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Creativity Heals: Upcycling steel into a thing of beauty

“Transforming discarded steel into gorgeous home decor while changing the world” is the mission of Bobbianne Stambaugh’s current artwork. Stambaugh did not come to this work lightly; rather it grew out of a lifetime of personal and artistic development.

Stambaugh grew up in Colorado and around art. Her mother ran an art supply store and gallery. As a child, she also suffered trauma. For Stambaugh, these two facets of her life will always be interconnected.

Naturally, Stambaugh pursued art throughout her education and as a career. In graduate school, Stambaugh began exploring trauma in her artwork. After school, she made a conscious decision not to hide or sugarcoat her work. With that decision came the realization that others might not only respond and connect to her work, they might need it.

And so, an idea blossomed.

“Inspired by trauma survivors’ resiliency, [my sculptural] flowers embody survivors’ healing and courage. Beauty is handcrafted because of imperfection,” said Stambaugh.

She also uses her work to change the world for the better, by up-cycling discarded steel to reduce waste, and by donating 5% of her proceeds to non-profits working with trauma survivors.

Stambaugh stresses that the creative process itself can be cathartic. Creating the flowers is an intensive process, but one in which she can get into a meditative state.

“When working, I seek that moment of being in the flow, in a blissful meditative state, where the visual language is easy to access,” she said.

Stambaugh also acknowledges that achieving balance is key. As a mother of a toddler running her own business while she and her husband are literally making a home in southeastern Connecticut, this can be challenging.

“I have to divide my time between daily duties and time in the studio,” Stambaugh said.

“Now that I am in Connecticut, I am working to be the change that I want to see in the world,” she said. “By adding a bit of beauty to someone’s home or by someone finding some healing through the donation program.”

Her message this winter is for others to try to do the same.

“Do the small act you can control and make this world a bit better for someone else. My advice is to be the act that keeps the darkness at bay. Be the light!”

Emma Palzere-Rae is Associate Director for Artreach, Inc. and founder of Be Well Productions. If you have a story about how creativity has helped you heal, please contact

Who: Bobbieanne Stambaugh

Town: Deep River

Creative Outlet: Metal Sculpture

Helpful Resource: Bobbianne's Flowers blog:


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