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"Identity Check /process documentation" Project

One life in three years.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016



John Laxaabakk was born in Sultielma, a small mine village in the north of Norway





My grandmother’s stepsister came from Holland to Gothenburg and told us (my family) that he (John Laxaabakk) had been living in our city in Sweden but now had passed. He had been laying in his apartment without anyone knowing it for almost a year.





We went to the apartment. It was sad, beautiful and intense.
There were decorative things everywhere, carefully chosen places for everything, there was a presence of life even though no one was there. Red velvet curtains, golden frames, vitrine cabinets, books, records, video games, posters, cassette tapes, paintings, instruments.. It really felt like we were invading someone’s home. Someone’s own important and personal space.


gardamellan1John Laxaabakk was rejected by his mother and father (my great grandfather) because of his sexuality.


gardamellan44 gardamellan33
My grandmother moved to Sweden to work at a factory when she was 16-17 years old. I do not think they ever saw each other again, but I’m not sure of that, I never met her either.


When we got the assignment to make a mask/headpiece inspired by someone else I immediately thought of John, I had been thinking about that I wanted to make a work inspired by and for him and with this project I saw that opportunity. The process have been quite complicated for me, both emotionally and aesthetic wise. I did not think of, at first, that when you bring something personal like this to school, or let’s say the public you have to be completely open. I learned that the information I have, my process and and final work is for everyone else to judge even though the subject is highly personal. In the end I saw my work as a homage for John rather then a mask of him

I started working with what I had, pictures we took when we visited his apartment, researching the village he came from, listened to cassettes he recorded where he sings and plays the guitar. I had some contact with his sister although she seemed a bit distant to wanting to talk to me about this. And I had to respect that. I decided along the way to focus more on what I saw and felt when I looked at what I had and thought about him and his life destiny.


I remember I was touched by the theatrical interior John had. I’ve always wanted to have red velvet curtains as well. I imagine us sharing an interest for the dramatic. That is another reason why I chose to work with John in this assignment. It seems that he has been forced to act during his life. That social conventions and the time and environment he grew up in didn’t accept him for who he was or wanted to be. I extracted colours in his home, thought about music he listened to and what titles in his bookshelf I could see from the old pictures. I started experimenting.

ex1 ex2 ex3

But realized it was way to “spacey” an I needed more decorative elements for it to be right. I listened to songs he recorded, here is one of them with a musician he admired, Nat King Cole with Nature Boy. Further down in the text there is a song from Monica Zetterlund, Swedish jazz singer.


I made it more romantic.
ex4 ex5 ex6

And started working on a costume as well. I felt I could not say it all with a headpiece. I got some dark red fabric and used interior fabric in beige and white to drape and improvise shapes and qualities.

ex9 ex8 ex7

I made the arms long to show the feeling of being captured and I added more and more layers to the costume, the person who wears it is captured but beautifully so, like a Geisha.

When I was almost done with the costume and mask I still wanted to add something more. This project was getting bigger than I had anticipated but I went with it because it felt like the right, and only, thing I could do. There was so much to say and somehow I started to get to know this person a bit, through me. My mum showed me a diary she had found the day we were in John’s home and I decided to make a small booklet out of it. He only wrote small notes a few times a month but it shows his delicate observations, his finding out that he got cancer and his quiet joy and ode to life.




“At the doctor’s 9 a.m
Found out there is something wrong in my stomach
He called Axess.
And got me an appointment at 8 p.m”
“Taxi to Axess.
              The doctor found a tumor in the kidney.
               He faxed Ben, he called me and told me.
               Sahlgrenska next.”
“Grey & rainy.
No spring in site.
Suppose to get colder again.
Am a bit depressed.
But it will pass.
As long as there is life e.t.c.”





To complete the costume I made a pair of platform shoes in wood before the presentation. I wanted to be taller and more restrained to really get into the feeling of being restrained. However I should have covered them because they took to much attention from my other work. For the next presentation I will have worked on them for a bit, to make them more low key.

result3 result2 result4


result7 result6 result5

Thank you, John. 

I am glad I did this, I hope you are too. And I hope you know that I would love to have gotten to know you. I would have love to talk with you about music, books and all the other things that are important in life. Even though you had a tough time sometimes I see your love to life through small windows  in your home, music, writings and photographs. Thank you again.  


photo of Laxaabakk


Sound file: Monica Zetterlund – Trubbel (live 1968)


the tragedy of the blue wolf

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

during this article i will probably forget the fact that there is also something about a wolf that makes it easy to use as the illustration of an illness, yet again i’m not sure; because however dark wolves may look they still hide a certain gentleness.


when we were given the design topic of making a mask out of a person that fascinate us in anyway, i instantly thought i should use this space for the study of someone who would be in any way either strongly connected to me or that had a certain impact in my life, whether i know them or not.

the topic led to a very strange brainstorm that at first only resulted in ideas of persons that deeply touched me of course, but somehow did not bring me the satisfaction and excitement i thought i needed for this project. and i have to say that all of those whom i thought of, i knew perfectly well; and back then i think i needed someone i could « inspect » in instinctive ways, without ever really knowing if i am on the right track to understand them, or going straight the opposite direction.

i need to work on someone that touches me in any way. that i feel connected to.

but i need the thrill. i need to inspect. i need to depict, i need to look for (???), i need to know it’s not for sure, i need to know i’m probably wrong, i need to wonder.



once i met a guy. i hanged with him a lot, we never really talked. a kind of silent relationship built on a completely abstract understanding of each other.


we did manage to talk about two or three times and he had trouble finding his words, he always talked really slowly and silently, and often to say a few things about his life that were quite personal; almost as though he was suddenly talking because he desperately needed to get something out of his head. it’s ok because i needed something to get in.

he drew. he needed calm. he had no friends (and never had had) (first thing he told me)



first name:



meeting and learning to know someone in a context as destabilising as a hospital is quite tricky and implies many unusual factors. It is a context in which you instantly connect a stranger to a patient – not talking of any dehumanisation, but you know that you will go through certain situations with this person whether you like it or not; which eventually makes them special people who in the end you don’t know that much – although the things you know are certainly some of the most personal things you could know about them. If you add the fact that they will, in your mind and whether again you like it or not, always be connected to a medicalised and often painful period, things get even more mixed up, intertwined and weirdly complicated – but in the end that’s okay, and eventually you will sort things out on your own.




thing i drew at a point where i got lost


some situations continuously appear in my mind from time to time; some of them everyday, even if it is only for five seconds. as time passes things get forgotten, or just don’t feel the need to pop through your mind anymore; some others just hang in there and become a sort of daydreaming, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, that i realise I almost don’t notice anymore. this guy, however a stranger he may be in comparison to some other patients i’m supposed to know much better, is a person i think of a lot since we lost track of each other. i met him again two years ago quite randomly when going to an appointment at the same hospital – i was hoping he would’ve been discharged, but then i saw him, and he happened to be one of the rare patients in the unit who found a way, within his distorted mental capacities (for illness and medication purposes), to remember my face and name, he came to see me and quietly said “i’m happy you’re out, i wish i was too” – which left me this image of someone stuck for months in a situation I didn’t have the capacities to change; and with a deep willingness to break the armoured doors and take him out, but of course it’s a fantasy…which still brought guilt, love, hate, frustration and a number of questions probably never to be answered.

did he get bullied

i’m sure he gets bullied

does he like mint&chocolate chip ice cream and does he laugh like a kid when he sees someone stumble on the street
does he still play ping pong even though i’m not facing the ball anymore,

did he see the last Woody Allen movie or

does he talk all the time now
did he ever get out of hospital? what does he look like now, did he cut his hair?

has he become a cartoon maker?

or maybe he’s just stuck home video gaming seven days a week

is he alive?
what do I think?

what could I do for him?


*if i could wish for


i guess sometimes you just take things the wrong way. dream. dream again. dream always.


then i realised he made me think of a kind of hybrid mystical beast




i knew i needed something powerful, probably mystical also, but something beautiful, intriguing, perhaps funny in a way…something in which he could hide, something with which he wouldn’t care of walking besides a thousand complete strangers, something that would protect him and bring fascination and interest in the eyes of others.

i chose the drawing of a blue wolf.




and then this happened






i often work without really knowing what I’m doing and if it sometimes lead to good it also makes me make a lot of mistakes, but that’s o.k. when I saw the result of the structure i was working on, i really wondered where the * my mind went. not that i thought it looked terrible or anything, but when i looked back at all the fabrics i’d bought i wondered why it lead to such a dark mask.





 it had to be altered; i don’t see the point of illustrating darkness with darkness when it can sometimes be expressed with means opposite to those you expect the most. moreover i do not see him as a glaucous human being, and i remember catching some glimpses of a certain colorful beauty in him that really touched me – once we played ping pong and he laughed like a kid during the whole game because i deeply suck at this game, it was maybe one of the rare moments during which i felt the emotions coming out of him were completely independent from any medical purposes. maybe that’s also the point where I felt he could also still be a kid despite all the hard stuff he was going through and i ended up with a structure that actually brought joy to me and that i found much more relevant than the former.

