Arthrobots are unique and individual arthropod sculptures created by me, Tom Hardwidge.
I am based near Ironbridge in Shropshire, England (the birthplace of the industrial revolution) and have been creating the Arthrobots (a combination of robots and arthropods) since late 2010.
Each Arthrobot starts its life as a series of sketches, some take their inspiration from nature, others from bits and pieces of metal and beads which
form an unusual structure or fit together in an interesting way. After they have been planned out (very roughly) they start to take shape in my dining room where I have all of my tools and materials laid out to prevent any actual dining from taking place.
After they have been finished, each sculpture is named based on its natural counterpart (a grasshopper or dragonfly for example) and any unusual or unique features it has
developed during the sculpting process (long legs or a steam valve on its back).
Arthrobots are NOT toys.
They may have sharp, pointy bits and are not suitable for young children
Although some parts (wings and legs) are movable on some sculptures, they are fragile and are only intended for ornamental purposes.
Here's a short time lapse video of me in action creating a praying mantis sculpture.
what are they made out of?
Anything and everything really. Many of them start off life as deactivated ammunition. They are then layered up with sheet copper, brass and aluminium to make it easier to attach limbs and wings. Small nuts and bolts create tight but posable joints and wire is used for the anntennae.
However, no steampunk creation would be complete without some of the old and interesting pocket watch parts. This is where the tiny gears and springs are sourced from which are used to decorate the sculptures.
The pocket watch parts for these sculptures have been generously donated by The Watch Lab. One of the leading watch repairers in the UK.
what is steampunk?
"Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy."