Who said Geofoam, sometimes the misnomer Styrofoam (we’ll explain), is only used for highway construction? Not only is it versatile for constructing berms and levies, airport runways and embankments, more personalized and creative uses are also garnering attention. Geofoam is an interesting and versatile product that artists and hobbyists have discovered. More about that in a moment.
Same Thing Only Different
Geofoam, or EPS (expanded polystyrene), and Styrofoam are two different versions of polystyrene, but are often mistaken as being the same. Here’s a quotation taken from Wikipedia that helps explain the confusion.
The trademark Styrofoam by Dow Chemical Company is informally used (mainly US & Canada) for all foamed polystyrene products, although strictly it should only be used for ‘extruded closed-cell’ polystyrene foams made by Dow Chemicals.
Extruded polystyrene comes in a variety of forms, from the lightweight foam hot/cold cup to CD/DVD crystal cases, and a whole lot more. But let’s get back to how creatives are finding EPS to be a versatile and easy-to-use medium.
As is typical of Americans, famous and infamous monuments found around the world have been recreated right here at home. From Carhenge to Phonehenge West, there are more than 29 “Stonehenge style monuments” in North America at last count. A great varieties of materials have been used to erect “henges” across this nation, from junk cars and trucks to telephone poles and boats, but only 2 are made from Geofoam. Although mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam, Mid-way from Lexington and Roanoke Virginia lies a pseudo ancient monument known as Foamhenge. Modeled exactly to mimic the truly pre-historic megaliths, visionary artist Mark Cline is proud to be the caretaker of this entertaining and mythical attraction in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Here are a few comments from the media:
“Can’t get to England to visit… Stonehenge. Up on a bluff stands a replica called Foamhenge, made from, well foam” – National Geographic
“I saw several weird things while I was on vacation last week, but Foamhenge probably takes the cake” – USA TODAY
“One can only say that it is truly inspiring to be both entertained by Cline and on sight at … Foamhenge” – Rockbridge Weekly
“Foamhenge is also one of the most photogenic Stonehenge’s in the world. It’s a remarkably realistic replica” – MSNBC
As for another “Styrofoam” prehistoric monument, the Front Lawn Stonehenge in Nunica, Michigan is a somewhat scaled down version of the original. An excerpt from RoadsideAmerica.com:
Made of styrofoam and stucco, it debuted on their grassy lawn in 2007. Its “stones” are 13 feet tall, slightly smaller than those in England, but otherwise the Levins have a good looking replica. Its only downside is that it’s on private property and trespassing is forbidden — but like any good Stonehenge, it can easily be seen from the road.
Having been seen by tens of thousands of people, I guess it’s fair to say,” if you build it they will come.
Elephant and Castle
Most people have witnessed immense structures of rock formations, huge animals such as a mastodon or elephant, castles and caves, all made synthetically. Places like Rainforest Restaurant chain, Disneyland or Disney World, even the local zoos all have similar structures. To simply state it, they are typically made from Geofoam. Here’s a great video of the production of some truly impressive animals and structures we found on YouTube. Unfortunately, we were unable to provide much information as to the location of the creatives.
Artists and hobbyists can have a tremendous amount of enjoyment and imaginative crafting out of Geofoam blocks, which range in length to 24 feet. The typical block size is anywhere from 4’ x 4’ x 10’ but nearly any length can be ordered, and taking into account the limitations on shipping as well. Check with us if you reside outside the Metro New York area.
The video helps display the creative uses for Geofoam sheets, as the woman uses sheets of the product to craft a very menacing-looking beast from past millennia. Large blocks of EPS Geofoam can also be used if the artist or hobbyist has experience with tools to remove large sections at a time. If you have an interest in learning more about the tools necessary and watch videos on how to use them, you can find a wealth of information here.
A Call to Entrepreneurs
As concepts and ideas are shared, some will be sparked by them in some way. Well, this article may speak to certain entrepreneurs that may have discovered a business concept that is appealing; a facilitator to the creative industries. We can only imagine there are craft studios, independent filmmakers, artists, hobbyists and the odd curious individual seeking new and different art mediums with which to present their latest creation.
Entrepreneurial artists and hobbyists also sell their work, so who’s ready?
Photo Credit: Mark Cline-Enchanted Castle Studios