The Final Display

With only a couple of days left of this semester I have reached the final completion of my project. Welcome to my hairy wonderland.

I wanted my space to be both grotesque but intriguing. A disgusting wonderland that makes us stop and question our revulsion as after all, its only hair. Hair is seen as dirty and unpleasant when it is not attached to our bodies but it is also very strong and holds our DNA which is very spectacular. As my display consists of soap molds my plan was to let my audience walk into a space that smells clean but does not look it. If I had a larger space and a lower ceiling I would’ve loved to create a hair curtain that the viewers would have to walk through and interact with to get to my work. This would make them feel repulsed before they have even reached my work.

The right side of my display is the work I created that highlights the amazing side of hair. I have a series of framed hair that look quite photographic. The tension of the hair being pulled creates stray hairs and brings the portraits to life.

Also on the right side is the soap mold I made from a cast of my own hand. It has shriveled more than the previous post showed but I feel this adds to the creepy hair display. I have wrapped a pair of tights that have been stuffed with hair around the hand which ties it together with the sculpture and allows the clean soap with the ‘dirty’ hair to work together in harmony.

The final piece that shows that interesting side of hair is my screen print. This is an image of hair under the microscope that has been screen printed and sprinkled with hair. This looks very intriguing at first but when you go up closer to it and realise it is hair it can create a disgusted reaction.

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The left hand side of my display  shows the slightly more disgusting side of hair. It starts with two hair balls slumped on a plinth. After visiting hairdressers to collect their hair in bags, these balls of hair came out the bag looking exactly like this. They appear almost-human like as they relaxed once they were released from their bags. Its as if they are a human torso that has just finished a large meal and has unbuttoned their trousers. Their edges are quite smooth and the hair itself is very clean but they do have a creepy and unhygienic look about them.

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Alongside this I have displayed my ‘Free the Leg Hair’ poster that is also plastered around my University in a campaign fashion. This print looks like it could be an advertisement for shoes or even women’s razors but on closer inspection you can see the ugly truth, the legs are covered in hair. ‘Free the Leg Hair’ is printed on the image to make clear my reasoning behind the work. The idea is to make my audience feel disgusted by the female hairy legs but to then question their disgust as it is fine for men to have hairy legs so why not woman.

My creepy hairy sculptures were inspired by feminist art and derived from my images of hairy legs. I stuffed tights with hair and created a male and female sculpture by using hair and the tension of soap to create the male and female genitals. The legs hang lose to again emphasise the unfair idea that woman having hairy legs is disgusting and unattractive but men having hairy legs is completely normal. I wanted my sculptures to represent the human body through shapes and textures but to also be monstrous and creepy.

My hairy banner hangs over my work as a celebration of hair and its amazing qualities. I hope my audience feel both disgusted and amazed by my work and they finally begin to question why they are disgusted by hair when its unattached from our bodies, or when it is attached to female legs.

And there we have it, 3rd Year Semester 2 is done and dusted. I have really enjoyed 3rd year and have tried and tested a lot of different techniques which I hope will help me in my final year. When I’m back I will be working on my degree show and on the road to finishing my degree which is a very scary thought. So watch this space and stay tuned for more crazy work to come.

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Making Realistic Soap Hands

After creating my soap hands by melting soap and pouring it into rubber gloves, I wanted to make hands that were more realistic. However, this did not happen without many difficulties, failures and frustrations.

My first plan was to make a mold of my hand that I could pour the soap into but after speaking to the technician at the MakeLab in DJCAD I was advised to try out their carving machine and carve into the soap instead. To do this I 3D scanned my friends hand and edited it in Rhino. Unfortunately, because our hands move so much no matter how hard we try to stay still, the scan had many flaws including webbed fingers. I tried my best to fix it but I was losing the detail of the original hand which was what I was after in the first place.

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To try and fix this problem I created molds of my hands using ModRoc and 3D scanned these as they would stay still.

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The plan now was to use the 3D scan of the ModRoc hands and the carving machine in the MakeLab to carve out the hand from a large block of soap. The machine didn’t like carving the soap for some reason and just stopped working after a while so again, I needed a new plan.

Going back to the original plan of making a mold I used my 3D scan of the ModRoc hand and with help from Rob in the MakeLab, attempted to make a 3D print of a mold of my hand. The print would be in two parts with an indentation of the 3D scanned hand in between. I would pour the melted soap into the mold and once it had set I would open it up and wah la! There would be a hand made of soap. But to carry on the theme of failing this print did not work either and would not give me the mold I was after.

So it was back to the drawing board once again. Rob helped me create another 3D scan, this time of my own hand and with some altering of the system it worked a lot better than the first time. I edited the file in Rhino to create a 3D print of a mold of my hand that I could pour melted soap into directly.

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The first attempt at using my mold was not successful, after I poured the soap in and waited a few days for it to set, I cut open the mold using a electric saw-like tool. Unfortunately, as the air could not get into the mold to dry it out the soap was still quite wet and fell apart when I cut the mold open. This was very disheartening but I soldiered on and printed another mold. This time after the soap had set inside the hand I pierced holes into the mold to allow the soap to dry out. A week after I poured the soap into the mold I opened it using the saw tools and this time used smaller drill bits as well. And finally it worked! I was left with a beautiful life-size hand made out of soap.

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It was quite surreal to see my own hand made out of soap, especially after all of the hardship and failures it took to get to this point. I am proud of this hand and plan on displaying it on its own on a plinth. The hand is weird, grotesque as it is slightly shriveled but also very clean and hygienic. It contradicts my hairy sculpture but also goes hand-in-hand with it as people do not like to see soap with hair on it. The hand also adds a more obvious human aspect to my display in among the abstract hairy wonderland. My next post will be the last one of this semester and will show all of my finished work in my studio space so stay tuned.