Wire Body Covering

Overall, this final project for Space and Materiality was one of the most difficult and frustrating projects for the first year curriculum. The assignment was to create a functional sculpture that that fits the situation it is made for, whether it be hypothetical or realistic. Using any materials I wanted, I had to make several iterations of what would become the final product and show progress each week.

For my situation I initially wanted to create a wire sash that was curvy shaped and green to mimic the underwater plant, seaweed. I had the idea that in a hypothetical situation a species could use this sculpture as camouflage when hunting or in danger in the open ocean. I was going to make a wire frame that molded to a torso, that drapes over a shoulder, creating an asymmetrical look, the piece hanging at a diagonal. I would attach smaller wire frames covered in sheer green fabrics to the main wire frame to create the seaweed affect.

Initial sketching

After trying to make a wire frame in the beginning of the process, I decided that making a completely fabric piece would be better, because it is more flimsy like seaweed and easier to put on and mold to a body. But, during critic I was told that my choice of using just fabric wasn’t a great option, so I had to resort back to wire.

Fabric sash

I made an octopus sculpture previously for this class as well, and it was brought to my attention that this piece was almost like a continuation of it, but more life size and functional (with the loose but long wire frames), so I also decided to incorporate the loop design elements into this final project that I used to make the octopus’s suckers with in the previous project.

Space & Materiality Wire Sculpture

I changed my whole idea because it was suggested I make a shoulder covering instead of a sash, so I attempted again at making mock frames from wire and made a tiny sash like frame with thin dark wire and decided to go with that structure. I was told to experiment with many types of wire, but I could not afford to buy several so I chose only 2 and ended up using a combination of both for the final product. I used a thicker brass wire to mold the wavy lines of the final top piece of the sculpture, in keeping with the seaweed form. I decided to make the wavy frame hang from a chain that goes around the neck, and the other end of the frame would attach to someones hand, around their middle finger, by using a chain to create a ring. After another critic I was told that it was too heavy and rather to focus on a natural hanging piece than something that is held by another chain or material.

Mock up mini frame

Ring attachment

So again, I rethought my idea, and came up with the idea to make a shoulder cap, with a wire frame and fabric that creates a shell, so it sits on the shoulder, with the curvy wire frame that sits on the top. The piece still would hypothetically act as camouflage. I struggled a lot while playing around with how fabric and wire interacts, and ultimately decided to glue two green pieces of fabric together to create a sleeve that the wire held taut. Green, sticking with the underwater plant theme. I tried to incorporate different fabrics threaded or twisted with wire into the brass frame but it just looked very odd, so I ended up interweaving the loop design within the frame to add detail.

Experimenting with cloth and wire

The final product is very different than I imagined, and I definitely wish I could have done more but the materials only lent so much. As it was my first time working with wire and cloth together, and second time ever working with wire and cloth in general, I am satisfied with the end result, especially after having to change the concept of my design so many times. The final design does not look like how I intended it to be originally, but I am glad I kept a few of the original elements like the seaweed green colors, and wavy wire forms that are raised from the shoulder cap. If I followed my original idea without changing my design based on the opinions I heard I think I would have a better constructed and “clean” sculpture, but the commentary I received and remarks on how I should change it ultimately made me work harder to produce the piece and challenge myself artistically. This was a huge learning experience and a difficult assignment to accomplish.

Sculpture being worn

Close up of the shoulder top

loop design detail

Ruffled fabric, mimics seaweed

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