Assignment 3 – For Emiko’s Kind

Part 1:

Images taken from Google

My reference image was a close-up image of a Pin-cushion starfish (Culcita Novaeguineae).  Unlike many close up images and SEM photography, where the patterns seemed to be linear or/and seamless, the pattern of the pin-cushion starfish was radial; which radiates rather symmetrically from the middle point. Hence, I was rather intrigued by the radial pattern; which sort of resembled how heat energy moves through radiation, and as well as the pattern of the alternating sizes of the elements.

Material Choice: Black Beans ( Organic )

For my study, I decided to use beans as they resembled the elements in the patterns. I decided to use black beans as they were the only beans I could find which had a greater variation in sizes. Furthermore, they were smooth, cool to the touch, and round; creating gaps when attached together which enables air ventilation.  This was similar to the “cooling” wooden beads which are commonly seen in Asian countries, placed on chairs and seats.

Images taken from Google


Initially, I tried several ways to attach the beans together, but it did not work out well. Hence, I decided to stick the beans one by one using hot glue instead.

Cutting the beans into halves so that they have a flat base; bigger surface area and easier to attach onto something. However, it was rather difficult to achieve perfect halves; they tend to shatter and the “skins” became detached, which looked rather weird as they have varying colours on the insides.

I tried to boil the beans in hopes of softening them so I could attach them together with needle and thread. However, the “skins” came out as well, and the beans were either too hard ( impossible to poke through and ended up breaking when too much force was used ), or too soft ( become green bean paste ).


Part 1 Final:

I wanted to mimic how the pattern of the Pin-cushion starfish was not totally straight and symmetrical, but I had some difficulty trying to “steer” the directions of the beans, and it sort of ended up a bit too curvy.


Part 2:

For my final, I decided to make a hat as Thailand had always been notorious for its burning sun, and that the top of our heads would usually be the first to receive the brunt of the sun.



Furthermore, research have shown that the top of our heads are one of the few parts of our bodies to overheat first to trigger sweat and evaporative cooling.


However, evaporative cooling is impossible for Emiko as she was unable to sweat. Hence, I felt that a hat to shield her head from the sun would be rather important for Emiko in the storyline, as her hair would most likely be black, which would absorb heat more easily from the sun.


My hat was inspired by futuristic headdresses which are metallic are mainly angular, and as well as the fabric headdresses by Hussein Chalayan. I felt that the angular features made the headdresses look very visually aesthetic, and rather futuristic. 

As I really liked the radial pattern of the Pin-cushion starfish, I wanted to implement the radial pattern and the shape onto my final wearable. I decided to forgo metals, as metals would definitely heat up fast under the scorching sun, and are reflective, which would be too attention grabbing for Emiko, who wants to blend in as one of the Thais and to become less unnoticeable.



  1. Black Beans ( Organic )
  2. Black Organza // Polyester ( Manufactured )
  3. Black Silk Ribbon // Polyester ( Manufactured )

I decided to use make the entire hat full black. Initially, I was rather skeptical with using black beans, which are black in colour, and which was known to be the colour which absorbs the most heat. However, after doing some research, it was proven that the colour black was not necessarily the colour that would make you feel the hottest under the bright sun.

Images taken from Google

Studies have shown that the Bedouins, a group of tribes living in Africa and the Middle East, frequently covered themselves with thick, loose, and black robes from their heads to their ankles, despite the scorching heat in the deserts. It was proven that although black colour indeed absorbs heat more easily from the sun, the heat would not be able to transmit to the body if the material was thick enough, as it would have been dissipated through the movements that the user makes ( heat convection ).

Furthermore, black colour permits lesser short-wave radiation from penetrating to the skin compared to lighter colours ( similar to lighter coloured curtains vs. darker coloured curtains ), hence protecting the head from both the sun and the heat.

Hence, I decided to make the hat entirely black, and I also felt that the colour would help Emiko to stand out lesser as well.


Process & Mock-ups:

Used a styrofoam head to make the layer of beans more form-fitting.

Sewed the ribbons together to form the directions of the pattern, and as well as to serve as a way to secure the hat when it is being worn.

Pasted masking tape over the styrofoam head to prevent it from getting burnt from the hot glue, and as well as to hold the first few beans in place.

The smaller beans were purposely glued vertically to one another to increase the width of the layer; to slow down and prevent the heat from reaching the layers underneath.

Tried to experiment with different folds using the organza. Initially, I tried to use paper to create a mockup, but it was impossible as paper does not drape like the organza, and it was rather messy to morph it onto a head.


Final Mock-up:

To ensure that the heat would not be transmitted to the body, I decided to use black organza, a light and airy material which tends to move easily, to help dissipate the heat faster through movement. However, organza are rather translucent. Hence, I decided to fold it into layers while attaching the layer of black beans on the very top to block out the heat and sunlight, and prevent them from reaching the head.

I was rather satisfied with how the folds turned out, and debated if I should snip the organza shorter at the back, and how.


