A Steampunk Haven in Miniature
Lord and Lady Towers unveiled Escapement Point, an art project six years in the making
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Photo on right by Paul Davis Photography
Steampunk makers Lord and Lady Towers have gained a reputation for large-scale art projects such as D.I.N.O., their life-size mechanical dinosaur. But their latest magnum opus is a kinetic sculpture that’s the size and shape of a top hat. Escapement Point, which they unveiled July 9 on Facebook, depicts a steampunk-styled gathering place in miniature, with hand-painted figures and custom-designed wooden gears powered by a 60 rpm DC motor.
They began work on the project six years ago, periodically putting it on the shelf and gradually adding to it “as we gained access to new technology and skills,” Lady Towers says.
The Lord and Lady, aka Will and Ashley, built the sculpture at Towers Manor Studio, their Southern Oregon workshop. The space is stocked with a laser cutter, CNC router, multiple 3D printers, and other fabrication equipment.
One inspiration for Escapement Point came from a meeting with Crit Killen at Snake River Comic Con in Idaho. Killen has made miniatures for films such as Beetlejuice and Blade Runner.
“Lord Towers has always had a love for miniatures,” Ashley says, but after speaking with Killen, he “fell in love further with the miniatures scene.”
Will sculpted most of the figures using 3D modeling software. But two are from 3D scans of Will and Ashley themselves.
All figures were hand-painted, a process that took several hours for each.
The project incorporates an ATtiny85, which is essentially a miniaturized version of an Arduino microcontroller. They use it to control the gears and lights.
The couple added a shout-out to their Patreon supporters in the form of small wooden banners along the edge of the crown. Patrons can choose from five membership levels, ranging from Airship Passenger ($1 per month) to Airship Captain ($25 per month).
They’re often invited to be speakers at steampunk events, sharing their wisdom about fabrication techniques and other topics.
Most of their major works are first shown at the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention (WWWC) in Tucson. They made a big splash in 2015 with D.I.N.O., a 23-foot-long dinosaur fabricated largely from EVA foam.
They’ve also fabricated a series of vehicles, most recently a motorized racing coffin dubbed “The Last Stop.”
In addition to WWWC, they’ve shown their work at the Brass Screw festival in Port Townsend, Washington, and the Pirates of the Pacific Festival in Oregon, as well as comic cons and other events.
You can learn more about Escapement Point and other projects in the gallery below. All photos are used courtesy of Lord and Lady Towers. Get updates about their work on their website and Facebook page.