it’s also one of the most important things for me, in my process. if what i’m doing makes me feel bad about things, i let go of it. Things are usually relevant when i feel good while doing it, otherwise i barely even see the point of it.


process 3

i also worked with metal for a while, studying the changing of colors that can happen with the different heating ways; using metal as jewels but also as a material that could break the use of textiles i had. only textiles seemed boring in the end, and i felt like i needed to add something maybe a little colder/stronger.






the last weeks were the most intense because it took me ten days approximately to dare adding layers to it; not that i didn’t want to, but i was scared of ruining everything and that the finality wouldn’t fit my expectations. but then i did, with yellow, grey fur, some more metal, orange and pink wool, ribbons etc that i placed instinctively (impulsively?) until i had the feeling it was done.

the sewing was long…but it was worth it, i was glad to see that my ideas had changed so much during the process, only to lead to a result that couldn’t have been more honest, and that’s exactly what i was looking for.







now I’ve made this mask i would like to create a whole scenery around it and maybe use it for audiovisual purposes. the only tryouts i have are poor quality iphone pictures; i thought of making photographs that could illustrate the life of this character, although i do not want to say that it will really be about the person i made the mask for anymore. not that i don’t want to but i wouldn’t really dare to do that; and in the way i made the tryouts i think it more as taking bits and bots of anything related whether to him, or to the kind of emotions he made me feel – and that englobes a lot of things. i see the character on the following picture more as a hybrid being containing deep human emotions than an explicit illustration of this guy. 

i think that the making of a mask for him was already huge in terms of tangibly illustrating who i see him as – what he makes me feel etc. creating sceneries around him personally disturbs me in a way, i don’t want him to be used for anything but i know that he plays a big role in these pictures. so i will continue my tryouts and maybe in the end i will find that without knowing it during the photographic process, the sceneries i will have created do still fit what i see him as…for this tryout, it doesn’t. lets say all the “naïve” parts the mask contains have been taken away by the pretty dark scenery. we’ll see!



isn’t everything just a copy of what was created by the nature?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My searching for person was based on connection of personality and apperiance.
First idea was to use Janis Joplin and hippie movenent as an inspiration. Why her? not only becouse i am close to her music but also about aura that she created around herself. She was considered to be the best female blues vocalist of the sixties. Janis Joplin was born in 1943, when she died Janis was 27 years old. American singer considered as a the best female blues vocalist of the sixties. her raw, powerful and uninhibited singing style, combined with her turbulent and emotional lifestyle, made her one of the biggest female stars in her lifetime. Her the most important performance was at Woodstock Festival in 1969. Nowadays she is still really famous and she has a lot of fans. Janis still works like a magnet. Her powerfull personality has made me intrested in hippies (crazy subculture based on the music and delight), music and 60s, copule of years ago.

In the begining of my process i printed a lot pictures in time to see what exactly she was wearing. Which textiles, patterns what kind of jewellery, accessories. The more I studied her style and taste, the more I was aware of what she wore. Round glasses were her trademark . She often wore long fur jacket and a fur hat in the same tame. Flared throusers were very popular among hippies. Janis had them everyday and also shirts with flared sleeves when she was singing and dancing on stage her sleeves where in motion which made her performances more mystic. During the movements of her hands thousands of bracelets made a clink sound. Most of the time her outfit where decoreted with colorfull fabrics for example with aztec patterns or with psychodelic paterns and tie dye.I found the fact that she wore feathers and corsets decorated with sequins suprising. Her dresses were always full of elements and colorfull accessories. In spite of exqisiteness of the gourments, they still made a crazy cohesive whole.


6778980-3x4-700x933-1 Janis-Joplin-Photos-janis-joplin-24124627-262-299               janis-joplinb


After this step, I tried to find objects and pictures of clothes or textiles that could fit her and her hippie style. Then I started to really discover Janis Joplin, and everything I found led me further into my process. She actually was just the starting point of my research. I was more focused on how these great icons have a big impact on the world, how these people are seen more as a fantasy than a human being, how they become magic and popular however ordinary they are. Why do other people wish they could be these icons?

At one point I wondered if i can meet the challange of finding anwers to those questions during my process. I was very concentrated on the extreme success of some artists in the music industry as well as on the phenomenon that in this concept of mass production there are a lot of objects/clothes/posters etc made and sold with an image of an artist. For example, I found on the internet Janis Joplin bags, t-shirts , umbrellas, till plates, ashtrays, child clothes. It shows that a a successful artist, at one point will become a brand and at this point I started to think more about plagiarism. 

8363c760c7c82ecfba9b4f1e3232f4f6 vintage-janis-joplin-poster-tyedye-t-shirt-3


In Poland there is a singer called Ania Rusowicz, who is an exact copy of Janis Joplin. When i was thinking about her, about what she was doing and how she took more and more of my interest then I decided that Ania should be the one inspiring my work, and lead to the comparison of real and fake, find a border between those phenomenons.
I researched a lot about Ania and it lead me to find a lot of links between her and Janis Joplin. They both wear the same clothes and glasses, sing with a similar voice and most of the time Ania sings covers from artists that have performed on Woodstock , including Janis but on the other hand she is still a different person.

2015_Woodstock_187_Ania_Rusowicz 1291738_1001396513240359_3154254520995877641_o


I then decided to think about materials. Something that would be a fake reproduction of a natural thing. I used only artificial materials which are imitations of a natural things or that are based on nature.I thought that it was a good way to express plagiarism. I collected fake flowers, stones, pills, acrylic wool, sponges, leaves and feathers. Everything I wanted to use had a powerful vibrant color because i wanted to still play with Ania’s hippie style. I made different selection of materials, colors, shapes, surfaces. In the beginning i didn’t know how I could connect all these different materials.

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I changed my ways of getting round to starting that project.  I was trying to glue them or sew them on, but later on I decided not to forget about what I wanted to say through my work and about all my thinking process. Inspired by nature i used the epoxy to preserve my fake natural objects. Exactly how sea and time conserves insects in amber. I put epoxy on plastic boards using a painting brush and sank pieces of materials into it, then carefully put the pieces together following colour palette, structures and shapes I made different compositions.

At this point I faced many problems. My idea was to cover the whole face and make a shape that would fit my face. Covering it up turned out to come up to my expactations, since I fulfilled my vision of the mask. Polish singer Ania Rusowicz lost her own creativity and identity by copying Janis Joplin but you can see through transparent peices that she is still recognizable; you are still yourself, somehow.
The biggest problems I faced during the process of shaping my mask. I heated up all the different pieces, shaping the flexible ones in my hands when the hard ones mostly broke as they were too thin, or some even too thick for me to change their shape.
The final product was a recapitulation of my research work and my thinking process. I was extremly pleased with how a final result turned out. From being just a thought it became a substantial product expressed by materials to reflect my thoughts on that topic. I did not wanted that piece to be a bold statement so I combined both of the sides. I do not believe that there is a boundry between artificiality and authenticity, since isn’t everything just a copy of what was created by the nature?


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unexpected tv crush

Thursday, April 28, 2016

switching from one tv program to another, my forefinger suddenly stops. it does not press the “+” button of the old remote control anymore (i already forgot how to use this device in the 21st century) an unknown woman on the screen catches my attention. she has wavy, dark hair, a symmetrical face with a sharp nose, beautiful lips. the tv-host asks her questions about her preferences in men (it is a dating program for adults) she carefully listens to the questions and time-to-time gazes into the screen figuring out the answer. her gaze magnifies me.



she lives in 1996 and her name is natella. her girlfriends trust in her and can feel safe leaving their boyfriends with natella for a while. they know that she is not going to “steal” them. natella believes that a man sometimes should sacrifice his life for a woman. if a guy lives in a messy apartment – she would help him clean. being a housewife for her is boring. at an earlier state her desire was to become a man, but later became proud of being a woman. when she came on this tv-show, she intuitively felt that she was going to find her real love there. and who knows, maybe she did.


this is all i know about her. this is everything i could get to know from her.


i was thinking a lot about her and her incredible beauty. what was there that caught my eyes and stopped from surfing further around dozens of other stupid tv-shows. i believed there was a story behind her. or i wanted to believe in her/my own story. i began to fantasize…


there is something flower’ish about her curly hair and her curly nose. she is intelligent and wealthy. good-mannered and cool. but being a “good” girl would be too boring for her. she has a very cold mind and a wrong taste in man. at least, i think so.

that makes her sad and melancholic every day. a man can never know when she leaves. or would she forever? her eyes are dark and they shine. she can have some fun with me today if i could only give a try.

she would rather prefer to sit in silence in her screaming room. or go for a long walk in the dark, lonely woods. she would never change herself because of a man. she would never try to change a man.

the more i look at the screenshots of her, the more i get into her hazel eyes. what are her fears? what was her childhood like? does she has a dark secret? what is she hiding? some old, dark secret which she keeps silent. she would never tell it to anyone, especially her man. it has an enormous power. a tremendous destruction. i am afraid of this secret and do not want to know it anymore.


she is a bird in a cage = a fish in an aquarium.


the trees are her only friends. nature is her shelter. she is a mysterious life observer and knows more about you than herself. her mind is chaotic and layered – ancient and shamanistic powers lead it. her name is natella. she comes from georgia.

