Final Project: Metamorphose Frog Skirt + Samples

THE INSPIRATION (MOODBOARD + RESEARCH)

The frog belongs to the carnivorous group of amphibians. It can dwell in both dry land and fresh water. They could also live under rocks and in trees. Some important characteristics of an adult frog is a stout body, protruding eyes, anteriorly-attached tongue, limbs folded underneath, and no tail (except in tailed frogs). The appearance of a frog changes as it experiences different stages of metamorphosis.

Frog skin

The skin of a frog is distinctly glandular. These glands secrete substances that range from distasteful to toxic. The frog’s skin is also varied in colour, usually to camouflage themselves with natural colours — dappled brown, grey, green. However, some frogs have vividly coloured skin with lucid patterns. These could be bright red, yellow or black. They are usually toxic, and this idea wards off predators.

the life cycle of a frog

The life cycle of a frog comprises of 3 phases — starting as an egg, progressing to a tadpole, then completing metamorphosis as an adult frog.

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START OF CYCLE

 

As an embryo (egg), it is covered in layers of gelatinous substance. When several eggs are clumped together, they are collectively known as frogspawn. The jelly provides support and protection while allowing the passage of oxygen, carbon dioxide and ammonia.

DEVELOPMENT PHASE

The egg then metamorphoses into a tadpole, it typically has an oval body and possesses a long, vertically flattened tail. As a general rule, free-living larvae are fully aquatic, but at least one species has semiterrestrial tadpoles which live among wet rocks. Tadpoles are typically herbivorous, feeding mostly on algae, including diatoms filtered from the water through the gills.

END OF CYCLE

 

Finally, at the last stage of the life cycle, the frog takes the adult form that we are most familiar with. This process is sudden and rapid.

The most significant change that occurs during this phase is the development of the lungs. The gills also start to disappear from the gill pouch, the front legs become visible. Another transformation occurs with the lower jaw, changing into the big mandible of the carnivorous adult. The long, spiral gut of the tadpole becomes the typical short gut of a predator, it is no longer herbivorous.

The nervous system becomes adapted for hearing and stereoscopic vision, and for new methods of locomotion and feeding. The eyes are repositioned higher up on the head and the eyelids and associated glands are formed. The eardrum, middle ear, and inner ear are developed. The skin becomes thicker and tougher, the lateral line system is lost, and skin glands are developed.

The final stage is the disappearance of the tail, but this takes place rather later, the tissue being used to produce a spurt of growth in the limbs. Frogs are at their most vulnerable to predators when they are undergoing metamorphosis. At this time, the tail is being lost and locomotion by means of limbs is only just becoming established.

SAMPLES

Sample I — Chosen Sample

Printed cloth + Organza + Furry yarn + Facial Pads — Applique

More details about the process of creating this sample will go into the next section of this post, describing how I made the final product.

Applied on some bottles and containers

Sample II — Creating a sculptural translucent surface with tape and iridescent beads

Tape + Iridescent Beads

This material was created by simply arranging some tape and dipping them in iridescent beads and then rolling it up with more tape. Although this technique is very simple, I feel like it looks better than all the other samples I’ve tried to create. It was inspired by the membrane-like translucent skin of the younger permutations of the frog — eggs and tadpoles.

Applied to a living room as wall decor

Original image from Kaodim

Sample III — Creating a 3D Crevice with machine smocking

Cloth + Smocking in circular shape with semi-elastic thread — Smocking

I realised that it was possible to create a 3D crevice-like mound on a flat cloth just by smocking with a machine using a semi-elastic thread. This idea was inspired by the mounds found on the frogs skin. On some frogs, eggs and babies can rest in these mounds.

This idea was not chosen because it uses up a whole lot of cloth to fill a small area. I also could only do this once because of the amount of elastic thread I had.

applied on a sofa

original image from Masons Home Decor

Sample IV — Creating organic looking smocking

variation 1:

variation 2:

Smocking organza to look as organic as possible.

This idea was inspired by the wrinkles on the frogs skin. I also wanted to create this on a soft, translucent material to mimic the fluidity of the younger permutations of a frog.

Sample V — A microscopic view of the frog’s skin

Strips of cloth sewn together in a cell-like pattern.

This idea was inspired by a microscopic view of the pores on the skin of an adult frog. As we all understand, the skin of a frog is also a means for moist breathing — one of its most prominent characteristics.

Sample VI — Creating 3d textures on frog’s skin with applique

This idea did not end well. To create this, I cut holes in the green cloth and popped the organza through the holes. I tried to sew all of it together but it just fell apart in the end.

However, I do enjoy the pinned version of this sample a lot, because it is very evidently inspired by a frog (the skin and its eggs).

Applied as part of Architecture, can be integrated with vertical gardening.

ALL APPLICATIONS

THE MAKING OF

Pattern making — since there was no dress form and also considering I live alone, I made a pattern out of my own measurements.

Using facial pads to create fibrous patches — freehanded cell-like cut-outs.

I also put in patches patterned cloths (picked these patterns out because they are reminiscent of an adult frogs skin). Pinned all of them down and sewed them on with a machine.

Using an exacto knife, I distressed the inside of the sewing to reveal the layers underneath.

Ideally, I would have created the fray of the edges with some sandpaper. However, due to material constraints…

It was quite a manual process. But it was also pretty cathartic.

I also embedded some wooly yarn in pockets, just to add variety to the skirt. They are reminiscent of a frogs eggs that have yet to hatch.

After repeating this process with all the pieces, I then put together the skirt. I sewed them with the machine.

Initially, I decided to create an invisible seam with some of the green fabric. But it was too flimsy to hold the shape and kept flipping out. So I went in with some stitches again.

The finishing touch was some veins that I created with furry yarn, sewn over with a machine zig-zag stitch. I thought it would be more obvious that the translucent layer was meant to be a membrane with the veins embedded in it. Afterwards, I hemmed the bottom of the skirt and added a zipper.

THE FINAL PRODUCT

metamorphose frog skirt

The concept of this skirt is fairly simple. I was intrigued by the way a frog’s been gentle its entire life, but one day turns into a lean mean bug-eating machine. As when it was a tadpole and egg, it had swam around with its translucent skin and flexible bodies. One day it grows a jaw and limbs, the patterns on his skin become more visible and less membrane-like. The skirt describes this process of transformation. I chose the method of distress because it best described both versions of the frog. I also make a skirt out of this surface because the skirt is iconic of poise and effeminacy, and would bear the most effect from raggedy edges and fun patterns. The slit down the thigh is also symbolic of revelation, making the skirt more edgy that a normal circle skirt generally would be.