Lucy Liu


Class of: 2027

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Plaster Paper, Yarn, Pipe Cleaner

Faculty: Aviva Maya Shulem

Prompt: Student will craft a 3D wearable mask using linear materials inspired by an ancient culture that incorporates historical references into a contemporary masterpiece that reflects their interpretation of beauty.

For this project, I mainly focused on the two types of masks in the Mesoamerican Aztec civilizations. During my research, I noticed that the Aztec civilization was really keen on physical strength and power. One of their most well known masks in the turquoise mask. These masks are a token of power due to the rarity of the turquoise stone. The second mask is the human skin masks, often made out of the flesh of the Aztec civilization’s enemies. It is a trophy of military strength for young Aztec warriors. I want to emphasize the artistic aspect of this civilization, looking pass the valued physical strength, which is sometimes overly emphasized and reduces the Aztec civilization into a violent tyrannical culture. I was really inspired by the different muscle groups on a human’s face, referring back to the human skin mask of the Aztec civilization. As I began constructing the structure of the mask, I realized that the wire materials I initially settled with is working against my design, which is organic, remembering the movements of muscle group an a face. After talking to my instructor, Aviva, she suggested me to tryout plaster paper. The plaster paper worked well with the curvy silhouette of the mask structure. In addition to the skin mask, I also wanted to take a part of the turquoise mask into my design. I decided to use blue and turquoise pipe cleaners and twist them into circular shapes. These shapes represent the cracks that the turquoise bits create being pieced together on the mask. The pipe cleaners also resemble the circular human cell and tissues. I chose a monochromatic color and similar circular, curved shapes to make the design aesthetically cohesive.