there, where she comes from, the black sea meets the caucasus mountains.

there, the bright mountains and valleys are shared with god.

there, bloody red is a colour of a new beginning.

there, people are passionate types with strong feelings of devotion gained from the powerful sun.

there, people are vulnerable as pure blue shadow and they know how to control and hide it.

there, people are warriors of their solitude.

there, you can fly in the savory air or levitate in the wisdom of great waters.

there, you can be free and caught in the same time.




niko pirosmani. he has the most sensitive ways of describing georgians in his great paintings. religious pale faces, indigo skies, women in shawls, men in long dresses, tired and resting pets, cold gestures and poses, almost invisible yellow seeds of sun and red scars of routine.


that is were i took my colours for her.



complexity of circles and dots on the buds of the ‘caucasian rhododendron’. its invisible pink. grotesque and strong lines of the iris iberica. scaring wisdom of the ‘haeckel chiroptera. endless legends about the mountains growing out of the black sea. extravagancy and chic of the ‘caucasian pheasant. colourful elegancy of the rainbow trout.


that is were i took my shapes and tactility of her.


i collected everything natural i could find around me and began to recreate her in the form of a headpiece. i wanted to get inside of her skin, inside of her world, inside of her story when i put it on me/someone.


i was looking for authenticity in the reconstructions of traditional georgian shawls. i was making garments and textiles out of horse hair, pine cones and branches. in parallel with material try-outs and sketches i was searching for the way of making a kind of an armor for my heroine. because she is an absolute warrior. but she also loves to hide – her feeling, emotions, thoughts. she needs to preserve and cultivate everything inside of her.


i learned how to make a textile piece out of dish washing metal sponges. i also combined synthetic threads with wire in my glasses and earrings. i started to construct my piece by adding more and more layers. all the time it was not enough and soon i understood that one piece gets too complex and that i should continue my project in creating two separate concepts/designs. so, my idea does not get too messy.



the black sea. how can i show her connection and devotion to the endlessness and power of the black sea? she is my aphrodite – feminine and warlike at the same time. she i free and bubbly as foam. she is fast and moving as the stream. she is dexterous as a fish. she sometimes gets caught in the fisherman nets. and than she becomes the most precious thing in their old grumpy hands.


in total, the finished piece consists of four garments which get attached on the top of each other. the first layer is an entangled pattern which reminds of green sea weed usually thrown up on the coasts. it is always very tricky not to get in it while you swim. it is always cold and slimy. the second layer is more generous and floaty which refers to the sea waves – enormously strong and soft. the third layer which is attached on the ears symbolizes fishnets.  and the last top layer positions on the head and returns to the foam which always floats on the top of the water.


after finishing this piece i felt like i have something more to say and investigate in my heroines world and personality. somehow she was still unreachable. i could not forget her and not let her go.  i was still not satisfied with the result and wanted to dig more and deeper.


the caucasus. in the following step my passion for not organic materials was increasingly bigger and broader. i payed more attention to the choice of colours and creation of the facial-related garment. i went back to the transparent volumes and traditional georgian head-wear and masks. the new look was totally dedicated to earth, mountains and the caucasus.


i combined the transparency of woods, plants and branches with solid shape and colour of the naked body. formless threads and tactility of checkered, dotted materials. my main focus was on lines, stripes and their intervention. i also went deeper into the possibilities of wearing/holding the piece on the body. some garments can be hold only between squeezed teeth – some are clamped between the body and the arm.


the new materials and concept finally gave my work the possibility of letting people experience my heroine. how it actually is to be in the skin of natella? what are her dreams and fears? how does it feel when she has to squeeze her teeth without letting her secret out? how can she live with that? or how does it feel to keep yourself focused on the others when you hardly perceive the image of the world around you, under the formless shades of narrow masks you invent. to hide, to be hidden, to be masked underwater, weaved in the landscape and faded away…

Electric Emotion

Saturday, April 23, 2016


designblog ting 72
So, make a headpiece which relates to a person that you find interesting.
‘Identity check’.
Björk used to be a creative inspiration for me. Actually she was that, when I was quite young – but stil very relevant in relation to this assignment I found her interesting because of her complex universe, that does not seem to have any limitations. That could only be an interesting starting point. In an old MTV clip you find her in the end sitting next to a boiling geyser on Iceland. “I really like it here. It’s very very ancient but then futuristic at the same time. Sort of sci-fi. And all the colors you see makes me believe that plastic is natural” she says, and this idea became a foundation for my work.


img004 By listening to her songs and watching these documentaries about her, I collected a bunch of words. These words I putted together – arranged differently according to the simplicity and complexity that she represents at the same time. I ended up with the words Electric Emotion, which lead me to the next step. It was driven by contradictions, and I wanted to reflect this in the choice of materials. Something that reflected both the organic and high tech world that Björk creates. I also wanted to discover something from the Icelandic traditions – and the overwhelming Icelandic nature.





I found an Icelandic headpiece that was worn by women in the 17th century and into the 19th. A Faldbúningur it is called. It has a specific rounded shape, like an ornament – pointing upwards, which I also found in some microscopic pictures of an Icelandic Orchid. So I though that this would be a reasonable foundation for a form. During the tryout for this shape, I figured that it would actually be more interesting to work with material research and then find a form appearing from that. In that way I would end up with a self-created shape instead of working out from one that was already created centuries ago.



I find the peel of a Pomelo and grapefruit interesting because of its tactile appeal. When just peeled, it is soft looking but quite strong as a material and after being dried it seems hard but turns extremely fragile. The dry edition of the peel also has a certain transparency and visible fiber structure. It very much seems like veins running in the skin. And when sewed on textile, it forces a curved shape to the textile when drying. I really liked this.

I found some cable connectors which I teared apart and connected again in a pattern that I though could show an idea of the electric streams that runs through your energy system in your body. To make this electric part look more organic, I melted the cable connectors so the plastic changed to a more rounded and random form around the screws. I kept this question in mind: can I keep trying to make plastic look natural, and natural materials look like more or less complicated technology?

These two materials became my conceptual focus, and the other materials appeared afterwards – due to my search after appealing colors and structures that could relate to the whole idea. I started working with light colors to calm down on the material wise diversity that I expected in the beginning. Transparency and layers also appeared because these create an interesting expression which I wanted to examine. And also because I think it visually relates both to phenomena in nature and the mystic of the undiscovered future.


designblog ting 2 72


Due to the material research I figured it could be fun to make a collection of headpieces – more related to body jewelry. I focused on the ‘emotion’ part, and created different shapes that could function in both expressing and healing emotions. As an example the feeling of calming down when having a palm against your forehead.

Curiosity and fun is what I immediately see in the headpieces when looking at the end result. I see the material as body extensions that shows emotions which are usually hidden inside the body. In this case the Electric Emotion that appears when feeling excited, aware, confused, curious, related or in love. Because of the many wires that are used in especially one of the pieces, it is also creating a feeling of being trapped in emotions, when wearing it.






The Huntress

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Creating a headpiece/mask by dissecting the personality of a person who inspires you is quite a challenge. I had to ask myself „who was the last person that has inspired me? Andy Goldsworthy  was the first person I could think of, because I really felt connected with him. Especially the way he worked with nature and not against it. What attracted me the most,was his artwork not the person behind it. But when I started to engaged my project idea with his work, all of a suddenly the excitement about him was gone. Because I just realized that it was not working out since my project idea was more based dissecting the personality of a person and not his work. And so that is why I had to leave my first choice behind. I decided to make a change.

The new person not only inspired me but is also someone I am related to and have a deep and true connection through the love of art. It is my great-grandma from my mother’s side. I never met her but I heard many stories from my mom and grandma about her. I grew up in the very same house where she spent her whole life, where she had worked on her projects and spent time with her family and friends.

She lived her whole life in Austria. Between 1930-1934 she studied ceramics at an applied arts school in Graz. I had an opportunity to go to the same school to study metal and jewelry design. She never worked as a ceramicist. Until she died at the age of 75, she worked as an graphic designer and painter.

erika maria pochlatko

She was a very modern woman for her time, even in today’s time I would say, she was the person in the family who provided for the main income, and her hobbies were hunting and fishing. Really surprising for her time is that, she got married three times. She was a powerful and independent woman.


How to start? How can I translate her into a headpiece?                                                                                          

I tried to picture how she would look like today. If you would read her story without knowing when and where she had lived, you could easily think she lives in today’s time. As the strong person she was she wouldn’t care so much about what others think of her. She would wear whatever she felt like, really colorful with a lot of patterns in sometimes crazy combinations, but also she wouldn’t go too far, she knew exactly how far she could go without making a fool of herself.

I started to collect textile which I thought she would have liked to wear, patterns which reflects her personality. With the headpiece I wanted to show the two sides of her, the creative and loving person she was and on the other side the strong, independent and professional woman.

One story that my mother told me, over and over, is that the staircase at her house was full of horns and stuffed animals, trophies from her hunting trips. She must has been really proud of her hunts. So I came up with the idea to create deer horns with the textile I collected. For me this seemed like a good way to honor her.


txt horns

 The horns are made out of textile, there is no other material underneath which keeps it in form, just textile brougth in form with wool.


