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The Joys of Foam Carving

Dealing with the small, devilish flakes of foam is how I have spent the past month.

Who doesn't love foam carving?

Currently, Arizona State University is gearing up to present their first production of the season: "Trade Trade Love", written by ASU MFA student Yi Hsuan Tseng.

The scenic designer created a set with numerous amounts of limbs that pile around a womb, as seen in the picture above, and a curved staircase. The technical director had to come up with a solution to creating a large amount of limbs within budget. As a result, foam was agreed upon as the answer to our problem.

On my first day working on this production I was ecstatic to learn new foam carving techniques from our scenic charge artist, Julia Lee Rogge. Foam was a material that I had not worked with as often as wood and metal. For the first hour or so I wielded my surform shaver with the dexterity of a third grader trying to write cursive for the first time, sorta well but not there yet. Eventually, I got the hang of the tool and I was chatting away with my coworker.

But then it happened: the foam turned against me! I ended the day with foam stuck in my throat, in my eyes, and all over my bathroom floor.

So, through my experiences of foam carving I have discovered some tips:

1. Wear a face mask! Unfortunately, I learned that these devilish flakes fly in the air and can stumble into your mouth... and then you start choking on little pieces of foam... yum

2. Protect your eyes. After learning that foam could stumble into your lungs and cause you large amounts of suffering and pain, I found out the next day that pieces can fall and stick into your eye... NOT FUN.

3. Use a air pressure nozzle to clean as much foam off your clothing and hair as possible, but you will inevitably come home with foam.

Foam is like the second cousin of glitter, once it gets on you it stays with you... but just not forever.

Anyways, it was fun to work with foam for two to three weeks and I am glad that it eventually passed. So long foam... except for the pieces littering my bathroom floor... *sigh*


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