Create Steampunk artwork and sculptures from scraps and bobs

Timaru's cleaner, Terence Johnstone, creates Steampunk-inspired artwork, sculptures, and gadgets from trash.  He is holding a jetpack and a gun.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Timaru’s cleaner, Terence Johnstone, creates Steampunk-inspired artwork, sculptures, and gadgets from trash. He is holding a jetpack and a gun.

In his spare time, an artistic cleaner from Timaru uses scraps to make Steampunk-inspired gadgets, artwork, hats, and sculptures.

Using pieces of an old copier ink stand, sewing machines, clocks, lighters and a children’s bottle, among other things, Terence Johnstone has created imaginative works of art.

An airplane is made from a car ignition, a paintball mask has been turned into a flying helmet with goggles and an oxygen tube, a shin guard has been turned into wrist armor with wrist watches open to store things and a metal arm that can grab or pick up objects, pens and legos create a dragonfly.

A boat has a propeller that operates a chime, and robots made from light bulbs stand on the deck under a paper shade that acts as a billowing sail.

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A top hat is adorned with thick bifocal lenses with red light piercing the viewer.

“That’s how I relax. I just use junk food to make them,” Johnstone said.

Terence Johnstone made a Stempunk airplane using an old light bulb.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Terence Johnstone made a Stempunk airplane using an old light bulb.

He shows a blue and white fish sitting on a wineglass stem and explains that the fish’s body was made from an old plastic Twink marker.

Steampunk is a quirky and fun sci-fi genre that features an alternate futuristic version of Victorian England, according to Steampunk HQ at Oamaru.

“Last year at the Oamaru Steampunk Festival, people took more photos of my jetpack than I did,” Johnstone said.

Terence Johnstone holds his Steampunk-inspired ship complete with robot crew members and chime.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Terence Johnstone holds his Steampunk-inspired ship complete with robot crew members and chime.

The amateur artist spent his childhood thinking he was “dumb” because he really struggled to read and write, art was a way to express himself. When he looked at a page of text, to him it looked like a swirl of curvy black lines, and he wondered how his classmates could decipher it.

One of the first paintings he sold was an expression of his frustration with literacy and depicted a three-dimensional chessboard with the pieces moving towards an indistinct, blurry center.

A Steampunk style perfume atomizer made by Terence Johnstone.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

A Steampunk style perfume atomizer made by Terence Johnstone.

It wasn’t until he was 30 that he was diagnosed with Irlen syndrome, a visual processing problem.

He still managed to study fine art at Aoraki Polytechnic (now the Ara Institute of Canterbury Timaru campus) and said he was impressed that he was shown how to make a Steampunk spider. with scissors while he was there.

“That’s what got me started,” Johnstone said.

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