Steel-ing from Nature

Why just anyone can’t be an artist.

It takes a special person to turn a rusting tail pipe into a work of art. Sculptor Stan Smokler does it for a living.

If you’ve never seen Smokler’s work, here’s your chance. His “Steel Current” exhibit at the Delaware Museum of Natural History opens June 4.

Smokler’s show boasts metal works inspired by the sea—certainly a family-friendly concept. His welded steel sculptures represent abstractions of a horseshoe crab, lobster, seaweed, nautilus, and other marine life. Each piece is accompanied by the artist’s interpretations as well as those of Elizabeth Shea, Ph.D., the Delaware Museum of Natural History’s curator of mollusks and specialist in the biodiversity of deep-sea cephalopods.

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This exhibit peeks into Smokler’s wild imagination. Known for pieces large and small, he creates all art from scraps. On one hand, Smokler can be pegged as an award-winning pack rat. His basement must be full of junk. But he also sees beauty in objects most would throw away. In this era of spectacular doom and gloom, beauty is better.

Smokler is a successful artist. Translation: He’s lucky enough to create his work, his way. Without judgmental eyes upon him, he is free to create, offering the world unusual, multi-dimensional pieces that enhance both contemporary and traditional settings.

Smokler holds an MFA from the Pratt Institute and maintains studios in New York and Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. His “Garden Gate,” commissioned in 2002, guards the Delaware Center for Horticulture. His other gates surround many upscale Delaware homes. His work has been seen in galleries across the country.

Not bad for an artful recycler. “My goal is to resurrect a material and give it a new life,” he says, “not echo its history.”

Words of wisdom. Good thing Smokler also teaches, offering positive and constructive critiques to students at the Delaware College of Art and Design. Most creative people excel when surrounded by positive forces. Smokler is a positive soul. You can see it in his work.

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To see more of Smokler’s work, visit

For this exhibit, visit, or call 658-9111.

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