With these colorful textile horns I created a headpiece, but there was something missing. It looked like a really girlish flower crown with no sign of the strong powerful woman that I had imagined of my great grandma. I had to find a material which could show this side of her. I tried many other different materials: wood, stone, plaster, wax… but nothing was really satisfying me.


dipped in wax

try horn

rapped in plaster


But finally through coincident I found the perfect material. I wanted to create a mold out of plastic for the wax, I used the textile horns as the base for the mold, so I had the same horns in plastic. They were perfect and exactly what I was looking for.


pl horn

pl horn2

you can even see the structure of the textile


So in the end I used the plastic and textile horns to create my headpiece. It wasn’t easy to put them together i must admit that, without care it looked like a crown or a kind of messy thing with no form at all.


try hunter 1 try hunter 2 horns 4.2

With a lot of trying out and taking pictures of myself wearing it, I came to my end result.

Finding out my great grandma’s identity was a great journey.  I feel much closer to her now. She became a real role model to me. Even though she is not alive anymore, I think I can learn a lot from her. With my headpiece I want to shorten the distance between us, it helps me to connect to her.

hunter 4

Excuse me, can I analyse your personality?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Dealing with a personality, and making a mask out of it in order to feel it, was quite a task. I found myself both in the position of a psychologist analyzing a person’s mind and a physicist creating an object that should reproduce a feeling of a personality.

The topic we were given for this project was to find someone that fascinates us, try to understand their personality and make a mask out of it. Of course at first this immediately leads you to think of people you care about and admire. It feels a bit like putting your loved ones on a pedestal. But that wasn't the point, and in a way, analyzing their personalities didn’t give me the satisfaction and rush to work on it. I needed someone that I did not know or understand yet, I needed a challenge


So,              then; a girl I met last year popped into my mind. a girl I barely knew, a friend of a friend. and the little that I knew about her, was so little that it completely confused me; each time I thought I finally understood her I learned something knew that made everything I knew before fall into water like it never existed. she was so confusing, it was exactly what I needed!







This meant a lo-o-o-ot of thinking, struggling, rethinking, investigating (?)… I came across a problem. She was indeed perfect. Too perfect. Step by step I just got more and more fascinated by her. I put her on a 'pedestal' without wanting it. So, I had to do it all again. And again. With complete new questions, and complete different answers. After all this was just my interpretation of her. Until I finally thought of three main aspects/ideas that I thought could fit her personality and that I would use in the mask.

  • 1. She is perfect, but in a physical way. And she seems to strive to keep it that way at ALL times.

  • 2. She is ve-e-ery driven by her ambition.

  • 3. And seems to hide her feelings.

That last one got me most exited, finally something I could work with,
something NOT PERFECT. So I started:



As I am a ‘devoted’ perfectionist, my projects often start with details which I then try to bring together and arrange, deprive, until I get to a purer and clearer idea. Like zooming out from a really zoomed in place on google maps. My ideas began forming a sphere.

I started with stones; minerals, the presentation of deep, complex, hidden feelings.

Longing for more art in an art project I decided to make my own.

Little pieces of fabrics and foils melted into liquidised glue sticks suddenly turned into mischievous stones.

I had great fun doing it. It made me continue.


This time it would be foam, another material aching to be turned into stone.



Just a touch of aquarelle.  

Soon enough I had all the acquirements, the third step long done before the first two had even started.



How do you make a frame of somebody’s personality?

Of someone you barely know,  a personality you imagined?

Should it be a hat?      Should it be compact?


Or free,  and light?


I had no answers to these questions, instead I turned to materials. Again.


this was the result..

A metal construction instead of a hat, and of that kind of metal that would originally only be used for welding. Thinking back, this whole project was, at least for a little part, often based on 'giving materials another kind of life'. With the 'glue stick minerals', 'foam stones' and at last 'welding metal that turned into a construction for a crown/glasses/mask'. And at last, THE GREAT AMBITION, something I’ve subconsciously been thinking about since the beginning had to be added. It started as two plastic ‘glasses' put in between all the metal and feelings and that would only let you look RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, not left, not right, not even up or down, in the end turned into real glass.

And maybe a part of the three ideas got lost in the making, with the attention turned more to the materials following the idea than the idea created with materials. And maybe my guess of her personality is completely mistaken. But it turned out to be an object that could speak for itself no matter how it is interpreted.

So here, let it be seen as anyone wishes to see it:



Desire: it will be never reached

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 All people have their own desires whether it is small or big. They try to bring their desires to life; however some people won’t be able to because they are too out of reach. For example some may say they want to fly to the moon, other may wish to be abillionaire. But there are also very realistic desires that cannot become true. These are the ones I want to talk about.

In Korea, there is one traditional job called « Haenyeo », which means « sea-women »; who are traditional Korean woman divers. This job only exists in the southern part of Korea, especially on the islands. Today, more than 5,000 divers still remain on these islands. They are specially strong women. A long time ago in Korea, women could not join the outside, sometimes they even couldn’tgo out their house. Nevertheless, these women not only worked totheir living: they also worked for their peers. They built their own society using their power and refusing men’s help as in the past, so many men who lived on the islands died of deep-sea fishing. Only a few men survived from the strong waves and tough windy weather, so that the women who were left behind had to find a way to survive. These circumstances brought strength and uniqueness



They only wear swimming suits, goggles and fishing nets. They hold their breath while diving to catch seafood until they are out of breath, which means they are always endangered. Therefore, the women fight for their desires because this will is what gives them the means to catch the widest number of fish; but can also drag them to death. Sometimes, they only want to catch a tiny piece, not even a pearl, but the greed is still their to endanger their lives. only use swimming suits, swimming goggles and fishing nets.

net Sketch_3


The ocean is one of the greatest powers of nature, so divers do not wish to earnmillions with their fishing because they say it is too arrogant toward the sea. Humans cannot create te sea – they cannot create animals such as an octopus, a fish,a clam. These are made by the great nature so the humans should be greedy towards it. Therefore, divers want to show their gratitude to the nature so they pray for it to save their lives, and not to earn money. Theyalways have to turn off their greed. Their truedesires. It means that they need to control themselves because surviving is the most important. It looks like theyare fighting between their desires and their lives. Their desires are always related to their lives. At the same time, with death too. When they dive into the ocean, they can see everything but they know there are things they will never be able to catch.

Video of Haenyeo

 I wanted to focus on their desire to catch something they cannot reach. I used eight bamboo, glitter thread and fabrics as my materials. At first, I was inspired by spiders which is a lucky charm in their society. I illustrated the spider with eight bamboo sticks. However, bamboo sticks did not have enough strength to stand still so I decided to add three leather belts to the bottom in order to make it wearable. These gave some strength to the structure, and I really wanted it to be worn on the head as a relation to divers’ shamanism. Women divers usually pray to the great nature, especially to the ’God of the ocean’. They believe that the Gods live above the sky, therefore, the main focus of the head-piece was supposed to be above the head. But I faced problems. The leather belts did not give enough strength to my head-piece. It needed more support in the middle and at the bottom. This was one of the biggest problems of my process.


pink_detail sketch_2


The first solution to this problem was to give the head-piece some strength in the middle. I made a small precious fabric package and placed it in the middle. I was inspired by the Korean traditional way of wrapping gifts. Usually when Koreans give a precious gift to someone, they wrap it in fabric. It means that the gift is protected from bad things.

001 IMG_6053


I made an object like that in order to illustrate the desires of the woman divers wrapped in fabric, but it still did not give enough strength to my head-piece. I had to find a way to wear that super heavy and tall head-piece and I realize d that using only my head is not the best way to wear it.



In addition I wanted to express the feeling of one trying to reach for his breath. In the end I decided to wear it on my shoulders and fasten it to my head with leather belts. As a result when I wear it I feel like I’m choking.


<Final results>


head_left without_green_net


Fire and broken mirrors

Monday, April 18, 2016


In Mark 9, notice that the Lord Jesus repeats three times about Hell, “where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.”


Screen shot 2016-03-16 at 7.57.26 PM


A source of inspiration: Virginia Woolf (1882 -1941).

A writer very much concerned with the transformation of life through art, sexual ambivalence and the flux of time and life (in the form of corrosion and rejuvenation). Her style of writing is experimental and somewhat playful; time and gender for example are sometimes shifted in unexpected ways. She dealt with the problems some people of her time were having with the world around; most of which people today can still relate to.

She suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life and eventually committed suicide by drowning at the age of 59.



It is all about the design of a headpiece.

First, it is always about trying to get a grip on the thing, trying to get under the skin of the object of investigation. It is the same way of working for writers in general as for me trying to crawl under the skin of a writer in order to create a kind of mask.

