Stephen Heath wears many hats: a photographer and set-designer, he also teaches set-design at WAAPA, where he says he instructs students in “how to create magic.” Originally from the UK, Heath forged a career building sets for industries clients as diverse as film studios, department stores, photography studios, and theatre companies. On moving to Perth, he continued his work in the set-design field, as well as expanding his photography portfolio to include creative scenery like this featured moonscape.
POLYSTYRENE: THE ULTIMATE SET-DESIGN MATERIAL
A trained carpenter, welder and painter, Heath began crafting set-pieces from polystyrene twenty years ago, due to its light weight, sculpting possibilities, and scale. Describing the time he created a 15 foot long duck for a store window, Heath explains that his larger creations usually need to be disassembled for transportation, before being reassembled again for display. As such, he needs to work with a material that can be cut and stuck back together, that is easy to lift, and that will not bend or buckle during transport and handling. Polystyrene, of course, ticks all these boxes.
IMAGINATION IS THE ONLY LIMIT
After having worked with polystyrene for so long, Heath has plenty of tricks up his sleeve to get the exact look he’s after. This moonscape was constructed in several stages and involved cutting, bending, carving and gluing the polystyrene, before he added the ‘craters’ by dissolving it in spots. The sturdiness of the polystyrene allowed Heath to position a baby chair on top, and, once painted, the end result was a highly original, personalised photoshoot.
Aside from backdrops and photoshoot sets, Heath uses Foam Sales polystyrene for theatre props. Polystyrene’s properties of lightness and malleability make custom prop design a breeze. From cut-out lettering, to Roman pillars, to Heath’s recent creation of the Back to the Future clock, the uses for polystyrene in making props is unlimited.
View our selection of polystyrene boards for your next project.
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