A series of three jaw pieces in sterling silver with real coyote teeth, molded from my mouth.
My mouth is full of teeth that aren’t mine. They are uncomfortable, they hang from my mouth, they disrupt my chewing. I chose to represent my mouth as something malleable, silver, and white as bone while the coyote teeth are real since to me they often feel very real even if they are were they don’t belong or make sense anatomically. Phantom sensations for me are not often the same, and don’t map to my body in logical ways.
I have worn these. More photos to come!
Coyote fur scraps.
I’ve been pretty inspired by the taxidermy process of re-hydrating stretching, and gluing hide in a shape. I form it on human foam heads and use layers to glue it in place. This one is very comfortable and tight, and the construction prevents me from opening my mouth. The fur comes inside and out, twisting, there are partially developed ears and a full pair, and the nose is missing on the coyote on one hide as it blends into my own nose. I think a lot about my own phantom sensations as I make these masks.
Just a quick phone shot of some jaw pieces made of metal and canine teeth I am making. I have this one (silver), another one in bronze, and 3 more ready to be cast. I can’t decide on if I like the silver or bronze more and I need to photograph them I think before I can commit. This is from a cast of inside my mouth.
(Olga is always in my photos by accident.)
Some quick photos of the just finished phantom canine gloves I have been working on. They had a lot of changes happen while I was creating them, but I am happy to have them finished. I have had the chance now to wear them a bit too, and will be updating you guys with not only some statements about it but a website too. Yay :)
These are intended to nullify the wearer’s phantom sensations by providing real-life stimulus that replicates the phantom sensations. They force the wearer to acknowledge what is real and what they can’t feel, sense, or interact with while wearing them.
I was pretty bummed about the plaster breaking because it meant a lot of time had been lost. Now that the mold is starting to dry, I realized that it actually looks pretty cool. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this, but I like the plaster of “the werewolf was here”.
I’m working on a silicone mold currently (cut it up, getting the clay out now) so I can slosh into it to make the glove. It’s been taking so much time because of mold failures. Figured you guys would want to see this cool plaster though :)
Two quick photos of some silicone claw tests I just did. First time doing a two-part mold in plaster, first time working with silicone, I had to slosh cast, I need to now do a whole hand-paw… a lot of firsts this semester!
I am working on a few projects at once, it’s hard for me to keep up with the updating.
I am currently studying Digilegs and some of the homemade “weta-inspired” legs from wizardgir. I am doing this in order to hopefully prototype canine werewolf legs in the future. My hope is I can learn from these to make legs that are less about the costuming aspect and more about becoming prosthetic legs a canine therian would want to wear. I am exploring different material options that would make these be less dead weight and actually.. wow, be comfortable. Perhaps even something you can run in and do light hiking with.
I thought I’d post some of my notes from tonight. You gotta start somewhere, and I’d rather not reinvent the wheel. So, studying and 3D modeling shall be my first tasks.
I think one the the best things I am giving myself this year is the chance to challenge myself about my animality. I wake up every day to myself in transition, to many more articles to read (such as about lycanthropy, phantom limbs, dehumanization, transhumanism, prosthetics, otherkin history), and to the many projects I have before me for my senior degree work. While I have so much to learn and a lot I’m going to probably fail at, I feel confident that right now this is the direction I need to go in.
These are in progress shots of my coyote hat. I have completely underestimated the truth that it is really hard to work with a shoddy tanning job. I can’t seem to safely get the cartilage out of the ears without ripping the hide, the nose/muzzle barely is working out (I think my form is ultimately too big and I noted too late), the lips were never turned and I couldn’t seem to release them, the nose itself wouldn’t soften up, and I can only hope that in the next few days I’ll be able to work out the eyes and ears being alright. From there, I can do some leatherworking to make myself a front strap and make sure the hat is hidden from view.
There is something very humbling working this way. While I’ve owned fur for a long time as a collection, there is something very different about manipulating it as a material. I cannot compare the experience of working with once-living flesh over how much I have worked in metal, a material made from fire and geological activity that was ripped from the earth by the hands of someone likely not paid enough. This particular coyote comes from New York State and seems to have likely lived a normal coyote life up until dying. I saw no evidence of being clubbed to death or otherwise being unhealthy. I imagine the miner is suffering more.
I’m posting two of my older pieces of work I did my first semester in metals because while I had some thoughts about making wearable artwork for myself, I failed myself a little when I made these. Hopefully in posting them I’ll remember not to do what I did in the past and maybe it will amuse you guys to see me be a conceptual art fail butt. :)
Statement I gave my teachers when I made the Jaw Piece:
Nodding my head to some contemporary fashion icons and mixing my own sense of phantom senses, I produced a hefty jaw bone and fangs. Despite it being non-precious and aggressive, the piece is intended to look elegant and light. The wearer is accentuating their own bone structure and it brings their jaw bone to the surface, as well as permanently bares their fangs. The piece also compliments a long-standing need of mine to have truly ferocious teeth that I feel I possess; this is a reminder that I am an animal and should be viewed as such.
And the claws:
I have always felt that because we as a species are used to the idea that our own hands are soft and we do not posses claws or talons that our hands then are viewed not as weapons but as vehicles for weapons; we are forced to design clothing, objects, and jewelry to otherwise compensate for our lack of protective and defensive arsenal. I modeled a dominant-hand set of claw rings in bronze for the purpose of continuing that tradition and to satisfy my desire to remove myself in ways from social domesticity. They intentionally cover and distort my fingers with bronze, a rustic and ancient metal, and in doing so prevent onlookers from viewing precisely what kind of body language I may have. In arming myself I have removed at least some level of comfort and understanding civilly as I walk around town. This allows me to reclaim a touch of feral human yearnings for safety and the instinct to defend myself through intimidation.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything I said in my statements because I’ve had time to think about them (these are from 2010). I also had to redo the claws because I initially had rabbit fur on the backs of them which made them look more like paw-hands but just didn’t work conceptually at all. Ultimately, I don’t want people to be intimidated by me. I thought I did. After spending time wearing both in public at least once, I hated it. I’d rather find silent ways that I can be myself either in public or not that don’t make me seem scary or friendly. I’d rather keep that private.
I do however want to make wearable work that helps me invoke the canine body and mindset or helps me live through my phantom sensations into something real. The claws are nice in that they give my fingers and hand a weight to them that feels right. They pull on my fingers if I turn my hand in a way that makes my fingers feel pawlike. They fail at being useful as claws and look scarier than is necessary. Most dogs obviously do not have large claws. The claws there are less about “canine” and more about “intimidating and compensation”.
Then of course I ended up wasting a lot of time looking at gauntlet armor and plate armor for the hands and arms and ended up feeling as though metal seems too armor related and too scary. I’m going to have to really consider what materials convey what I want them to and what I actually want the wearable work to do.
I think one of the first challenges I still want to tackle is to give myself a paw hand. One that makes my fingers move the way I want them to and one that gives me tactile sensations that are not cumbersome.