Ashley Heo


Class of: 2022

Major: Communication Design BFA

Medium: Multiple media (paper, wires, thread, and transfer marker)

Faculty: Megan Healey abnd Rachel Urkowitz

Prompt: The main prompt for this project was to make a garment that either embodied or protected our partner’s fear. After visiting and researching on the artifacts our partners chose from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we had to incorporate at least one of the artifacts to their fear and create a garment.

Integrative Studio

Integrative Seminar

“Lord, Forgive Me”

I am drowning. The swirl of waters form a mask and drag me down into the deep sea. I am tied to an anchor and sink as it pulls me down into the deep indigo ocean. I would always wake up as the waters started to fill my lungs and suffocated me. I don’t remember the whole context of my dream, but one thing distinctly remains in my head; I am suffocating, I am drowning, I am sinking into a deep deep whole — a whole I could never be saved from.

A few years ago, I was an entirely different person. I was fun, I was popular, and I was happy. I had a lot of friends and a girlfriend. Everybody loved me. Everything in my life seemed so perfect as if I was daydreaming in my utopia. Well, at least that’s what my parents told me. In truth, everything is all a blur. I don’t remember anything. A few years ago, I was involved in a car accident which resulted in me being in a coma for three years. And because of that accident, I lost memories of the past few years. So, I just believe what my parents told me because there is nothing I can do but to trust them. Made up friends, made up girlfriend, and made up memories. They seem all so unreal because they are the opposite of my current life. Now, I am gloomy and have no friends. I am all alone.

Is this my doom? Yet again, another dream of myself drowning. However, this time it’s slightly different from my past dreams; little details had been added. Someone is reaching out his hand towards me, but being scared myself I pulled back my hand, refusing to save that person. Who was that person? Why does my heartache as if my own flesh have been ripped out from me?

My parents have removed every single trace of my past. As soon as I woke up from my long dream, we moved to a place where no one knew us. Everything in this room is new. My parents must have thought that if they got rid of everything from my past, they would be able to make the tragic accident disappear. They did everything in their power to remove anything that may trigger my memories. I could sense them walking on eggshells around me. They are definitely trying to hide something from me, but what is it they’re trying to hide? Is it related to my accident?

All I know about my accident is what my parents told me.

“You were driving your car to your friend’s house and a bus hit you.” my mother said with her voice trembling.

“Which friend are you talking about? Is he okay?” I asked.

“He… he… is fine… So honey, what do you… want for dinner?” my mother would beat around the bush and act as if this topic never came up.

Fuzzes… Something doesn’t feel right. But I can sense that this accident has something to do with this dreadful mask that is drowning me into the endless darkness.

I put on this mask every day when I go to bed. This is sort of a sleeping mask for me; without putting on this mask I can’t go to bed. Swirls of water would turn into a thin thread and tangle my face and choke me to my death. It is like each thread has an anchor attached at the end and as they sink to the bottom of the ocean I drown with them.

“Hrrrk” I woke up gagging.

Another puzzle. I am driving somewhere and I am talking to someone in the passenger seat.

“Dude, what should we eat for lunch? Burger? Pizza?”

“Donno. Do you that girl from math class? The brunette, green eyes, with hot bod?” my friend replied as he texted on his phone.

“Yeah… I remember, but she’s definitely out of your league, man.”

It was a mundane conversation on a mundane day. Right. Eric. It was Eric, my best friend, who was driving with me. Now I remember. Eric had a crush on this girl from math and he was going to ask her out. What then? Did he ask her out or what? Another blank in my memory.

My dad dropped me off at school. As I walked down the hallway and passed through groups of people taking and having fun, I wondered about Eric. We must have been like them, hanging out with our gang. We must have had fun. I must have been fun. Suddenly I feel so lonely. However, facing my dreadful reality, I alone walked down the deserted hallway.

It was math class when I dozed off again.

“So in order for this integration to work… In relation to the epsilon, in this integral the limit sends h to …” slowly my calculus teacher’s voice faded away.

The integral signs in my calculus book formed the shape of my mask and slowly as it dragged me into my dream. Now, dreaming myself drown is not as terrifying as before. I sort of look forward for this dream because now I want to know the truth about my accident. Maybe the reason I can’t remember is that my brain must have thought that I was too fragile to take in the facts. Therefore, manipulating all of my memories as a defense mechanism.

Again, I am in my car with Eric and we’re listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”.

“I am a sinner who’s probably gonna sin again Lord, forgive me! Lord, forgive me!” we sang along together.

We were loose and free like the wild animal we were. I was singing like a madman, pretending to be Kendrick Lamar; my mind was on the round CD not on the round wheel. When I came to my senses, I was driving against the traffic. In the oncoming lane, a bus was driving towards me, so I jerked my wheel sharply to avoid crashing into the bus, but, in turn, the car ran off a cliff. At the same time, the bus driver also turned the wheel to bypass my car, we fell off the cliff together.

“Huh…? What…? I murmured to myself in a trembling voice as I untangled the threads of my monstrous mask.

I was the very person who drove everyone to their death. Without any conscience, a drop of tear fell off my eye. I killed everyone and yet I am the only one alive. Another memory popped up, my girlfriend, Celine, was on the bus. Eric, Celine, and all those innocent people on the bus, I killed them.

“What did I do…? I can’t live with myself… I want to die”

I skipped the rest of school and without telling anyone, I took a flight to that place — where it all ended. I jumped off the cliff.

“Fell on my face and awoke with a scar. Another mistake livin’ deep in my heart” Kendrick Lamar sings in “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”.

I don’t remember what happened after I fell off the cliff. It is like a deja vu; I feel like I’ve been through this happened before — not remembering. I don’t know how I was pulled out from the water. I think I just wanted to reduce my guilt, but at the same time selfishly I wanted to live as I ignored Eric’s struggle for help as he sank.

I lived on as the as the alive should go on with their lives. However, even though I am breathing, I don’t know if I am alive or dead because my life is a living hell. When I was young I thought PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — was just a collection of fancy words used to make up an excuse for weird behaviors. But now being put in that situation, I finally understand its usage. I am a masochist. I actually find comfort with having my PSTD. I may have killed all those people and it pains me even thinking about it, but I am also dead only breathing. Deep inside, I can sense that I am reaching towards my end.

I still put on the mask when I sleep, but as time passes, the swirls unravel and instead they strangle my heart, slowly solidifying it.

My project was based on my partner’s fear of drowning in the deep ocean. However, he did not have a particular reason for his fear. So, in my Studio artwork, I decided to make him feel his fear and in the Seminar fictional writing, I decided to give him a reason for his fear and possibly resolve it — although the resolution may not be positive. decided to make a mask because when I
imagined myself drowning, I felt like the waters would turn into millions of strings and choke me to my death. And among the Met artifacts, the “Dish with dragon and waves” served as the main inspiration. From this artifact, I designed a pattern inspired by the waves and the overall shape of the mask which was inspired by both the waves and the dragon.

To express the lightness and the flow of the water, I used tissue paper as the main material alongside wires, which helped form the overall shape. I also used Citra Solv to transfer the pattern I designed to add to the overall ambiance of the mask. To keep the mask attached, after some trials and errors, I sewed the pieces together. Instead of having the stitched neat and clean, I intentionally had them crooked to have them feel more natural like the flow of the water.

For my Seminar, though the content of my fictional story had nothing to do with my partner, it was interesting to write about “what if” he had feared to drown because of this particular reason. Because he didn’t have a reason, it allowed me to imagine in some ways and give my garment and writings its own unique story. Also, thinking about the settings for my story, helped me in creating the garment for Studio.