What does it mean to be a writer?


appropriate dressing for the process


The writer is holding up the mirror to the world, and says to herself: “Look! the world is so full of life! Think of all the passions that exist there (love, hate, anger, etc.). It is a fire that cannot be quenched.” She is sitting behind her desk in her writing shack, reflecting on the world outside – creating parallel universes. The passions of this world are powerful things, and those are the things she needs to deal with. The writer shall not remain untouched for long. The writer desperately holds up to the mirror.
Writing is a way to deal with the fire, a way of protecting oneself. The writings also make the world more aware of itself – of what it does. The message is perhaps not always pleasant, but always necessary. The world as it is is not by definition how it is supposed to be. The world (and its fire burning within) needs to look into its reflection every now and then. But the fire is aggressive and with time the mirror corrodes and begins to show signs of breaking. The first shards fall of the mirror and pierce the skin of the writer. It hurts, but the writing continues. What else can the writer do? At a certain point the frame of the mirror is empty and the entire mirror has become part of the face: A MASK OF BROKEN MIRROR. The mirror has become part of the writer. Now it is the writer herself that is reflecting the world. The writer is not of our world anymore; she has become a kind of prophet.

“[…] and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.” (Mark 9)


woolf mask painting vision

painting of the first 'vision' I had of the mask I was going to make

THIS IS A WRITERS MASK. Virginia Woolf as the source of inspiration provided direction for the choice of form and color.

The fabric of the writers mask is white. White as the color of the prophet and as the color of cleansing and purity, which are the intended aims of the process of writing and reading. Technically white would also be the color that reflects the light most strongly, creating a strong contrast with what happens in the mirroring surface (which is mostly darkness, except for the fire).

It is woven textile that creates a strong association with the Victorian era, during which Virginia Woolf was born. Also, the fabric is frayed at the ends and on the sides because it is a long process to become a writer (time withers the textile).

A rectangular shaped surface filled with the luminous shards of the broken mirror is covering the face and extending downwards across the chest. The rectangular shape of the covering broken mirror suggests the mirror when it was still framed.
The mask is put on more or less like a kerchief: (1) first the mirror part is put in front of the face, (2) then the scarf-like extension goes over the head, (3) and under the chin and/or over the face, and (4) then finally back over the head to fixate the mirror part. The fabric is long enough so that it covers the whole body by (5) drawing it two or three times around the neck and head.


woolf mask pic outside 3 woolf mask pic outside 2
the sun is the perfect fire


The essential thing about the mask is the refection of fire in the mirror-pieces. The fire symbolizes the passions of life, or the Hell, of the world around. This fire has an immaterial quality, and this is important. Emotions and passions and other things that concern writers are often things that exist beyond our material reality. Many many words and/or a good deal of symbolism are needed to make them sensible. The light and the aggressive nature of fire would be a good way to illustrate those immaterial forces.

So in its completeness THE MASK IS REFLECTING THE FIRE.

But even though the fire is essential, ultimately, the fire is only a metaphor for the burning fire of life itself, and we can say that this fire of life originates from the sun and is sustained by the sun. Therefore the sun is the perfect fire to illuminate all that is reflected in the mask.

Behind the mask is a living being. It moves. It is communicating, but the language is of another world. The intensity of the fire seems to change all the time. We hear the fire burning. We see the flashing reflections in the mirror. In fact we can see ourselves, fragmented, through the mirror, in the fire. Fire is burning away all the time, consuming the life that is inside, but the fire cannot be quenched.

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Distant future hoodlum hero’s hat

Monday, April 18, 2016

My first choice was Tails. The fast flying little fox from SEGAs retro platform game Sonic the Hedgehog. Me and my ten years older sister played that back in the 90’s. It was rad! She was Sonic of course and I was Tails. I researched Tails a bit, turns out he’s a he not a she and his real name is Miles Prower, a pun to Miles per hour because he so fast. But his identity is maybe a bit too two dimensional, literary and metaphorically. And I was stuck with to simple ideas, not wanted to complicate my not so complicated relation to this little lovely creature.


Lets move on.
So I needed to think of a new person. Roy Batty played by Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner (1982) came to my mind. He is a “Replicant”, a robot who together with his Replicant friends rebel against their predetermined work-for-humans destiny. And then “Major” from the renowned classic anime Ghost in the Shell (1995). She is a cyborg cop, that faces questions about humanity while fighting a new life form, a computer virus with a free will. And I can not help of thinking of Leeloo Dallas. The tangerine colored hair girl from The Fifth Element (1997) played by Mila Jakovovich. She is a bodily product of an experiment to create the perfect human, but who escapes her birthplace, the lab, right away. A forth person unavoidable to think of is Arzach. Created by french comic book author Moebius. Arzach is a half human, half (?) whose self assigned mission is to guard the planets. Never on one or the other side of a conflict, just a fighter for peace.
But I also think about a bum in a carbon box on the street. With layers of clothes that lost their color. With all the time in the world to turn inside to his or her own thoughts. One with a personal outlook on life. One who everyone recognize. One who is around. A rambler.

rutger_hauer_blade_runner GITS1

a35824148443007af033223733cb0256 arzach

Roy Batty The Replicant, Motoko Kusanagi aka Major, Leeloo Dallas and Arzach
And below, some guy in a park with a vulture


 What I did was to combine the persons in my head, creating a somewhat abstract genderless sci fi hoodlum. Who only exist in my mind, and barely not even there. I am also stuck in a aesthetics far away from the clean cliché futurism. And closer to the bum.



A way to further define my person is perhaps describe her environment. First of all its not in a known place but in a nonspecific dystopic far future. A environment similar where my persons described above are use to themselves. Its a supercity, to big for any authority to control. Left to its own self sufficiency. Every man and woman to him and herself and a free open market. In many ways, life for people is back to more primitive ways, but with an endless access to advanced technologies. The half mined out metallic asteroid Omega in the video game Mass Effect may be the represented place. A messy sanctuary for bandits and outlaws.

The Fifth Element                                                               Akira


I know I wanted to work solely in black, maybe to make a little challenge for my self since I always prefer color.
I wanted a rough worn-out feeling. As if my person been around a lot, wearing the hat through fail and foul. I went to a fabric store to find some second hand leather but an old jersey fabric with pilling and nubs caught my attention. On waterlooplein I found a old leather hat which was soft in material but tough in attitude. I brought it with me for inspiration and material.


Since I wanted a little bit of PUNK to the hat, and to avoid making just another wizards hat I added some METALL.
like these eyelets and of course safety pins.
I needed a way to make a big stable shape. So I sewed in metal sticks to be able to form a shape I want.




I liked the look of the needles sticking out like spikes before I sewed the sticks in. I made some tryout on how I could keep them there instead, but decided it was to dangerous and non-practical. I want my person to have a wearable hat she can be active in.

Photo on 20-05-16 at 17.21IMG_8206

With the bendable metal base I could try different shapes. Head in the hat skeleton or on top.

Multiple-photo's_Hat-test1 Multiple-photo's_Hat-test
Photo on 24-02-16 at 21.02
Many try-out on the shape of the hat. Like a cone, onion or a smashed cylinder?
On how to where what type of cap. Small one, round one, multiple ones, on the back, under the chin?
On how to were a cape. And if to wear a cape. Be anonymous, be protective?
I heard in a movie about superheroes ones that capes are really unhandy because they get stuck everywhere. We liked the idea of a cape. I decided to make a detachable cape. I wanted to have “big ears” on the hat. The cape now has “big ears” that are used to fix it to the hat, together with a black rope. Very convenient. I decided to have three caps in the front. It makes an odd but not crazy look. The person wearing it looks cool and mysterious. It covers almost the face whole but you still have mouth and eyes and nose accessible, so it is comfortable.

Hat-test IMG_8742 (1)

Everything is attached together more or less only with the eyelets, pins, ropes ect. You can more or less see the construction from outside.

ewa1 ewa3


Pasolini, In Theory

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pasolini on the Set of Teorema, photo Angelo Novi

Teorema film still #1

Her Previous Incarnation

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"Don't ask from where I have come, 
My home is far, far away. 
Why do you wander so far? Wander so far?"
- "Olive Tree" by Sanmao 

Sanmao to me was an incurable romantic, a lonely dreamer and a gifted drifter who had spent most of her life travelling and writing. The stories and the journals she wrote beautifully reflected the unforgettable journeys she undertook, the incredible places and people she had seen. Sanmao studied philosophy in Taiwan and continued her education later on in Spain and Germany. After her study and the tragical loss of her fiancé, Sanmao returned to Spain and there she made up her mind to follow the sunset of Sahara . Her life as a drifter and a writer then began.


sanmao in sahara


I’ve always been very much moved and inspired by the stories of her life journey, as her writings didn’t only describe the wonderful experiences of her trips but also illustrated the difficult realities she had to deal with. (Here is one of her stories – “The Mute Slave” collected in the book “The Stories of Sahara”.)  Because of her kindness and courage, she was able to prepare herself to face all the challenges and risks of her adventure. To me Sanmao’s writings mean much more than a travelogue, significantly they stand for her values of life. Therefore, I decided to take Sanmao as the person/source of my inspiration for this “Identity” design project.

