Beginning my tutorial as always with a reflection, I discussed with Miranda how I have created a turtle from disposable masks. We both agreed that this was very successful, more so in comparison to the wire, and plastic experiments. Miranda suggested some changes to my design and concept which I 100% agreed with and will take on board.
- Using one mask to make one turtle. This is a much cleaner concept and has a lot of symbolism to it. The mask becomes the turtle. However, this will be very difficult to do. Disposable masks are very fragile and can tear easily. I will have to exploit the three layers in a mask for it to be successful and look attractive.
- The turtles should look more like they were created from disposable masks. This means using the blue side of the mask not just the white. I personally like the turtles being all in white, but I think as my aim is to raise awareness it would be more powerful for the turtles to actually resemble the material they are made from.
- Utilising all of the mask to make the turtle. I have the idea to make a spine structure using the wire in the mask, and the scraps to make the stuffing.
I have begun to think about ways of exhibiting my work. I am considering a video piece, a workshop, giving the turtles away to raise money or selling them, or an installation piece. I may even try everything, documenting the process. A connection I would love to explore further at this stage is the link to cuddly toys. We associate soft toys with children, innocence, joy. Really they are just another example of mass-consumerism, choking the planet. These turtles are very similar to soft toys, except infused with a serious message.
Using One Mask to Make a Turtle
After my tutorial, I decided to jump straight in and experiment with how to make a turtle out of just one disposable mask. I will list the process of how I made it here.
- I began by pulling the mask out to its full shape, extending the pleats out.
- I then drew the turtle body shape, a pointed oval.
- I cut this out, and then took away the blue plastic from the other two white layers.
- I then stitched my design for the turtle shell onto the blue plastic.
- I attached the wire to the back of the blue.
- Pinning the right sides together – blue plastic facing the white plastic, I stitched around the body shape, leaving a hole at the end.
- I then turned this inside out.
- I then cut out the rest of the body parts from my mask. This was two arms, two legs, and a head.
- I repeated the process of stitching leaving a hole at the end on all the body parts.
- Using the scraps of the mask, I stuffed all body parts. I did this by cutting it into very small squares. It was easiest to use a funnel and tweezers for this.
- I then sealed all of the body parts with stitch.
- To finish, I stitched each body part together.
This was my first turtle made completely from disposable masks. It is not yet perfect, but I feel both the concept and appearance is stronger than my first. This was mainly an experiment to ensure that the actually turtle shape and structure could be achieved through using just one mask. Evidently it can, although it is difficult. The plastic and paper material it is made from is very fragile and flimsy, so it has to be sewn tightly and carefully. I used old disposable masks to stuff it with, which is why there is different colours in the shell of the turtle. Next time I will attempt to stuff it using the scraps from the mask I used. Looking at my images of the turtle, I think that the embroidered pattern of the shell is too indistinct. I could try to make the stitching bolder by going over it twice, and using longer lines.
Collected Disposable Masks
This week I decided to go and collect disposable masks off the street. This is because I know I will be using the masks to make my project. It is quite amusing that in the past, I have used many expensive and complex materials to make my artwork with. I feel that my process of working is far more successful now; it is more streamlined, more creative as I am limiting myself with materials, and also completely free!
It is very sad that I am able to go on a walk around my local area with the intention of collecting masks off the streets. There should be no masks on the streets – I have never dropped any, my peers and family have never consciously dropped any. The main place I find them is carparks; I think people must just throw them away as they get in their car on their way home. Perhaps the term ‘disposable’ mask is misleading – maybe people think they are free to dispose of them anywhere they like. I would personally attribute it to both human ignorance and selfishness. I am not sure as of yet what to do with my images of masks. I have kept a record of when I found each one. I am sure I will find a purpose for the images, if only just to educate. If including Semester One’s images, I may have about 100 photographs already.