Prompt: In this project, students are tasked with developing a body part cover inspired by exoskeletons’ anatomy, and it explores forms of protecting ourselves from their world. How is this shell a metaphor for our state of mind? Our emotions? Our physical being?
A parallel I noticed between man-made forms and exoskeletons found in nature is the Elizabethan ruff, a collar attachment worn by English aristocrats during the late 16th century, and the scallop shell with its rounded strips forming a fan shape. At the time when ruffs were popular, the lines on scallop shells represented all the routes pilgrims took to travel to Saint James in Santiago de Compostela. The ruff itself was a symbol status, and became larger and larger and with more and more embellishments (like lace, for example) throughout the three decades that it was popular, almost as if aristocrats were constantly competing with each other over who was the most powerful. The actual scallop shell serves to swim and to protect the organism from predators, which gave me that same feeling of competition between individuals as the ruff. To emulate this, I mad a wire exoskeleton which borrows elements from both the ruff and the shell, which will have an excessive amount of embellishments.