As I was quite familiar with her books, in her writings what interested me the most was her fascination with her previous incarnation. In the book “Wan Shui Qian Shan Zou Bian”, she wrote that she had always believed she was an Ecuadorian Indian girl in her last life. When she traveled to one remote village hidden in the Andes, she felt immensely connected to the highland, as if she had come back to the homeland of her previous life.  As she wrote, in her last life she was a Cañari (“an indigenous ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the territory of the modern provinces of Azuay and Cañar in Ecuador”) girl named Hawa. The name Hawa in their language means heart. She was a pharmacist’s granddaughter who lived her entire life happily and peacefully in the village of the silver lake (also known as the lake of heart) till her death.


 wan shui qian shan zou bian

“Wan Shui Qian Shan Zou Bian” in Chinese


As her imaginary previous life fascinated me so much, I decided to design the headpiece based on her last life story and research on the indigenous inhabitants of Ecuador as a starting point. It was at first difficult to figure out the ethnicity of Hawa in English and there was no Chinese information regarding the ethnic group she belonged to. However, after several rounds of research on the history of the indigenous people of Ecuador, I was able to confirm that Hawa’s ethnicity was Cañari. Research on history, culture  and custom of the Cañari was then further conducted.
Interestingly, I found the Cañari indians loved wearing hats. “Those of you who have been following our South American journey know how important, and ubiquitous, hats are to the people of the Andes. Fedoras are to be found everywhere, stovepipes are not uncommon, and the Cholas of Bolivia have turned blower hats into a jaunty fashion statement of national pride. Many wear straw hats, and in Ecuador at least, have them refurbished by painting them to make them last longer. I must also mention Panama hats, which are not from Panama at all, but are exclusively an Ecuadorian creation”, Alison and Don wrote in their post The Cañari of Ecuador, a ‘palace’ and a pig”. 


p1450898 copy 500 canaris loving wearing hats2

Nevertheless, among the different types of hats they wear, I found one kind that was particularly special. The hat is made with a wide brim and many strands of colourful yarns falling from the edge. The Cañaris usually wear it for festivals and celebrations.


canaris celebration

On the other side of my research, I discovered the Cañaris created a very unique moon worshipping system using large rocks. “The Incas worshipped the sun, but the Cañaris worshipped the moon. There are 28 holes on the larger rock, one for each day in a lunar month.  Each hole is drilled at a different angle and when water is added, the Cañaris would look at the reflection of the moon in the small pools. This was their way of receiving messages from their god.  The other “holey rocks” were most likely used to hold paint (for painting faces, textiles, etc), “ Mellisajane14 wrote in her blog “Ingaprica: Incas in Ecuador”.


ingapirca_calender_rock_small.1 copy


After a few rounds of research, I began to develop ideas for the design of the headpiece for Hawa. In the end I decided to make masks for her to wear, as I believed Hawa – the preexistence of San Mao should be a vague figure without revealing a clear face.


DSCF5521 small 515w

Meanwhile, inspired by those bright, colourful yarns and holy rocks, I planned to seek and experiment with similar and relevant materials so as to resemble the Cañari elements. Wood and bamboo were selected due to their primitiveness associated with the Cañari indians. Clay and small rocks were also applied, echoing those incredible rocks.


DSCF5505 small 950h DSCF5508 small 950h DSCF5539 small 950h


After the experimental trials with materials, a clearer image of the mask that I wanted to make gradually emerged. The try-outs with the clay mask as well as the small rocks didn’t turn out strong enough to mirror the Cañari moon worshipping system. However, the results of colourful yarns in combination with wood and bamboo were quite intriguing. Hence, I decided to further continue the mask concept mainly using yarn, bamboo and wood. As the techniques of applying yarns I developed during the experiments were different, I was suggested to make two masks using both techniques (yarn with wood and yarn with bamboo). In the first technique, long strands of yarn in selected colours were made and locked to an organic-shaped wooden stick that was found in the street, creating the idea of a mask that could cover most of the body. While in the other one, yarns were applied as components to bind the bamboo sticks.


small DSCF5163 small  

As I discovered that yarn strands in volume and layers would turn out more visually powerful in the form of masks, and bamboo sticks bound with brightly coloured yarns placing vertically would create a refreshing effect. Therefore, I decided to continue working on the mask of yarn strands by creating more volume in layers. On the other hand, I tried to come up with a few scale models to explore the overall shape of the bamboo mask. I found that a mask of bamboo sticks in different lengths and a more or less geometric shape could be primitive and fit well in the Cañari vibe. I eventually chose one shape that I thought would connect to the story the best and made a paper mock-up of it.


DSCF5511 small 950h DSCF5513 small 950h DSCF5514 small 950h

DSCF5532 small 950h

Simultaneously, I kept working on the mask with layers of the yarn strands. In the initial plan, hemp rope was used to coin around both the ends of the wooden stick, building a vast contrast between the fineness of the yarn and roughness of the rope, while small gaps were left between the yarn and the rope for hair fixation, creating a way for Sanmao/Hawa to put the mask on. However, I discovered it would be even stronger to leave out the hemp rope and cover the rest of the wooden stick using only hair.


DSCF5217 small 950h hemp rope ard the stick


As for the bamboo mask, I continued building and finishing it according to the mock-up and came up with another means of fixation by attaching a few strands of straw rope to tie around Sanmao/Hawa’s body. The process of building was a bit struggling due to the difficulty of binding the slightly bended bamboo sticks.


DSCF5178 small 950h DSCF5189 small

Nevertheless, after two months of efforts, the masks were eventually finished. Although there were struggles and doubts, I was quite happy with the process as well as the results. After finishing the works, I decided to try them on for photo documentation. As you can see, the photos were taken in different settings. Wearing the colourful headpiece with the long yarn strands, I thought that it was necessary to feel the wind and frame the yarn flying moment at my balcony. I felt spiritual and  being transformed into a shaman from an Andes tribe. It was incredible. When I firstly put on the bamboo mask, I felt the urge of being completely natural. I wore the bamboo mask naked and did some tribal dancing and humming in my room. I felt happy and free then. In the end, I decided to keep the pictures taken at the balcony original and fresh, while adding some effects to the photos of the bamboo mask, making it a bit strange and whimsical.


1 small w515 for design blog

3 small w515 for design blog 14 small w515 for design blog 11 small w515 for design blog


I’m certainly glad that my father introduced Sanmao’s books to me at my younger age, when talking about the relations between writing and experiences of life. Without her journeys, I believe that she couldn’t have told so many wonderful stories. And it definitely helped me to rediscover myself and to a certain extend shaped my view/values of life. To me life is a long journey after all. I  made these two masks for her/ her previous incarnation in remembrance of her free spirit. These two masks carry special meanings to me, as they were made for Sanmao – an incurable romantic, a lonely dreamer and a gifted drifter who I feel deeply in common with. 


Goodbye Sanmao.



 sanmao's photo with a white boarde w515




Sunday, April 17, 2016

I                     A    M       W HI   M S I  C  A L


I      A              M          L  O  O S   E    


I      A M           G R AC   IO U  S


I     A M    I   N    LO V   E


A N  D    I     S   A Y    T HI  N  G S


I    S H  O   U    L  D      N O  T  S  A Y




Oh, it was such a glorious day. A new assignment, a new struggle. Exciting, i’d say.

I couldn’t imagine who to pick.

See, we had to choose one very special person to use as a subject or better said, starting point, for this project.


“D    E S  I G    N     A      H   E A  D    D   R  E S  S”,

A sentence said a bit  too much during the last few weeks. However i was motivated. So motivated that i started collecting materials, before even knowing who to pick as a subject. Who the hell would be good enough for me? What about some current and past obsessions? Radiohead’s Thom Yorke? My favorite artist, Anish Kapoor? I could’ve taken quite a leap, by using a fictional character. Rocky Horror Picture Show had a lot of great characters to base something on. How about Frank-N-Furter?
Nothing was interesting enough for me and nothing really sticked to me.
After doubting for quite some time, i made my decision. Olof Dreijer!
For readers who don’t know who that is; Olof Dreijer is one halve of the Knife. A Swedish electronic duo, consisting of siblings.
I’ve been listening to them for quite a while now and they became one of my most favorite musical acts and after seeing them live on the 6th of may, back in 2013, i became obsessed. I have all their mp3’s, almost all of their records on vinyl and even listen to Karin Dreijer’s (Olof Dreijer’s sister) 90’s band “Honey is Cool” .

I          A     M      G E  T   T    I     N      G      O F   F     T R  A   C    K

After deciding whom to pick, i did some spherical research. Collecting images of landscapes, materials and weird textures that i thought would be inspiring for and to me, regarding the project.
The collected images are based and connected to the different almost completely unnatural sounds, used in the Knife’s and Olof Dreijer’s other projects’ songs.
What really sticked to me was the amount of metal and plastic imagery between the collected images. Noticing this, i disregarded my former material choices and decided to use something more rich. I ordered 5KG tin/lead and started playing around with it.
First i made molds of objects (toy-soldiers, plants, self-made statuettes) using polyurethane foam, floral foam, clay and plaster and of course dripping tin into the earlier said molds.  The results were surprising and inspiring, but didn’t really fit to what i wanted to succeed.


