Eric Freitas: Reanimating the mechanical heart

No. 5 by sculptor/clockmaker Eric Freitas.

In the past 12 months, I’ve seen more clock bits glued in places where they shouldn’t be than I think I’ll ever see for the rest of my life. So when I received an email this morning from a stranger named Eric about “steampunk clocks,” I was skeptical. “Really? Steampunk? Clocks?” is what I said as I clicked on the link, expecting to see nothing new and believing that nothing could beat those mysterious rugged watches from Japan.

And you know what? It’s nice to be completely, delightfully wrong sometimes. Eric Freitas’ clocks completely Shocked and Awed. Every part of the clock is handmade, and they’re not just elaborate static sculptures; they actually tell time. The clocks employ calligraphy as a stylistic method, and no two clocks that are the same. On his Etsy store, Freitas describes the intensive process of creating a clock: “all of the pieces were cut out with a handheld jewelers saw, ground to shape with a flex-shaft tool, and assembled with hand-machined screws. The dial was inked by hand, then was ripped, weathered, and aged.” He’s made five mechanical clocks from scratch so far (and two using a quartz motor), and each one is more complex than the one before.

Left: detail, No. 5. Right: No. 2.

To reiterate: to make these mechanical clocks, he didn’t go out and buy a clock at the store and embellish it. He made every gear by hand and put all the gears into a mechanism that actually worked. Something that looks so Ye Olde but from another timeline, a work of art that’s also a functional machine that was assembled from scratch… I can’t call it anything other than what it is, a term that’s being used by so many and deserved by so few, a term I thought I’d never apply so reverently to something I saw this year. But I’m humbled. So I’ll say it: it’s Steampunk Art.

10 Responses to “Eric Freitas: Reanimating the mechanical heart”

  1. Mer Says:

    These are so exquisite. I’m stunned by the level of thought and craftsmanship that goes into all of his pieces. Thank you, Eric, for bringing a bit of dignity and integrity back to teh S wurd.

  2. Skerror Says:

    Ahh! I really want one. Far and away transcends ordinary S word. I love these because they seem more like anti-time devices…inventions made to pop the illusion of time rather than remind you of shit you gotta go do to get ahead. They remind you to just take a deep breath and revel in the artistry.

  3. six06 Says:

    the intricacy and style made me misty eyed. such craftsmanship. it’s nice to see that sensibility is not completely dead in the 21st century.

  4. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Fucking. A.

  5. filwinn Says:

    I am humbled …damn

  6. Mark Says:

    If I close my eyes, I can perfectly hear the noise they make as they relentlessly beat out the passing seasons.

    Whirrrr…chhhhh-ck…chhhhh-ck…chhhhh-THUNK…ka-dong! etc

    edit: Lordy, that might just be the most onomatopoeic post I’ve ever left anywhere. Righteous!

    Eric, these are wonderful mate. All I can say is well done, and thanks. My next £200 is now earmarked.

  7. Zoetica Says:

    Unbelievably beautiful work. It’s been a while since I’ve dug something of such aesthetic to this extent. Beautiful, imaginative and skillful. You’re doing it right, mister Freitas.

  8. Ben Morris Says:

    Wow. I love mechanical clocks and watches for reasons I can’t quite put into words, but these…these take that into the realm of the sublime.

  9. Pinkymonsterism Says:

    as a fellow jeweller, i can definately appreciate the hard work that went into this. I did an assignment designing a ring that was influenced by steampunk (i failed miserably) i thought i would be able to find an old clock and glue bits and pieces together…. but ah how i was wrong… because nowadays everything is fucking digital. and like mr eric, i had to hand cut cogs, and it really is frustrating. i admire greatly the exquisite work he has created, and inspired too.

  10. The Clocks of Eric Freitas Says:

    […] gallery here. His Etsy is here. Article about him on Coilhouse is here. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]