Sophia Wang

Reach for Home

Class of: 2027

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Mixed Media (Wool, Wire, Nylon Lace, Beads, Fabric)

Faculty: Bryan Melillo

Prompt: This project's aim was to create an exaggerated mask for the purpose of comforting one of our peer's fear. The person I paired up with had the fear of leaving home, and everything she was once used to behind. As an international student studying here in NYC, I would like to use this opportunity to create something not only for her and myself, but also the young generation who are currently far from home. Moreover, the photoshoot had the requirement of not only presenting our concept, but also provoking a sense of uncanny in the photo.

From the letters and interviews with my partner, I was able to learn about her fear of leaving home and coming to NYC from Albania. In this contemporary mask, I decided to include elements of Albania, their nation’s flower red poppy, and the beads commonly found on their traditional clothing. I aim to use these elements to create a sense of home, constructing a large-scale mask capable of surrounding or wrapping the head and body. I wish to convey a comforting message that family will always be there to support our back and that connections will not disappear due to the physical separation.

Moving on to the construction details of the mask, the flowers on the mask, shoes, and the draping vines down the body showcased are stitched on a fabric base and are either hand-crocheted or made with papier-mâché. The silhouette is to resemble the shape of the red poppy and is supported with thin wire stitched to the fabric. This is achieved by wrapping nylon shoelaces to the wires, providing an edge capable of stitching. The mask itself is attached to an altered headband from the inside of a construction hat, enhancing the wearability of the mask.

The bedroom of our dorm is the location selected for the photoshoot, and the uncanny is emphasized greatly by the fact that the model is wearing her shoes on the bed. In my culture, wearing outdoor shoes on the bed is something uncommon and weird, as they contaminate the ultimate place of privacy and relaxation. Therefore, the fact that the figure in the photo was wearing shoes while reading comfortably on the bed resulted in a great sense of uncanny. This also indirectly leads back to the statement of her not considering the dorm bedroom truly as home.