I      A    M       G   E  T    T      I    N  G         E  X     C  I  T     E  D


I know now and i knew back then, that i like(d) being unorthodox. Thus I wanted to make headdresses for the dead, AKA taxidermy’d animals. Still having most of the earlier made abstract tin shapes, i started putting them to use. Even though it looked quite good, I found out that this wasn’t the way to go. In this case it was all about aesthetics and not so much about Olof Dreijer. This is something i could use in a future project, but it was very disconnected from the wanted atmosphere.



I        A    M      M O   V  I   N     G      O N

Most of my end-products came from improvisation and experimentation and even though i can be a wild card at times, I did know I wanted to base the mask on my own face. This was logical, to me, as i was the one who’d wear it to feel / be like Olof Dreijer.
I made a mold of my face and afterwards poured some porcelain plaster into the mold, with amazing help of a peer (I am in doubt if i should name her by her name or not). Having a lot of trouble with keeping the mold completely in shape, the plaster cast turned out a bit misshapen and crooked. However in the end i was satisfied with the result, as it was inspiring to see how it turned out and i am inspired to do more. I want to make plaster casts of everything.

I         A  M              H           A  P       P    Y

After making a plaster cast of my face, i wanted to go trough several other proci, before deciding that i was finished with the project. The first one being, making another mold of the cast, using silicon. When it was completely dry, i took it of the plaster and the result was as magnificent as I hoped for. Not having to0 much time to waste, I went on to the next step. Dripping tin into the latest silicon mold, resulting in several masks of my face.


This being a step and not a result, i started playing around with plastic rope, whilst burning the skin off my fingers by attaching the pieces in this manner. I created a grid-mask, using my head as a base and painted it yellow (making a low-key reference to the Knife’s first album’s cover) and when it was dry, i attached two of the tin-faces to the grid using copper-tread.

I            B      E  C A   M E         D I     S S A    T I   S F   I E D

Soon after finishing the headdress, i wanted to make a sweater to go with it. Using the same grid in the same dimensions and painting it in the same color, it became a unity. It became a whole. The sweater is a bit of a hassle though. It’s quite sharp and i had to accept it hurting me constantly, when wearing it. And thinking about pain and pain-relief, i knew this was still not enough.

I                 A    M             B      L   I     N  D

Using clay to make a mold of old sunglasses, i started experimenting with the same dripping techniques to make the wanted shape for my soon to be glasses. Also i decided to use glass that was in my own eye-strength, so i’d be the only one that’d be able to see through them.


I                AM                    S    A T ISF IED

This was it and it still is. I presented them, in a very non-humble way, as it is! A peer wearing the headdress and myself wearing the sweater and glasses.
I got good feedback and i am very grateful for this project and how it turned out





Between Proud and Amibitious

Saturday, April 16, 2016

by Marguerite Bonneil
who has been proposed to design a headpiece for someone of her own choice.

You want to know about my design process ?
How do you want me to explain it to you clearly ? It’s such a mess …

OH I LIKE IT //1// Bring your shits and sheets

First aim. Find a character. Find an universe. Find an aesthetic.
You didn’t ask me to create a headpiece.
No, no, no. You asked me to design it.
So, if I wanna be free in my design,
I should design my own character.
Let’s see what I want to work with,
let’s hang this stuff on my wall,
and see what comes out of it…



TELL A STORY //2// Colors, characters and desires

I want to tell a story, a story for grown-ups,
to remind them that we are never the same,
to remember that we never know what is going to happen.
I want to tell a story about materialities,
about this objects among us, in which we recognize ourselves so well.
I want to tell my fascination for objects, who are so human,
because they all reflect one human’s mind.

Here is the beginning of the story;

(this is a slow gif, be patient)


Gold, Clear Pink, Sand and soft.
Those are the materialistic translations of Young Georgy.

Georgy has a neighbor, a creepy neighbor …


Slimy, Latex, Yellow, White, Creamy, Blury. Those are the materialistic translation of The Creepy Guy.
He looks at her through his window when she’s going to school.
And when she’s coming back.

Georgy met a new girl, Kristy, she became her friend.
Her BFFFE (Best Friend First Forever & Ever).


Fluo, Shiny, Plastic, Too much. Those are the materialistic translations of Kristy.

As you may have understand Kristy is the one who is gonna free Georgy.
Adventurous, gorgeous, extrovert, insolent, our girls discover London’s night life. As usual, they went out on a Saturday.
Georgy is gonna tell you what happened.


So now, we have a story with 3 characters.
At one point they were 4, including a man that Georgy would meet at this party.
As you will understand everything didn’t happened as it was supposed to.
And I wanted to show the Georgy Before (16 years old) and the Georgy later (20 years old).


Cool blue, dark, This is how Georgy would materialistically look at her 20-tieth.


TRYING-OUT // 3 // Sounds Like Ready-made

And here comes the mess … In my time, in the productions and of course in my head.
Due to a loss of phone, and nothing else to take pictures, this part of the process suffers of a lack of documentation.

“Marguerite you’re really a magpie”
(It’s this bird who gathers all the shiny objects)

Short travel to Frankfurt, lucky to go to Ambiente.
This fair is what I would describe as the supermarket of the supermarkets, all kind of product design for your house, your kitchen, your garden … professionals come there from all around the world to select what they will sell in the shops of their various brands, in one, two or three years.
I’m really happy to see that it’s the first edition of the Jewellery section in there, and I go to look for some inspiration…


“As your work is more intuitive I would advice you to make a model you can work on.”

Let’s make a model in clay, try too put all my precious objects all around this head. Begun to make some pearls …

“Marguerite, I would love you, not to use pre-made pearls or elements, but to make your own materials.”

Here are some really bad pictures of some (really good ?) try-outs.
Enjoy the quality of the details !



Use materials / create your materials.
What is trying out ? When are you done ? When is it enough ?
How does your material constraints and lost your abilities ?

“Oh now I know what I wanna do ! I want to write a play !
So I need to find my comedians and then I’ll be able to make it on their heads, Georgy will be my roommate, The Creepy Guy will be a friend. And who will be Kristy ? I think I can be Kristy … ”

“Hey come here I need your head”
“Here I am, what is your problem ?”
“No… I don’t have any problem. Just need your head, sit here, please.”
“Ah… I thought I was smart…”

“I don’t want be the creepy guy, I wanna be the sexy one”

“Me, actress ?!? Your model ?” (biggest smile ever)

So. My process is in a mess.
I don’t know yet which try-out is for who, even it’s more or less define from the color… I begin to write some part of my play which doesn’t go anywhere, I prevent myself to tell my teacher about it. I want to work with materials I don’t have, and I don’t want to work with material I have. As usual, I’m more speaking about what “I’m busy with” than really being busy with it.

SHOWING CODES//4// how to make a choice ?

In this way I decide to make decision !
I decide to make first a “structure”, a fabric structure, and then the other elements will find their place, naturally (I hope).


As Georgy is the main character, and that she has two mind steps, it’s the first headpiece I will focus on.
Young and then (a little bit) older, she shifts from clear pink, to strong blue (indigo or Klein), between this two colors is the violet.
The two structures will be violet. The two structures will be the same.






Between Proud and Ambitious //last// Holidays, Prada and All-nighter.

When does your life melt with Georgy’s ?
Do you remember being the shy young Georgy ?
Are you now the seductive shiny ass Georgy ?
Have you ever been ?

Will you ever be ?

How did our filmsy rose Georgy lost herself ?
What really happened during this Bacon night,
How did Kristy disappear ?
Did she loose herself in some hairy arms ?



And here is our Creepy Guy.


Who is behind it /!?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

[audio:|titles=”We want to thank all our friends” by Session Victim]

Tessa used to be a regular guest at the well known Studio 80 on Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein. She would come here to dance, celebrate and have a good time on the weekends. Eventually becoming a part of the Studio 80 family. Knowing Tessa, it doesn’t seem very surprising, that the management has asked and offered her a place as the door host, as I have gotten to know her as a very friendly and warm personality.

She is obviously fascinated and driven by the music, the vibe and the immense sense of freedom, which a club can provide. Letting a feeling of time escape and falling full body into music and dance.

She became a very familiar face over the years working her way up into the management, knowing almost everybody who came to visit the “Studio” regularly. However Tessa has a huge thing for hats, head pieces and the occasional costume. She would change outfits and if you only met her a couple of times like I did, you might not recognize her.

Studio 80 sadly shut it’s doors at the end of January 2016, however they did so with one hell of a goodbye. I have rarely heard such good music, in such exciting ways and locations.

With this assignment coming up and all of this fresh on my mind, it seemed like the perfect idea to do a head piece on the young, hat fascinated lady, who made this great club what it was. However there is one more factor, that we figured out a little later; She was the first “Amsterdammer” I have talked to, when driving from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam with my dear friend Martin, to hear some real music. It was her time of working as the door host.

In Studio 80 there was always a sense of moving. Wether this was a graphic design, a light installation or just playing records while sitting on the couch for a big audience at the goodbye event. The Studio 80 people would come up with the craziest concepts and all the guest would support this „hype“ without question.

Tessa obviously played a very social role in the club and as all of us know, it’s not easy getting along with everybody. Although I felt that she would be perfectly up to the challenge, I wanted to give her the ability to change her appearance quickly, but also to disappear when she feels the need to.


