Winner, Joe Martin Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for 2009
Szymon (Simon) Klimek is seen with one of his artistic and delicate models. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)
It was tough to pick a section to include the work of Szymon Klimek. We chose the "Machining and Metalworking as Art" section, but the model engineering, model making, or perhaps the "mechanical jewelry" section could have applied as well. The solar powered steam engines could certainly be exhibited at any model engineering show. But what of the tiny brass hat boxes and wrapped gift boxes or the flowers in the tiny coaches? Szymon (or Simon as he signs his e-mails when writing in English) has combined art and model engineering in a unique blend to produce artistic pieces that defy categories. To see more of his work, visit his site at http://www.szymonklimek.eu. There you will find many more photos and also links to YouTube videos of some of the tiny engines in operation.
Szymon (Simon) Klimek was born in Poznań, Poland in 1954 of a family blessed with artistic abilities. He went on to achieve a Master of Sciences (Engineering) degree and notes that he has always had good manual skills. He was familiar with how to work with thin sheet metal and decided in 2004 to build a small model of a locomotive with a coal wagon (tender) at a total length of 80 mm. (It can be seen in the photos below.) From there he went on to build miniatures on other themes, such as gift boxes with floral motifs, cars, stationary steam engines and locomotives. He has so far completed over 100 miniatures.
Glass goblets serve to display as well as protect these delicate works of art while lending a sense of richness and class. On the left are trains and coaches, while on the right Szymon examines a small solar powered engine. (Click either photo to view a larger image.)
He notes that the hardest part is finding or making the drawings for the original design. He works to no set scale. The eventual presentation is often inside a glass goblet, so that helps determine the scale of the object to be made. He then draws the plan shapes onto sheet brass from 0.1 mm to 0.08 mm thick and cuts them out. He manually forms the shapes (no fancy machine tools) and glues them together before applying a clear lacquer finish. The process of assembly is time-consuming and requires a great deal of precision and focus.
If he feels the basic design needs to be “livened up” he adds some floral motifs, ribbons or glittering zircons (Swarovski). Because of their delacacy he encloses them in glass goblets, usually about 25 cm high. His most recent steam engine creations are run by small electric motors powered by solar cells, adding the element of motion.
A tiny solar powered steam engine sits atop a fanciful and ornate frame. The all brass engine is fully functional and powered by the small solar panel at the left, leaving the question: is this model engineering, art or both?
At this point he has remained non-commercial, but that is about to change. He hs started a web site at http://www.szymonklimek.eu (Szymon Klimek Minature Gallery) to show his work. He plans soon to offer these and other creations for sale. The decorative miniatures in goblets can serve to decorate elegant interiors and are sure to become quite a unique and sought-after conversation piece.
His next project will be a Victorian age locomotive. Look for photos of it on his web site soon, and get a reservation in early for when these fine miniatures become available for private ownership.
Szymon has placed several videos on YouTube.com showing some of his work in action or on a turntable so you can see all sides of it. More videos will be added and can be found with a search for his studio name, but here are the first few links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3VCBXV6qgs (Szymon's latest—A mechanical bird takes flight powered by light.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6fzxMLP6OQ (A solar powered Victorian vertical steam engine in action)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TKR8M7NAJs (A solar powered horizontal stationary steam engine in action)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYKMzQokmXk (A solar powered vertical type steam engine in action)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dARoBewWNB4 (A solar powered oscillating steam engine in action)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eJiLHI5mM4 (A solar powered beam type engine in action)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSfe0Vvmd0U (The 1835 Adler steam locomotive, rotating to show all sides)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1ExKiIyxng (Called "Gabka" or "Sponge", the motion of this solar powered masterpiece is most unusual.)
In September, 2009, Szymon Klimek was presented with a Special Achievement Award from the Joe Martin Foundation recognizing the unique and artistic nature of the work he has produced. He received an award certificate, an engraved gold medallion and a check for $500.00.
Joe Martin gets a first look and the newly donated Adler model built by Szymon Klimek. Mr. Martin selected Szymon for an award based on seeing photos of his work. After seeing an actual example in person he was sure the right choice was made. Photos do not do justice to the quality and delicate detail of these superb models. (Click photo to view a larger image.)
