Xi Chen

Personal Exoskeleton

Class of: 2022

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Chenille stems, iron wires, yarn

Faculty: Aviva Maya Shulem

Prompt: In this project, I researched the form and function of the exoskeleton. Then, exploring the human senses, I designed and made a wearable exoskeleton. I was only allowed to use linear materials in this project.

I designed a crown that is made from linear materials: iron wire, yarn, and chenille stems (pipe cleaners). This crown can be an exoskeleton to protect a human’s most vulnerable body part–the brain. I took the shape of a nautilus and gathered the spiral pattern into a feather looking piece. I decided to use a nautilus’s spiral shell as my inspiration because a nautilus’s shell serves as protection. A nautilus is an ancient creature. Its shell has protected this species for over five hundred million years. I would like for my nautilus inspired crown to also protect the human brain for a long time. At the start of the project, I did several sketches. However, after I successfully constructed my model, I knew that I couldn’t construct my crown exactly like the prototype. Chenille stems and yarn are too heavy for the iron wire. The front part of my design won’t stand by itself without any forms of support. So I changed the crown while constructing the actual piece. I abandoned the front design and the tall halo. Now it looks neater and simpler.