I recently got in touch with the idea of doing a projection and then mapping it onto a three dimensional object. For me it was something I always wanted to try and dig myself into, because I was absolutely curious what the outcome would be.  This way I had the ability to change or to create scenarios for a lot of different situations. Which I felt could come in handy on an entire evening of meeting people and disco.

Deciding to move forward in this direction I felt it was time to talk to Tessa about my wish to do this project on, to ask her questions and to get a better feel of what makes and drives her. My main question was where Tessa draws the line between her very social & fun job and her own personal private live. She made it very clear to me, that this line exists  boldly and that social media such as facebook benefits her with her work. Happy to hear that!

The goal for the next step was now to create a wide variety of content. For me this should include character change, light, darkness, motion but also graphic design. Of course the projection content should focus on the ability of disappearing as well as blending in and supporting a greatly motivated Amsterdam when it comes to music.

However first I had to figure out the technology. I found a basic projection mapping software named „Madmapper“ early during the project. After doing research on the software I understood, that the content would now have to be created using animation and cutting programs (like aftereffects and premiere pro). It would then be imported into the projection software and masked to the face it was later projected on.


Starting of with pens and paper I started experimenting what could be possible and although I was trying to come up with possible content, I was amazed how these lines, shapes and colors could change a face just like that.


After transforming a lot of these ideas into animation something was still missing. I felt, that something being human imagery. It did not yet make sense (almost alienating) to project something on a human face, not including any visual aspects of it. Filming the portrait of several people, I excluded some of their eyes, mouths, faces, to underline a certain feeling with an interesting visual response.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-24 um 16.16.56

the green line is the mask for mapping it onto a real face

The last big challenge in this project was now, to tie together the pieces without telling a story. All the projection content is intended from me to leave the narrative to your imagination. This was especially hard, because a translation of one animation into the other felt storytelling to me in most cases.

I believe, that this projection could be something nice for Tessa to „wear/carry“. It does not only (as initially intended) give her the ability to hide and disappear, but also to show her mood or a need, and to enjoy herself.

Sweeter than heaven, hotter than hell

Saturday, April 16, 2016

De enige persoon waar ik steeds opnieuw een gat in de lucht voor spring als ik haar live kan zien is Florence Welch van Florence and the machine. Niet alleen omdat haar muziek mijn hart doet smelten, ook haar extravagante uiterlijk tovert een glimlach op mijn gezicht. Florence haar hele leven, muziek en stijl is opgebouwd uit een intrigerende combinatie van het goede en het kwade. De onderwerpen in het leven die haar inspireren zijn altijd twee contrasten, gebaseerd op de renaissance, die samen hand in hand gaan. Voorbeelden hiervan zijn liefde en dood, tijd en pijn, hemel en hel.

florence collage 7 klein

Haar bijna over romantische ziel is niet te scheiden van haar melancholische kant. Ik kan me hier zelf enorm in terugvinden in mijn melodramatische sprookjeswereld. Al vanaf haar kindertijd zong ze vol liefde en overgave op uitvaarten. Een roze kanten sluierjurk gecombineerd met een doornkrans is een voorbeeld van hoe ze dit nu in haar stijl laat terug komen, maar ook tekstueel komt dit terug in haar muziek. Dit steeds op een metaforische wijze:

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

I took the stars from my eyes, and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you

(Cosmic Love)

Na heel wat research kwam ik er op uit dat ik een soort sluier wou gaan creëren. Waarom een sluier? Omdat een sluier zowel bij een bruiloft als een begrafenis gedragen wordt. Het onderscheid hierin is terug te vinden in de kleur en vorm. Om hier een middenweg in te kunnen vinden ben ik met deze 2 elementen in mijn achterhoofd beginnen schetsen. Omdat Florence zo een extravagant persoon is ging ik nogal snel over te top met mijn ontwerpen en werden deze veel te bombastisch. Om deze reden heb ik er voor gekozen om mijn startpunt te veranderen en niet naar de vorm te kijken, maar te gaan experimenteren met het materiaal.

headpiece schets klein

Florence hele leven, stijl en muziek is opgebouwd uit lagen, zowel letterlijk als figuurlijk. Haar leven en de inhoud van haar nummers schommelen op en neer tussen drama en vreugde. In haar kleding is dit figuurlijk terug te vinden door de metaforische elementen alsook letterlijk door een gelaagdheid te creëren met stof.

Dit is daarom dan ook mijn uitgangspunt geworden. Op vlak van materiaalkeuze heb ik deze dualiteit weergegeven. Enerzijds is de romantische kant terug te zien. binnen het kleurenschema bestaande uit goud, pastelblauw en vurig oranje. Voor het materiaal heb ik gekozen voor liefelijke stoffen zoals tule, kant, paillettenstof en extra fournituren: kralen en franjes. Anderzijds is de melancholische kant weergegeven met zware zwarte stoffen, latex en rubber.

headpiece ontwerp

Deze twee voorgaande elementen vertalen zich in mijn project ook aan de hand van mijn werkwijze. Ik ben begonnen met het liefdevol, zorgvuldig en handmatig samen naaien van de verschillende materialen, laag op laag op laag. Op deze manier heb ik tientallen kleine lapjes gemaakt. Stuk voor stuk heb ik deze lapjes voor 5 à 10 minuten in een zeer warme oven gelegd. De verwarming door de hoge temperaturen zorgden voor een agressieve reactie op de bewust uitgekozen, synthetische stoffen. Kleuren zijn vervaagd, randen zijn verbrand en omgekruld. Maar, het belangrijkste van alles is dat alle lagen weer zijn omgevormd tot 1 laag, een nieuw stuk textiel, een textielsoort waar alle elementen zich hebben samengevoegd.

Binnen dit project heb ik zoveel mogelijk geluisterd naar het materiaal zelf. Om hier naar te kúnnen luisteren moest ik mezelf eerst heel wat vragen stellen. Welke stoffen zullen verschrompelen? Welke stoffen hebben hogere temperaturen nodig dan anderen? Wat is de reactie op de kleur? Gaat er wel iets gebeuren met de kralen of pailletten? Welke laag bevestig ik het beste vanonder? Welke dan weer het beste vanboven? Dit waren vragen die ik alleen kon beantwoorden door het daadwerkelijk te testen.


smaples samen juist

In deze experimenten heb ik ontdekkingen gedaan die veel anders uitpakte dan ik had verwacht. Soms was dit bijzonder positief. Zo had ik nooit verwacht dat mijn goedkope gouden paillettenstof wat zo uit een carnavalswinkel lijkt te komen zou veranderen in een luxueus uitziende stof die lijkt bezet te zijn met gouden kralen. Een andere fantastische reactie was wanneer een stukje badmat zo extreem heet werd dat deze samen vloeide met het zwarte latex en zo terug samen 1 materiaal vormden. Soms waren deze resultaten ook iets minder positief. Zo veranderde mijn goud-zwarte fijne tule in harde zwarte draden en smolt mijn blauwe fleece vast in plastieken klonters.

Met mijn nieuwe gelaagde textiel wou ik opnieuw lagen creëren om uiteindelijk mijn headpiece in elkaar te zetten. De moeilijkheid hierin was dat ik geen enkel startpunt had voor de vorm. Ik had duidelijke ideeën over hoe ik de vorm voor mij zag, maar het visuele beeld wat ik mij in mijn hoofd gevormd had sloot niet aan met het materiaal dat ik gemaakt had. Daarom wist ik dat ik terug opnieuw naar mijn materiaal ging moeten luisteren, wou ik hier iets moois uit kunnen maken. De headpiece is een puzzel geworden van alle stukken stof die ik gemaakt heb. Ik ben gestart met een basis waarvan de vorm te vergelijken valt met een doornkrans. Vanaf deze krans ben ik naar beneden beginnen te werken. Omdat logischerwijs stof altijd naar beneden hangt en gesmolten objecten ook naar beneden druipen was het voor mij ook vanzelfsprekend om het van boven naar beneden te laten lopen als een waterval. De kleine lapjes vloeien in elkaar over of overlappen elkaar en vormen samen met de krans zo terug 1 geheel, een headpiece gebaseerd op mijn inspiratiebron, Florence Welch.

afbeelding 1 klein

Wanneer het hoofdstuk gedragen wordt voel je je iemand met een hogere status, iemand met een wilskracht. De vorm van de headpiece stuurt het lichaam ook automatisch in een zelfverzekerde houding. Als ik naar het eindresultaat kijk zie ik een mengeling van de renaissance, een hoofdstuk dat Cleopatra zou dragen en een traditionele Indische bruid. Ik vind het ergens vreemd je je zo fabuleus gaat voelen bij het dragen van iets dat als een soort beschermende helm je hoofd bedekt. Maar, aan de andere kant ook erg kwetsbaar. Je voelt bij iedere beweging hoe delicaat en fragiel het materiaal en de constructie is. Ik heb een kledingstuk gecreëerd waar je met liefde mee om moet gaan, net zoveel liefde als ik er in gestoken heb om het te verwezenlijken.

headpiece eindresultaat klein

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