In November, 2009, Szymon Klimek shipped an example of some of his finest work as a donation to the Joe Martin Foundation Craftsmanship Museum in Vista, CA. The Adler 2-2-2 Locomotive comes from the early days of steam and pulled Germany's first commercial trains. Designed by Stephenson in England, the train was in service for 20 years starting in 1835 before eventually being replaced by more modern locomotives. A replica of the engine is now being restored in Germany for the DB Museum Nuremberg.
In late November, 2010 Szymon donated a second sculpture to the Craftsmanship Museum. Called "Susi" after the tiny brass snail of the same name sitting atop the solar panel, this ornate Victorian steam engine actually runs, although not on steam. The solar panel powers the engine via a hidden electric motor with only the light of a 30-watt bulb as it runs inside its sealed glass goblet. See more about "Susi" in the photos below or see it in person at the Craftsmanship Museum in California. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)
All photos by Szymon Klimek and are reproduced with the artist's permission. (Click any photo to view a larger image.)
|A tiny and very delicate brass coach is adorned with flowers and jewels. Size reference in a number of photos is represented by a pair of glasses--here in the upper right-hand corner.|
|A functional solar-powered steam engine is displayed inside a wine glass.|
|A small Bugatti car begins to take shape from pieces cut from flat sheet brass.|
The Bugatti body takes form. Note the engraved details and seat pattern.
|The finished Bugatti is dwarfed by a pair of glasses. A YouTube video of the Bugatti can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YKP3kJ3pOQ&feature=related.|
|Tools used to make the tiny brass artworks|
|A small steam locomotive under construction|
|The steam locomotive nears completion.|
|A tiny oscillating steam engine. This one is driven by an electric motor that is powered by the small solar cell on the panel at the left of the photo. It is similar to the engine in the "Susi" sculpture below.|
"Susi"—A solar powered Victorian steam engine
According to Szymon, "Susi" is the name of the tiny brass snail sitting atop the solar panel that powers this engine inside its sealed glass goblet. Szymon donated this work of art to the Craftsmanship Museum in California in late November, 2010, and it is now on display for those who wish to see it up close.
Turn the goblet upside down in front of at least a 30-watt light source and the weight of the flyball regulator will cause the flywheel to start to turn. Once in motion, a tiny hidden electric motor starts the flywheel spinning, using electrical current generated by the solar panel. Place the sculpture about 8" from the low power light source (in our case, a 12V taillight bulb) and it will run silently as long as the light remains on. The engine is decorated with small jewels, clumps of purple and red grapes and tiny brass leaves. One can only marvel at the skill needed to assemble such delicate etched brass parts.
We were pleased that, like his Adler train, this one arrived after shipment all the way from Poland with no damage. It is a testament to Szymon's engineering skill in the way it was packed in a tube surrounded by shredded paper in a box inside another box cushioned by strips of foam.
Photographing a tiny object inside a glass goblet is difficult because of the reflections, but hopefully you can see the fine detail in the paper-thin brass elements.
|The beam engine and solar panel to drive it are displayed elegantly inside a wine glass. Video of this engine running can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eJiLHI5mM4.|
|A wide variety of projects on display include autos, brass beds, a perambulator and even a fanciful pumpkin coach.|
|Here, a steam engine begins to take form.|
|The nearly-finished engine|
|A model of one of the first bicycles features a gentleman's bowler hat and a representation of a pair of gloves on the seat. Jewels decorate the tiny model.|
|A group of highly decorated brass gift boxes are displayed underneath a domed glass cover as if in an aquarium.|
|Cars, coaches, a train and a gift box are displayed in wine glasses as an interesting artistic grouping.|
|Displayed here is a fine model of one of the early steam locomotives designed by Stephenson in England and built on contract for Germany. The Adler (meaning "Eagle" in German) was the first commercial railroad engine to operate in Germany starting in 1835. Scale in the first photo is offered by a single-edge razor blade. Below are several more views of the Adler with eyeglasses to provide scale. The model of the Adler that was donated to the Craftsmanship Museum has the added detail of two water barrels on the tender like the ones in the photos below.|
|A small locomotive and tender under construction|
|A Mercedes Simplex is shown from several angles to the left and below.|
|Szymon Klimek and his niece.|
|A new creation from Szymon is called "Gabka" or "Sponge" and brings mechanical motion to what looks like a sponge expanding and contracting. It is hard to describe, and the video link at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1ExKiIyxng will explain it much better. Some of the parts came from a previous project that was partially destroyed in an accident after completion. All was not lost, as it was reborn in a new form as "Gabka."|
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