Ethan Silverman Portfolio Post

Reflecting on a Semester of Creation and Discovery

This semester has been a lot of learning, creativity, and exploration, culminating in two projects that not only challenged my abilities but also gave me more appreciation for the art of upcycling and industrial design. Here, I’ll take you through the highlights of my projects, “Bolts” and my industrial aesthetic lamp, and discuss both my achievements and the hurdles I encountered along the way.

The Story of “Bolts”: A Journey into Scrap Metal Art

My upcycle project, named “Bolts,” was an exploration into the world of scrap metal art, where I transformed ordinary metal pieces – such as nuts and bolts – into a sculpture of a dog, symbolizing both innovation and the spirit of materials long forgotten. This project was inspired by the early 20th-century artists who pioneered the use of industrial by-products in art, a theme that resonates with my own interests in sustainability and engineering.

The creation process of “Bolts” began with simple sketches and evolved into a physical concept using nuts and bolts to form the body and limbs, and a reclaimed spring for the tail, adding a playful twist to the piece. Each step of the process, from planning to welding, was documented, capturing the transformation from loose components to a cohesive, expressive sculpture. You can view the entire journey and the final sculpture in my report

Industrial Aesthetic Lamp: Blending Function with Design


For my main project, I designed and built an industrial aesthetic lamp, which was not just a lighting element but a conversation piece that will illuminate a space with both light and creativity. The project started with sketches and moved through several phases, including material procurement, electrical layout planning, and woodworking for the base. The lamp’s design featured straight, clean lines combined with organic  asymmetrical curves, embodying a blend of the industrial and the natural, a theme that has interested me.

The electrical aspect was particularly challenging due to my limited experience with wiring, but it was also the most rewarding, as I successfully implemented a parallel wiring setup to ensure durability and functionality. The woodworking phase added a final touch of craftsmanship, grounding the lamp in a solid, handmade base. You can delve into the full process and see the lamp’s evolution in my project post

Challenges and Triumphs

Throughout the semester, I faced several challenges, including  learning welding and electrical work as well as balancing the chaoticness of my other classes. Despite this I was able to create two pieces that I am proud of. Particularly with how “Bolts” turned out—the playful style blended with the tough hard nature of its materials really makes me smile whenever I see it. The industrial lamp, meanwhile, is a testament to my developing skill set and my vision for blending functionality with aesthetic appeal.

Looking Ahead

As I reflect on the past semester, I am filled with a sense of accomplishment and a passion for creative design. These projects have not only enhanced my technical and creative skills but have also deepened my understanding of the potential of upcycling and industrial aesthetics in modern design. In closing, this semester has been one of my most creative, and I am eager to build on these experiences as I move forward in my career. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

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