Tag Archives: adornment

Collaborative Alien Project: Who Are We?

Got my little butt into gear and finally plucked up the courage to ask Grant Herron (a fellow Jewellery student) about possibly collaborating as I heard he was into Film props. He was well up for it surprisingly so we went ahead and got started a couple of weeks later.

We decided to take our own interpretation on a Sci-Fi Film ‘Alien’ by Ridley Scott. Both of us thought we should create some kind of arm piece. Grant, being more experienced in electronics, designed the upper arm which consisted of small LEDs, a small rotating satellite dish and hinged parts. This is what I also wanted to learn from him. For me, well I went all out making a silicone corset forearm piece (as I’d never really played with the material before but was very keen to), a prosthetic glove with ribbed tubes and long hinged creepy fingers, all made from latex of course.

As we were both passionate about film, we discussed perhaps making a short film which would be able to present our piece on the body, moving and electronics in operation. For that we would need a storyboard:

My buddy filling in the storyboard

Here are photos from the making of our pieces:

Grant’s upper arm piece in the making. The circular piece with small tubes protruding from (right of picture) is the joint so I can allow movement like bending my elbow.

 

 

 

The satellite Grant made. Also some LED lights you were able to turn off and on.

This sequence of photographs is me attaching my prosthetic latex glove using Pros Aide glue. You can only really glue prosthetics in stages to make sure you have glued it on properly.

Still loose flapping bits of latex.

After repeatedly applying the glue all the latex should be attached to the skin with no loose parts.

Here is the whole of my lower arm piece put on. The fingers are divided into 3 and there are 2 hinged joints on each finger so they can move. The finger tips are square copper wire soldered together and I have created clear latex windows on each so light can pass through.

Below this you can see tubes extending down from the knuckles which are made from latex and copper wire and lastly the piece on the forearm is made from silicone.

The Silicone Piece

I had to create a mould in plaster to cast the silicone in. It is very weird and squishy to touch which I thought went well with the nature of this project.

The Facial Prosthetics

Just experimenting where it looks best. I thought it would look good to exaggerate the cheekbone.

Samples of prosthetics. They kind of look like slugs to me.

Attached only using the prosthetic glue. You can still see that the edges have not been blended with the skin but that comes next.

The beginning of the blending process… but you can see that later!

Here is me and Grant and a few other helpers on the set just setting and cleaning it up.

Day time

Night time

My 20th time trying to put in contacts

Final Make-up

Midnight on the set. So so cold! Kept my dressing gown on as long as possible!

Just altering a wee bit

Final arm in the dark

Movie making in process

One of the Stop Motion pictures

Final scene

Such a good experience. Think we’ll be collaborating again for our final year as I think it is good practice for the future. You can learn a lot from each other and take things a step further. For me, I want to go into Prosthetics as I see it diminishing due to Computer Aided Graphics (CGI). Yes it can be extremely useful for big things but with it, you lose that sense of actually holding and feeling the object as it is all done on computer. Some makers use it because they are just being lazy and it saves time, but some actually use it for good purpose. For instance, in The Matrix when Neo dodges the bullets, that is a good example of well-used CGI.

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Body Modifications & Prosthetics Survey

Please help me by filling out my short survey which I will use as part of my Business Plan. Thank you 🙂

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WK2DB3M

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Sea Anemone Project

My family are all scuba divers. I love being under the water it’s such a magical place! Feel like a mermaid. It’s brilliant. When I’m under I usually tend to touch things. It’s tempting when there’s colourful little feathery crawlies and wobbly jellies. Once, I got so into it I actually rubbed my face against a sea anemone and it ended up stinging me all over! Ouch. Yes – tip for today: maybe don’t touch things when you haven’t got a clue what it is. Following on from that, I based this project on sea anemones.

They are amazing underwater jellies that possess long wobbly tentacles which wave with the tide. Their colours are vibrant and can usually in groups competing for light just like land plants would do. I really wanted to capture this sense of cluster growth and bright colour, in addition to their strange jelly quality. Here are some of my sketches illustrating their bulbous forms, colour and alien-like features. Be prepared, some of them can be a bit… well, a bit suggestive in shape.

The last picture was my first sample in which I created 3-dimensional crevasses and little hints of colour. I was very pleased with the result as allowed me to think of all kinds of shapes –  the possibilities seemed endless! I even got excited about colour as you will see in my more developed samples below.

Once I got the hang of creating colourful alien-like forms. I tried envisioning pieces on the body. I took inspiration from the designers Lucy Mcrae & Bart Hess and Mi-Mi Moscow. They are both collaborative designers who make creative pieces adorned uniquely on the human form. I like adorning the body in unusual ways because I like morphication and changing the normal shape of the body. Almost like transforming people into underwater creatures themselves. This was my idea.

