As an ArtCenter alumna who never had the chance to take a Designmatters transdisciplinary studio course as a student, I was so excited for the opportunity to work on Coaniquem: The Healing Cloud Project as a professional during the Spring 2013 Term.
My role was to create the first prototype for the mascot Santi, a feline character developed by students during the research phase of The Healing Cloud studio who would help children understand the dangers of hot things. I constructed the costume from the inside out, using an aluminum bar, plastic, and fabric, all hand-sewn and sized to fit the lucky volunteer who would man the suit. Although I had previous experience with wearable art, Santi proved to be a challenge to make. I had to keep in mind important issues such as weight, ventilation, visibility, and wearability that I had not previously encountered. I look back now at how I tackled each issue and it’s mind-boggling to see what I accomplished in such a short amount of time! I remember trashing my mother’s living room in constructing Santi, and I remember all of my clothes were constantly covered in orange faux fur fibers.
My favorite part of the project was making the paws. Sewing the perfect pink pads and being able to hold them up using internally fixed large wooden dowels was one of the many satisfying problem-solving moments I faced in making Santi. It was also moving to see our volunteer get into character and dance around in the finished suit.
I still have so much gratitude for Designmatters for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a beautiful project. I hope the program continues its great work for many years to come!
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