Chad Wentzel is colorful creator extraordinaire and, in his namesake studio Chad Wentzel Made, he handcrafts awesome objects of a new brand of sophistication. From lighting and textiles to objects for the home, Wentzel explores his deep curiosity about mysticism and the psychedelic. This is what 24 hours in Detroit looks like through the eyes of a creative thinker and cutting-edge artist.
8:00 AM Chad wakes up to start his day; he does not use an alarm unless he has a flight to catch. Chad’s first task each morning is pouring a big cup of cold brew, which he and his boyfriend share.
8:15 AM While his chia bowl is cooking, he heads outside to water the garden. This year he is growing beans, peas, kale, parsnips, carrots, tomatoes, onions, leeks and other leafy greens. Chad sets up on the patio where he checks emails and catches up on social media – something with which he has a love/hate relationship.
10:00 AM Chad heads out for a 9-mile bike ride from his cottage on Detroit’s east side to his studio in Detroit’s Eastern Market, a vibrant, historic public market on the edge of downtown.
10:30 AM Inside his studio, Chad starts each work day making a list of what he hopes to accomplish, from granular tasks to pie-in-the-sky projects. Today’s project includes sewing, which he’s been doing a lot of, and so he lays out the fabric to begin work. Chad often listens to the mellifluous sounds of whales while he works; nothing with harps or chimes in the background, just whales. He loves it and it keeps him focused and relaxed while working.
1:00 PM Chad breaks for lunch, which he makes every day. His boyfriend teases him that he makes lunch like a 7-year-old as he typically includes string cheese and granola bars. While he eats, he works on housekeeping tasks for the day which includes emailing clients, ordering materials and organizing images.
1:45 PM Chad’s boyfriend pops by the office on his way to band practice. Together, they walk through Eastern Market to Trinosophes, an inventive mash-up of a café, music venue and art space. Detroit is chock-full of unique enterprise. After grabbing a cold brew coffee, they head next-door to search the dollar bins for secret finds at Peoples Records.
2:30 PM Chad is back at work in the studio. In the afternoon, for energy and to avoid food-coma, he switches to techno music. He finds music with words a distraction while he works. His afternoon tasks include drawings for new work, experimenting with fabric and string, hanging out in the woodshop and using the laser-cutter to feel “sciency.” Chad believes firmly that inspiration is everywhere if you are receptive to it: nature, weather, technology, fashion, travel . . . everywhere.
7:00 PM Chad wraps up at the studio and bikes home. He loves this ride at the end of the day with the beautiful evening light at his back. Often, the wind is at his back as well and he can make it home in 25 minutes.
7:25 PM After he arrives at home he has a quick shower and moment of relaxation.
7:45 PM Chad is ravenous and he and his boyfriend head about 30 minutes west to Dearborn for Lebanese food. The Detroit Metro area has a huge Middle Eastern population and the shawarma here is the best in the country.
9:00 PM Back at home and satiated with shawarma, a few friends make their way over to sit around the fire pit on their patio. A look at Chad’s work and it is obvious he loves color; he always has on hand several packets of Mystical Fire, a colorant that turns the fire into different hues.
11:00 PM The fire is out, and their friends depart. They move inside to watch a bit of tube before bed.
12:00 AM Lights out.
Photography Courtesy of Jeffrey Sfire.
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