I wanted to emphasise growth and re-creating the human form. My final outcomes are a mix between final photographs and pieces, aimed to capture unfamiliar shapes and strange alterations to the body.

For my first solution I attached anemone tentacles to the ends of fingers – changing the length and proportion of the fingers to the rest of the body.

Next I created a simple ring with which protrude rather suggestive tentacles. I liked the contrast of the smooth reflective metal to the rubbery matt texture of the latex. The benefits of this ring is you can put on your jacket without worrying about the tentacles breaking off as they are extremely flexible.

Finally I transformed the shape of the back into a kind of extending dorsal fin. Little anemone branches sprout from the surface down the spine as if they were spreading. Long roots stretch across the back to stress this idea of hosting and the ‘taking-over’ of the body.

Next I’ll be looking at making luminescent creatures and incorporating bits of wire to make them look more intricate and delicate. Thanks for checking out some of my work!

http://www.BodyMod.org/flash/mymods.swf

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Kathleen Jackson: Prosthetic Skin Jewellery

Kathleen Jackson is a contemporary jewellery designer who likes to bread the boundaries: interested in people’s relationships between jewellery and the human body.

These pieces are made from a prosthetic gelatin which are stuck to the skin using prosthetic glue; Jackson then blends the gelatin into skin through using gelatin blender and rubber mask grease paints. I think her jewellery is subtle and soft because of the way Jackson has skillfully blended the prosthetic gelatin; merging it with the human skin.

She successfully and delicately adorns the figure whilst emphasising the natural organic shape of the human form. Beautiful.

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Lorenzo Nanni: Prosthetic Jewellery

Lorenzo Nanni studied textiles at Duperré Art School in Paris. He is influenced by organic and living organisms, pulsating slightly eerie matter re-born and replicated in embroideries and silk. Nanni uses these materials in a very unusual way; using embroideries to imitate the texture of blood and producing fake skin out of silk. Reproducing the essence and beauty of nature is his goal.

 

 

His prosthetic pieces come encased in a glass dome so they can also be exhibited as an elaborate sculpture as well as worn to the human body. The pieces may take many forms, mostly all coming from natural resources, using animal life and vegetation, body tissue, veins and arteries, to produce stunning yet at times dark and cheerless pieces.

 

 

 

I really like Nanni’s works because they are unique and creative. His use of embroideries and silk are particularly imaginative; establishing interesting textures. I enjoy the contrast of beautiful versus sinister themes, you feel a sense of uneasiness which lures the viewer in and makes the pieces memorable. I am not sure if I would want to wear these pieces out, however, as an elaborate sculpture in the room would be ideal.

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Research Project: Lauren Kalman

For this research project, we were asked to research allocated jewellery designers in-depth and create a piece inspired by their work and philosophies. I was given the multi-media and goldsmith artist Lauren Kalman.

Kalman was born in Cleveland Heights, and currently lives and teaches in Providence, Rhode Island. Her mother was a commercial photographer and her father, an industrial designer. Her parents are present in her work – as her objects for the body imply to ergonomics and industrial design.

Her Hard Wear series focuses on the struggle between the unrefined body and the desire for perfection. She believes gold symbolises beauty, purity and immortality because it is an expensive and valuable material. People have been wearing jewellery made of gold to emphasise these qualities and improve their desire for perfection. However, in contrast, Kalman makes the body look UNdesirable through applying gold to the body, highlighting disease and imperfections.

Kalman applies jewellery to the strangest of places, such as the inside corner of the eye, the inner ear and nostril. I believe through placing objects in these awkward places reveals hidden areas of the body. In addition, these jewels cause restriction and sometimes reactions. For instance, blocking one nostril through inserting jewellery makes it more difficult to breathe and the sprouting shape of the object must hurt and graze the nostril when you put it in. The Gold Duct piece, when place, causes you to cry because the gold is just about touching the eye itself and restricting you to blink, thus, drying the eye out.

Are these grillz as cool as pimped up rapper Flava Flav here? Or just gross? As you watch Kalman insert these gold veneers into her mouth, the effect is both intriguing yet repulsive as the veneers cause saliva to drip from her mouth. Imperfections begin to show. Thus, in the ‘Hard Wear’ series, Kalman is conveying the idea that beautiful and valuable materials such as gold and pearls can reveal undesirable qualities and imperfections on the body through distortion.

Blooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments 2009


In this series, pins are temporarily pierced into the skin to mimic infectious diseases. However, this temporary nature echoes the temporary visibility of diseases she portrays such as syphilis, warts, herpes, etc, which in time disappears from the skin’s surface, but sadly still lingers within the body. Her inspirations come from common images off the internet and medical resources, this is the reason for the compositions and close-up nature of Kalman’s images – trying to imitate photographs of medical infections.

I believe Kalman is emphasising that until the material of the infection is altered, grotesque becomes immediately beautiful. Even the colour of the embellishments, arrangement and monetary value convey these contrast because they are made of valuable materials, dotted evenly and balanced beautifully yet in the back of you mind you have got to remind yourself these are spots and disease. You may think a blistering rash is disgusting to look at, for example, but as soon as the glistening sores are replaced with lustrous pearls does it transform the appearance completely.

So yeah, from Kalman’s work I decided to take a similar approach but different theme and look at what food does to prevent certain diseases. In particular, I have focused on foods which actually look like the organ they help to protect.

For instance, a sliced carrot looks like the human eye and helps with the function of the eyes, improves vision and prevents infections such as cataracts.

Tomatoes have four chambers and is red just like the heart has four chambers. They can help with blood flow and prevent heart diseases such as coronary heart disease which is the narrowing of arteries.

But what I have taken interest in is the brain. Walnuts have gnarled folds just like the brain and are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which help with the development of the brain, thus, may assist in preventing dementia and brain aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia which includes the loss of memory. It leads to the development of protein ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ in the brain, resulting in the death of brain cells. So far Scientists are not absolutely sure of what causes Alzheimer’s disease. It could be age, inheritance or genetic factors. No

one is sure.

I took inspiration from Alzheimer’s cells and tried developing veiny shapes and alien-like forms to convey inner body organs and cells. I liked the idea of something growing out of the body like roots of a tree, spindly wrapping tendrils to emphasise a feeling of growth and never letting go. Like Alzheimer’s, it worsens over time and once you have it, you have got it for time.

The cells under a micro-scope were beautiful to look at, yet transmitted a nasty disease. I carried out samples using resin, experimenting with different colours similar to that of Alzheimer’s cells. The colours, to me, looked ultraviolet, like they glowed. Thus, I sampled using bits of UV acrylic and bright pigments to achieve colours I was happy with to give the idea of nuclei and cell-like qualities.

Sensation in this project was important to me. The first thought that came into my head of a nasty growth was something sticky, fleshy, and when touched would remain on your hands as if it was trying to pass onto someone else. Trying to grow and spread. I immediately thought LATEX. It possessed these rubbery-like qualities which would be perfect for what I wanted to achieve. I experimented with colours but preferred the clear stuff as it seemed more cell-like to me.

I attached the resin bits to the latex and created vein-like patterns by cutting holes into the rubber. I experimented with burning to achieve dark crisp sticky edges. The reason why I darkened the latex was because it would create more of a contrast on the skin, but yet retained that transparent quality. The natural latex was too similar to the colour of the skin, it would not be seen in the photographs and would reflect light too much, thus my decision. In addition, the melted latex would stick and feel more repulsive when attached to the skin, when taken off it would leave oil residue on the skin which emphasises the idea of dormant disease.


This is my final piece. I am pleased with the sensation and idea of my piece, however, the colour is not fully to my liking. I tried to find a way to make  the latex UV but the paint was expensive. Hopefully my piece conveys an impression of growth and spreading through the appearance of it placed on the body.

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Catwalk Project

This project was pretty challenging. We were asked to design an extravagant and unusual piece of catwalk jewellery. The inspiration for the piece, being a particular culture or a specific period in history. We were advised to make use of scale, colour and form.

In the end, after spending a lot time researching different cultures and designers, Sarawak became my theme. Sarawak is a Malaysian region in north-west Borneo, and means a great deal to me because when I was young, my family took me trekking around there and we even lived with the tribe for a couple of weeks. What an experience. I focussed mainly on colours they use, symbols and tradition.

I experimented with weaving, which is a huge tradition in Sarawak, the woven art possess symbols and designs which represent certain animals like deer, birds, frogs, etc. These symbols are meant to protect the village by warding off bad spirits. You can see some etched tribal designs on the circular pendant hanging from my piece. In addition, I practiced weaving in wire and yarn and ended up weaving 2 long tubes of black wire which took me AGES. I could have machine knitted the wire but my intention was to keep up the tradition of Sarawak and keep weaving by hand. There are two colours running consistently through my piece (black and red), this is because red and black are used frequently in Sarawak art and textiles: red representing sacrifice, courage and determination; black symbolises rich natural resources and wealth of Sarawak such as timber and petroleum. The black weaved tubes are attached to both ears creating a feeling of awkwardness and weight. The reason behind this is in Sarawak, they consider lengthened ears beautiful thus wanted my piece to be more of an experience rather than aesthetic. To express the true pain of beauty and tradition in Sarawak. I have had people ask me “would this be kind of sore to wear?”, well yes of course, but this is nothing compared to some of the weights Sarawak women have to dangle from their ears. They can be up to 100 grams in weight each!


