As a group, we decided to go for masks as our artefacts of self-love. We tasked each other to look into ourselves and think about what self-love meant to us, then, given the conclusion, we would have to create a design for our mask using backing research. Here is the initial sketch that I made before I did any research, all of it drawn from intuition – my groupmates can attest! I say that because of how much the research made sense with what I had drawn, so much so that it would not be shocking if I said that I drew it after doing the research! It was actually even before I thought about what self-love meant to me and which pillars of self-love I identified with, which even furthers the odd aspect of how I was able to take on this task. The vision for it just kind of popped into mind the moment we came up with the idea of doing a mask as a key artefeact.
I wrote this out a few days after sketching out the mask, it’s truly funny how almost every element of the mask can be a reflection of this! I’ll show you what I mean.
After I had drawn the sketch, I analyzed it further, and noticed that I subconsciously added mole-like whiskers as well as a moth-like thing on the bottom half, a circle on the forehead and some antlers that seem to be made out of wood. Again, all of this was drawn without much thought, which is so interesting to look back on given how much of the newly done research makes sense within the context of the mask.
I started looking into the elements I was noticing in my design of the mask – the bear, the moth, the mole and the wooden antlers and here’s what I have been able to uncover with just a simple google search to begin with.
As for the wooden horns and the circle on the forehead, because they weren’t all that distinct or obvious as references, I did some research into types of wood and what they represented as well as gems. Before I did, though, I thought about my favourite type of gem and wood – labradorite and birch. You can probably tell where I’m going with this.
I keep coming back to it, but it really boggles my mind how I was able to do this. The fact that everything checks out makes me believe that it is correct and that I should go with this indefinitely. I do, however, want to draw up more sketches of the mask just to get the vision across better in case it’s not the easiest to comprehend at first glimpse. I might also go for a sculpted model rendition of the mask after some on-paper development to give it form.
UPDATE (1st of February) – I have drawn up a more finalized version of the mask in my sketchbook:
UPDATE (2nd of February) – I’ve taken the time to sculpt up a mock-up of my mask on a small scale using clay:
UPDATE (5th of February) – before I sculpted the bear above, I had sketched out an idea in my sketchbook when I was still on campus that day. While the initial bear sculpture was a fun exercise and a good way to explore my created creature in 3D, it would not have made for a good self-love artefact, therefore, I had to do something else.
A sort of an amalgamation of ideas stuffed into a single, unifying design – a totem-esque sculpture! Initially, I had planned to carve it from wood, as seen in the notes in my sketchbook, however, after giving wood-whittling a try, I realized that I would not be able to achieve the kind of level of detail that I wanted to with this piece. Let’s just say, my hand is not made for carving, or, at the very least, not trained enough to do so properly!
I did notice an improvement with each attempt, however, I was growing increasingly frustrated and was making some dumb mistakes. Justin suggested I picked up a larger piece of wood with the hopes that it would be a different story, but seeing as I had just butchered these poor 3 pinelings, I did not want to take the risk of ruining an even bigger piece of wood, therefore I had to turn down his offer. After some thinking, I realized that I could very easily just sculpt my totem like I had done a couple of days back and thus – my totem was created!
This took around 4 hours to complete, which, I would say is an incredible time given the complexity of the piece. I am very satisfied with the end result, excited to push it further by casting it on campus, making a mold of it and then creating a candle using the mold. I have also taken upon myself to create a totem for every other member of the group, which means I will have to make 4 more of these in the upcoming week or so, very exciting. Hopefully I’m able to retain a similar aesthetic throughout all of the totems!
UPDATE (7th of February) – I have developed sketches for the totems of the rest of the group.