Final Process:

The organza was cut shorter; sweeping past the shoulders a little, and in a way that there would be “two tails” formed at the end. This was to make it more angular, aesthetically pleasing, and as well as to ensure that movements of the organza would be more easily created to enable heat to be dissipated.

The edges of the organza were hand sewn, and the top layer of black beans was sewn onto the organza afterwards. The folds were also sewn to keep them in place. I decided to add the third layers ( refer to figure above ), underneath a layer of organza to act as cooling elements. Images taken from Google

As the black beans also resembled capsules, I wanted the third layers to be capsules contained cooling gel / liquid, which was inspired by cooling beds and cooling beads in cooling packs. As technology would have been more advanced during the storyline, these cooling gel / liquid would have been improved to remain cold for a more extended period of time or even forever.

Hence, the top layer of beans would have been used to keep the heat out, while the bottom layers would have been used to keep Emiko cool.

The third layers at the front of the hat would have been bigger and extended to the underneath of the hat. However, I took too much time sticking the beans and sewing.



Overall, I was rather satisfied with how it turned out to be in the end, and how it looked rather “alien” as well – like the aliens in some futuristic sci-fi movies.


Presentation Boards

3D – En Pointe

AMA by Julie Gartier

Struggling and Letting Go

The dance piece which I have chosen was the first video, AMA by Julie Gartier.  The words which I wanted to express was “struggling“, and “letting go“. I felt that the dancer wanted to express the pain of losing her unborn child; how she was being weighed down by her grief, and how she felt lighter when she finally let go of her grief at the end. Hence, I decided to portray the emotions expressed by the dancer in the video instead.

Inspiration / Process

// Idea 1 – Vertical 


Inspired by Matt McConnell’s wire sculptures, and other vertical sculptures, my initial sketches were mostly vertical; elements curving upwards and getting lighter, as I wanted to portray the notion of how the dancer was getting up from the lowest point of her life, and letting go of her grief. However, I decided to change the idea as I felt that in the video, the process was not always going uphill or smoothly; how she jumped and leaped, but kept falling back to the ground and it took her several tries before she can finally reach the surface of the water – like she was being weighed down by the grief and was unable to return to the water’s surface that easily.

Hence, instead of doing something that only shows that the elements are going up, I wanted to do something to show a movement or a flow which is going both horizontally and vertically; to show the struggles of the process of letting go of one’s grief; how the dancer tried to leap from the ground but she falls back down to the ground, and how she tries again.

Initially, I wanted to use wire mesh but I felt that it was rather difficult to twist it into the spiral shape that I wanted. I wanted to have a spiral which was initially very tight and close, which gradually spreads out to show the notion of letting go. Hence I decided to use wires instead.


// Idea 2  – Spiral / Nautilus Shell

My initial prototype was made of the thicker aluminium wires and a translucent gauze-like material. The idea was inspired by a nautilus shell and a fibonnaci scale, showing a spiral gradually opening up; which can portray how a person slowly lets go and open up again. The wire suddenly touching the ground near the end was to portray how the dancer falls back to the ground for the final time in the water, before taking a final leap to the water’s surface. However, I felt that the idea did not really work out because cannot really see the notion of letting go, and people cannot really differentiate which one was the starting point and which one was the end.


// Idea 3 ( Final ) – Spirals

My final sculpture was mainly inspired by the works of Richard Sweeney; where the curves, twists and the lines of the pleats in his works depicted a sense of flow. Jennifer McCurdy’s potteries were also an inspiration; I felt that the smooth curves and twists in her works were very elegant and interesting as well.

Final Sculpture

Front view of final sculpture before attaching fabric mesh

My final sculpture was made out of two thicker wires, closely intertwined and are tied together by the smaller and thinner wires. Fabric mesh was used to cover the areas between the wires to make the idea of depth more visible; which was initially rather difficult to see due to the overlapping wires / lines.

The sculpture or spiral starts off with curves which are smaller and closer to the base. This represents how the dancer was initially overwhelmed with the grief, at the beginning; where she was lying on the floor and her movements looked sluggish and smaller.

The spiral going upwards represents how the dancer made an effort in trying to let go of the grief; moving and getting off of the ground. The spiral going back down sort of represent how the dancer was not strong enough or ready to get over the grief yet; how she drops back down onto the ground after her leaps.

The spirals gradually gets bigger to mirror how the dancer’s movements were gradually getting more expressive, bigger, and she jumping even higher; like she was more determined to let go of her grief and to reach the water’s surface.

The sculpture eventually ends with the two wires going in different directions instead of forming another spiral. This was to represent how the dancer was finally able to let go at the end; how she felt lighter and was finally able to return back to the surface.

The wires were bent unevenly instead of smooth curves to represent the internal struggle of letting go. Initially, I wanted to do something which resembled Richard Sweeney’s works; smooth, twirling curves. However, I felt that it would not portray the struggling / hesitating emotions that the dancer was feeling; the notion of letting go was never smooth-sailing. The uneven widths of the spirals were also to further amplify the struggle. The wires eventually gets smoother curves near the end to show how there are no more struggles. The fraying edges of the fabric mesh was also to further amplify the emotions; the torn feelings, and that these feelings were never smooth / pretty.

