Sculpted Foam Steam Punk Oversized ClockEvery time we cut into a rigid substrate sheet we invariably had left over scrap. Even with intelligent nesting programs, there were always these odd shapes left over. So, as the scrap inventory grew, I began to imagine what I might do with the scrap besides throw perfectly good material in the dumpster. As an art teacher you learn to hoard everything as potential art media and found object art was a lesson I had always enjoyed teaching to my high school students. Now with all of this stuff, I had the perfect opportunity to create something epic! I started to arrange some flat circles and the image of a clock popped up in my mind’s eye. As I glanced over at a box of ribbed tubing and wires, I instantly knew what I wanted to make… a Steam Punk Wall Clock! I eagerly searched through foam scraps and continued to arrange the rough layout. Mental images for the clock faces were starting to appear as I altered some of the shapes to fit my plan.



Adding gears and the faux rivets really started to tap into the Steam Punk theme. Some of the gears were modeled from a simple 3-D file I bought on Turbo Squid for $8.00 and others were rendered in Adobe Illustrator and milled on the CNC router from leftover HDU, (High Density Urethane), foam of different weights. The black pan was supposed to house the clock works and face.


Analyzing the scale of the clock, it already had a 5 foot diameter footprint, I decided the clock face need to be larger. So I designed a 24″ diameter face with Roman numerals and tried it for fitment. Liking the results I pushed on, adding and rearranging parts until it “felt” right. Balancing the elements, establishing good eye movement and creating a point of focus are all parts of making a good composition whether it is a sign, or a sculpture.


Satisfied with the layout, I took a photo to remember how it looked and then began painting the parts. After priming everything, I broke up the pieces into groups for different finishes. I used gold, silver, copper, bronze, and a lot of the faux stone and hammered finish spray paint during an elaborate session of spraying multiple layers of paint. The clock face was printed on our Arizona large format UV printer and the clock parts I had purchased at Hobby Lobby were attached. Immediately after reassembly, I felt the clock face seemed too plain and I wasn’t sure I liked the brightness. What to do?


So I spray painted over the light surface and began creating a world map graphic for the clock face by combining several images found online with some gradients in Photoshop. The graphic was printed on a circle of ACM, (Aluminum Composite Metal), and attached to the clock. Next was printing the Zodiac calendar on the brushed aluminum Dibond circle. The design is a custom graphic I created just for this clock. Thinking I might be finished, I hung the clock up on the office wall to check the overall look.

Still not satisfied with the clock face and the fact that the hands were not working properly, I began the challenging experience of shopping for a battery operated clock to re-purpose the housing and the clockworks. It would have to be just the right size to fit the already established perimeter. As luck would have it, I found the perfect clock and disassembled it, reprinted my world map graphic and inserted it into the purchased housing. The last step was to attach the new clock face using several knurled nuts from the local hardware store. Back on the wall it went!


Finally it felt right and the clock works were functioning perfectly! Taking a few moments to relax and relish in completing a clock that matched my vision, my creative mind soon interrupted to ask “What else can you make?”


I had enjoyed the whole experience so much, that I jumped right back in and fabricated this Bio-Mechanical low relief sculpture for my living room. I used the same raw material scraps, faux rivets and spray paint finish. The whole piece was set in a shadow box frame built from select pine 1″ x 4″ boards stained dark to harmonize with the finish. The left over wood scraps were using to make the shadow box frames for some of my photography. Suddenly the whole living room was getting a makeover!


Well of course the scraps are accumulating again, I’ll be on to the next creation soon. Stay tuned!