This Steampunk Womb Manifests a Girl’s Broken Dream

We begin with a story: This story is about a girl who would often lie in bed wondering how it would feel to have another living being breathing and growing inside her. She would gently rub her belly, and pat it, when this thought arose. Girls her age dreamed of dolls and make up, but she dreamed of possible names for her children.

Her dream came crashing down, when one day at the doctor’s office she was told about her peculiar condition: she had deformed genitals. This meant that she would never be able to give birth. Depression set in and left after a couple of years, but the thought of never being able to have a child of her own kept festering in her head. She began dreaming once again of giving birth to her own flesh and blood. This dream soon transformed into a device that would allow her to do just that.

The Steampunk device: A tubular, crystal-clear glass container sits inclined on a gold colored, bipod brass stand. The glass container has two broad brass plates fastened on it at both ends by brass bolts. The downward sloping right end of the glass container has a thick brass top secured by a silver iron screw. The left end has a detachable glass top to which is attached green, red, and a curly black wire (old phone wire). These wires extend from the glass top to a square wooden box. The wooden box has a series of analogue gauges intended to measure the pressure of the container.

The focal point of this sculpture is a fetus – fashioned by glass, brass and metal gears – that is enclosed inside the tubular glass container. The fetus is held in place by another brass band. A magnifying glass, attached to the top of the container, gives a microscopic view of the intricate workmanship of the fetus. A clock, with roman numbers etched on it, is attached to the wooden box and ticks away just below the brass fetus.

This device, a complete mechanical womb, is designed by Steampunk artist, Molly ‘Porkshanks’ Friedrich, who used the story of the girl with deformed genitals as inspiration for this Steampunk sculpture. The mechanical womb reflects all the traditional motifs of the Steampunk movement: metal, glass, analogue gauges, and gears.

What makes the metal and glass ensemble a fine piece of Steampunk art is its craftsmanship, aesthetics, and attention to details. Simply observe the brass fetus through the magnifying glass and you will know what I am talking about. The artist needs to be applauded for her vision and the amount of work she has put in to breathe life to a dream.

If this was something that caught your interest, take a look at Greed Eater and Fallen Skater.

One thought on “This Steampunk Womb Manifests a Girl’s Broken Dream

  1. Art Donovan.

    Dear Ms. Kantharia,

    Thank you so much for posting this and also for your very keen and accurate observations.

    Ms. Friedrich’s piece was, by far, one of the most poignant and important artworks in the Oxford Steampunk exhibition. There are small details, not really visible in photos, that truly must be seen in person. She is a genuine and true artist.

    Kind Regards,

    Art Donovan
    Curator,
    Steampunk @ Oxford University,
    Museum of the History of Science, UK

    Reply

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