Trek & Star Wars ships, and the fact that I still have the tools on my bench, have a lot to do with why I have now completely embraced the SteamPunk style.

Star Trek DS9 Station by SteamSmith

I still have some production copies and prototypes of the Star Trek and Star Wars sculpting that are available for sale. If interested, contact me at: SteamSmith@MarkieMoose.com

Star Wars XWing by SteamSmith
However, before I discovered SteamPunk, I made lots of other stuff. For many years I had wanted to move to Vermont. No way I could properly serve the jewelry & giftware markets in RI if I lived hundreds of miles away. Solution: create & market my own line. I knew that there was a market for Moose product in Northern New England ... result ... Markie Moose! In many ways he is my alter ego.

He excels at all sorts of activities that I do, and wish I did (and a few others too). Markie Moose product continues to be the main source of my livelihood today.

A big part of the line today are Lottery Ticket Scratchers, which make GREAT stocking stuffers!

Inspired by the mountains and winter sports here in the northcountry (and building upon some earlier figure work) my next group of sculptures were Mountain Muse.

Mountain Muse Spring Skiing Sculpture by SteamSmith

She is an extraordinary woman - I am sure that you will agree!

These limited edition sculptures are available at
www.Markie Moose.Etsy .com

Which brings me to where I am today.

It has been a long road, but the destination has been worth the travel. Thanks to stumbling across the work of Winona Cookie on Etsy,
I discovered the SteamPunk Style. The idea of making SteamPunk jewelry (and eventually sculpture) is too exciting for words. In the last few months I have tried a little of this and a little of that within the SteamPunk genre, but it is the Airships that have really grabbed me.

Both the ships themselves and the society around them that I imagine must exist! The Airship Service Corps, the Aironots Club, the Airship Officers Guild, NewIndustries Ltd, Edmonton Enterprises, Elite Marine Engineering Ltd, the Marine Militia of the Central Cost region and their arch enemies, the Pirates of the Central Cost region, Professor Maurice Jenkins, his nieces the Fitzgerald sisters, Adlie Jackman and all of the rest.

This is the world in which SteamSmith lives and works; a world that challenges description and defies understanding by peoples of the 21st century Earth. It is a world in which creative people work with their hands and their heads; it is a world in which machines and industries are built with parts that move, and parts that don't. Land and sea are traveled in wondrous machines, often made by hand. And the sky is filled with airships of amazing construction. Time is understood in a way that 21st century people cannot fathom. The taverns are filled with ladies of style, wisdom and sass, and with strong-handed men with nimble brains. It is a place that you should visit.

Not only have I visited, but I am moving in!

SteamSmith Studio - I need a new chair

Drawing Table

Other side of the studio: Pewter & brass flatstock. The small boxes are pieces and parts left over - ready for reuse. Most jar lids are projects that are in the works.

Lots of homemade tools. There are more in a box - somewhere

Even the tray is full of tools

Some items on my workbench include: Bits/burrs for flex shaft machine, bits of pewter, grayers, little files, punches etc., pliers, big files, very well used bench pin, tweezers & a new necklace (almost finished).

Many thanks, Mark, for showing us around your studio space! And thanks for your patience with my delayed post this weekend!!

Anyone tuning in: I hope that you've enjoyed visiting Mark's world. I know I have - though I now have a case of tool envy!! Please take the time to visit SteamSmith's various links. You'll be glad you did.

SteamPunk jewelry on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/steamsmithworks
SteamPunk jewelry on 1000 Markets http://www.1000markets.com/users/steamsmith
lottery ticket scratchers, moose jewelry, more http://www.markiemoose.com/
pewter figures, moose jewelry, sea stuff jewelry, more http://www.etsy.com/shop/MarkieMoose
large metal sculpture http://www.moosewalkstudios.com
SteamSmith blog

And don't forget to pop back next weekend to visit the next studio on the tour schedule!


  1. What a great studio Mark and your pieces are fabulous!! Thanks Stacey for sharing!

  2. I have to admit steampunk never particularly interested me, but I love your work Mark, I think I just became a sp fan! Thanks for sharing Stacey and hope you get a new chair from Santa, Mark.

  3. Interesting to read the progression of your art style.

    Stacey you bring in such a variety of artists. Good job.

  4. Steampunk is awesome and so is his work!

  5. Wow!
    Thank you for sharing Mark with us.
    Fantastic work in the true sense of the word. Love the latest pieces as well as the earlier large sculptures.

  6. Wow! Fabulous work and a studio to die for!

  7. Love the work and I will admit to drooling on my keyboard a little when I saw DS9 and the X-wing.

  8. Hey there!
    Nice sculptures indeed!
    Thanks a lot for your nice words in my blog!


  9. Interesting, intricate, and oh so fun!

  10. So great to see the (amazing)studio of such a talented artist, Mark. Your pieces are amazing! Steampunk has lead me to meet the coolest people! I think you should paint "I need a new chair" on the back of your chair, lol.

  11. Great article, Stacey! So great to learn more about SteamSmith... great fun to peek inside people's studios...

  12. What a great studio. Great pieces.

  13. I love, love, love steampunk jewelry! One of my favorite shops is OppulentOddities on Etsy. Hubs bought me a necklace from her for Christmas Last Christmas and I wear it everywhere, just love it!

    I've even got a necklace and earring set that I made for myself and I've gotten several orders from people seeing me wear it. I also have one set I'm gearing up to list!

    Great topic!

  14. Forgot to mention the studio tour. It brought tears to my eyes as it looked just like my Dad's studio. He was a master wood carver and his tools looked just like Marks.

    I actually acquired some rather nice tools out of his shop since I'm the only one doing art and taking up the carving.

    Thanks for the memories!

  15. What a great feature - Mark's work is one of my new favorites, it's just fantastic quality! Makes me kick my jewelry... I'm not worthy!