Overall, I felt that I struggled with the sculpture; the idea and process looked rather simple, but it was rather difficult to twist the two thick wires into rather similar spirals, and it was tedious to tie and cut the thinner wires together with the thicker wires. It was rather time consuming to attach the fabric mesh onto the spirals, and as well as to trim the excess mesh.

Assignment 2A – Polyhedron Dreams ( Research & Process )

Planar Model Process: Tetrahedron

My initial planar model was made of 6 planes, 2 sets of 3 similar planes.

Initially, when I thought about making something to resemble a tetrahedron or imply its shape, I thought of making something symmetrical and angular. However, after completing the model, I felt that it did not look very interesting from different angles, as they were almost all the same. Hence, I decided to change my planar model.

Initially, I had difficulties drawing the different perspectives on paper. I wanted to use a big triangle as my dominant plane, without placing it in a way that it was one of the entire plane of the tetrahedron. Hence I wanted it to be tilted at an angle while being supported by another shape. It was then, when I placed the linear model over the two shapes that I felt that if I created and arranged shapes which touches all 3 points / ends of the triangular plane on every sides, it would be able to imply the shape of a tetrahedron more clearly.

Final Planar Model



Final Model Research:

Triangles and Arches, Alexander Calder, 1965         Beta Paper Installation, Richard Sweeney

I was inspired by the works of Alexander Calder, especially Triangles and Arches, where he uses triangles, but distorted their shapes and forms by making them curvier. I felt that it was interesting, and how it resembled like dolphins hopping out of the water and going back into the water.

Richard Sweeney’s Beta Paper Installations has also inspired me to create curves instead of flat planes. I liked how the creases and the bends of the papers greatly suggest a flow.

Untitled, Alan Brain                                      Untitled, Alan Brain

I was also inspired by the paintings of Alan Brain, where he uses mostly geometric shapes, but distorted them in a way where it did not look like the usual flat geometric shapes. I felt that movements or flow was implied through the distortions.

Bojes Chapel, Africa                                                            Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

I felt inspired by these wavy architecture as well.



Final Model Process:

Initially, I had problems trying to visualise it and putting it on paper. I started out with trying to envision the original planar and linear models, and how to make the planes break apart from one another.

My linear + planar model and my Combination model prototype. Inspired by Alexander Calder, Alan Brain, and Richard Sweeney, I decided to make curves using geometric shapes made of cardboard. I used the same planes from the planar model; same / similar shapes but bigger / longer to amplify the idea of movement as the planes looked smaller when I creased the flutes to create the curves.

My prototype model. Used cotton thread to hold the planes, but felt that it looked weird and out of place like this. Also felt that the rubber bands were rather distracting, and it comes off easily.

Hence I decided to remake the model. It was rather difficult to catch the angle while using hot glue gun to stick the chopsticks together. Removed the extra plane in my prototype, and swapped the positions of some of the planes. I decided to use cotton thread to hold an entire side of the planes to the chopsticks instead of just holding it from the ends. I felt that this could portray the notion of movement, and looked less out of place compared to the prototype.

Final Combination Model


Assignment 2A – Polyhedron Dreams (Final)

Line Model: Tetrahedron



Planar Model:


Initially, I tried to do something which consisted of many triangles and are symmetrically balanced. However, I felt that it would looked a tad bit boring, as it looked the same from almost every sides. Hence, I decided to change the design, but kept the usage of mainly triangles and angular shapes.

I decided to make the planar model resemble a triangle from every view by ensuring that the ends of all the shapes create an overall implied shape of a triangle / tetrahedron. I took rather long to catch the correct angle / size; planes kept protruding too much out of the linear model as I was unable to calculate the angle, and I had troubles cutting the slots at the correct angles.



Lines + Planes Model:

As the concept is about “breaking free”, I decided to to use the same materials I used for the planar model ( plus cotton thread ) to imply the concept of breaking free from the tetrahedron shape, and as well as “breaking away from the norms”.

When we think about cardboard or triangles, we would visualise them as something angular and flat. Hence, I decided to create curves using cardboard  by creasing and cutting the cardboard with different flute directions, to convey the idea of “breaking free from the norms”; cardboard being flat and can only be folded in right angles. I was also inspired by some of the works of Alexander Calder and Alan Brain, where they uses geometric shapes, but not in a usual flat way.

Furthermore, I wanted to imply the movement of “breaking away” from the original tetrahedron shape by using the same shapes / planes I used for my planar model, placed in a similar position, with the shapes being longer and bigger to dramatise the idea of movement. I felt that the curves of the shapes help to suggest the movement of breaking away as well; the biggest plane resembled how a paper would look like when it is being dropped, and the prism shape looked like how a paper would look like when the wind carried it up – and are going in different directions.

I created triangles using chopsticks, and glued them together in different angles to imply the movement, and as well as to support the planes. I decided to use cotton thread to support the planes, and as well as to further amplify the movement.