(Development: weaved coloured sires, weaved yarns, beadwork samples)

(Development: piece was going to be attached the hair to focus on awkwardness but issue with it staying on, thus replaced weight on ears)

Near the end of the project, we were taught how to use the photography studio. Man was confusing at first! Really enjoyed it though.

I really enjoyed this project as it allowed me to experiment with unfamiliar materials and different techniques (weaving, photography, etc). However, it still seems unfinished to me so will work on it during the easter break. I strongly believe jewellery should not only be aesthetically beautiful, but tell a story, have a deeper meaning. How, in some countries, beauty must be accompanied with pain.

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Extreme Beauty: Razor Sharp Teeth

There are various reasons for teeth chiselling in each culture. It could to do with religious beliefs or cultural standard of beauty. It normally takes place around puberty, when a boy’s voice deepens and a girl becomes fertile. The practice is celebrated through holding a feast, music and ceremonial dress.

The two canine teeth and incisors between them are scraped down to be the same length. The actual process takes a short five to ten minutes. The six teeth filed are believed to represent the ‘Sad Ripu’, undesirable qualities that can linger in one’s life. In addition, sharpened teeth keep the spirits happy and bring balance to a female’s life.

Tooth chiselling has in fact been banned by the Indonesian government; however the Mentawai tribe have refused to stop the practice, along with their ceremonial dress.

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Extreme Beauty: Small Feet Are Sexy

In the 13th century foot-binding was a common tradition among Chinese women. Young girls aged from 4 to 7, while bones were still flexible, began their two year foot-binding process that bent, twisted and compressed the feet.

The desired size was 3 inches or less, the toes, excusing the big toe, were bent beneath the front pad of the foot. Meanwhile, the front of the foot was pulled back to touch the heel, folding the whole foot in half. In the course of the process, there needed continual changing of binding cloths and cleaning of the foot, in case the flesh started to decay.

When foot-binding became at its most popular, women and their families and husbands took great pride in their small feet and achieving the perfect ‘Lotus Shape’. Walking was difficult and caused bending of the knees slightly and swaying to walk properly. This swaying walk became known as the Lotus Gait and men considered it as sexually arousing. Weight put on the folded toes would be excruciatingly painful. However, the heel, which lined up with the axis of the leg bone, could hold the body’s weight quite comfortably. Thus, the Chinese designed shoes which lifted the toes off the ground and kept all the body’s weight on the heel. Walking was still possible but awkward.

The shoes were made from highly expensive silk and velvet, consisting of elaborate designs with flower and Taoist symbols of happiness and prosperity. What a joke.

Below shows just how this process of foot-binding can have a great effect on your life. Never to walk properly again.

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Extreme Beauty: The Desire for a Longer Neck

The desire for a long neck started in the fifteenth century, the collars gradually began to loosen and both Italian and Nothern paintings included women exposing more open necklines. From the book ‘Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I read page after page of strange ways of elongating the neck.

The ruff is an item of clothing worn in the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century. It was worn by women, men and children. What started as the outlining of the neckline rapidly transformed into a framing of the face. At their extreme, ruffs could be a foot or more wide. The widening of the ruff made the head look separate from the body. It also created an optical illusion: the broadening plane of white conveyed a greater distance between the head and the torso. The ruff made the head look like it was floating above the body.

(Padaung women with brass neck coils)

The most extreme of ways of lengthening the neck still occurs in Africa, Thailand and Burma. Brass neck coils are worn by the Padaung women of Burma. The women are fitted with the coils at the age of six. Though I have heard it can even be as young as 2. The neck rings push the collarbone via a counterweight, about eight pounds, and the causes the collarbone change to an angle of over forty-five degrees. It is caused by extreme triangulation of the shoulder.

(X-rays showing the effects of Burmese neck coils on the human skeleton)

Paduang men have often pressured their daughters to wear the coils as tourists will pay to take photos of the goose-necked women. Though most women do this by choice because of their tradition and belief.

I find this particularly interesting, however, I do not know if I would want to take on such belief. These women must be pretty tough and stay true to their religion which I admire and respect.

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