Prompt: In this project, students are tasked with developing a body part cover inspired by the anatomy of an exoskeleton, and to explore forms of protecting ourselves from the outside world. How is this shell is a metaphor for our state of mind? Our emotions? Our physical being?
For this project, I was inspired to create a piece modeled after the shell of a nautilus. Not only does this exoskeleton serve to protect the animal, it also works as a symbol of growth. As the nautilus ages, its shell develops more chambers, and creates the spiraling look over time.
I used the elements of protection and growth to develop a concept for a facial shield, as a response to the pandemic we find ourselves in. I wanted my piece to hold contextual and symbolic importance, while also expressing the opulence and beauty of a nautilus shell. My design consisted of a spiral headpiece attached to one side of the head, with a fanned out mask that extends over one’s face and ultimately loops behind the opposite ear. The ‘fanning-out’ movement is meant to emulate the spiral of a growing nautilus, and the individual panels refer to the shell’s chambers.
Since this project was centered around linear materials, I created my piece using copper and aluminum wire. I used a jig to create the trapezoid frames, and an electric drill to created decorative twisted wires. I decided to spray paint the piece white, in order to emulate the pearly look of a nautilus shell.
I enjoyed the tactile construction process, and using a variety of new tools and techniques. This project was very memorable, as I was able to combine biological research with creative design, and create an original wearable piece.