For 30 years, Matt Thompson has used traditional techniques to experiment with new ideas as he creates, repairs and restores neon signs. Although the tools have changed over the years, the traditions in this art form are 100 years old.

Write about something you do that is part of a long-standing tradition in your family, your school or your town. What do you like about the tradition? What spin of your own, if any, have you put on the tradition?

Matt made “Kinetic Chaos,” an abstract sculpture based on the satellite Sputnik, for his client, Veit Automotive Foundation. (The work in progress is seen in the photo above.)

Look up images of the Sputnik and notice how Matt took liberties with the form—“Kinetic Chaos” looks familiar yet distinct. Using materials you have on hand, create your own abstract sculpture based on something that is familiar to you.