My goal was to create a project that emphasizes the need for humans to reduce our carbon footprint. I believe we need to be aware because it is hurting our environment and creating polluted air. To represent this I created two trees: a healthy tree, and a tree that has smoke rather than leaves. These trees also bring awareness to reducing the amount of paper we waste. Since trees are an important part of human survival and the environment, we must be aware of the pollution we are emitting into the air and the amount of paper we use. We can achieve this by doing little things such as reducing the amount of paper we print, or recycle the paper we do use. Every little thing we do to try and help the environment can create a big difference.
For this project I used about three bars of soap. I carved each tree trunk using tools to carve roots and texturize the trunks. Then I used another bar of soap to carve oval shapes, which I made to look like smoke puffs and bunches of leaves. One of the hardest parts of this project was connecting the smoke to the trunk and attaching several bunches of leaves together with wire.
My favorite part of the project was molding my hands and then peeling off the alginate.
In the end, the trees came together and their position on my hands represents the message I wanted to send. I have read and heard about the affects of hurting our environment, and I think this is an important message to convey.
The issue that I decided to show through my soap carving is mass incarceration by carving handcuffs. My sister rewrote the bill for mass incarceration and prison standards for her senior project last year, but before that, Shaka Senghor came to Latin to talk about the issue of mass incarceration, and as a result of that we watched the documentary 13 which is about the prison system and mass incarceration. There were a lot of facts and numbers that stood out to me, but the most prominent fact was the one about how 1 out of every 3 black men will go to prison. Mass incarceration is a huge problem in America, and although it doesn’t directly affect me, I care strongly about it and want to change it. A big challenge that I had was to make the handcuffs the right size to fit around my wrist. I tried to be as accurate as possible by measuring my wrist in wire and trying to carve the handcuffs around that. Another challenge was getting the mold big enough to fit my wrist in it, which meant having to do my casting twice. My last challenge in this project was my handcuff breaking in two and having to use wire to put the parts together. Overall, I had many complications with the project but I was able to take a picture and I was happy how it turned out.
Sex trafficking is a major problem in our world, and it’s still discussed as a very taboo topic. It is being talked about a lot more in the news and social media lately, but it should be talked about a lot more seeing as how there are around 4.5 million people forced into sex trafficking according to the Polaris Project. In Chicago, many organizations have been making huge strides in stopping sex trafficking. One example is CAASE, according to their website they have recently passed the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes Act as well as being involved in locating many different sex trafficking rings. Despite all the great efforts made by CAASE and many of organizations like them, I felt as though the lack of conversation surrounding this topic is still an issue. That’s what lead me to creating lips with a barcode engraved on them because people who are forced into sex trafficking often have a barcode tattooed on them so that the rings can keep track of them. This project really helped me improve my sculpting techniques. Going in I didn’t know what kinds of tools to use or how to make different textures. After awhile, I learned how to smooth out certain parts and how to curve the lips. I did a pretty good job with going slow while sculpting. However, I didn’t do a great job with planning out what I wanted my sculpture to look like at the end. If I were to do it again I would do a better job of planning it out; I would do this by drawing all six sides of the end product and not just four sides. One part of this project that went pretty smoothly was the casting. I was lucky enough to only have to cast my hand once, and I found the process fairly easy. While working on this project I realized how relevant sculpture was in my everyday life. Just like how I need to go slow when I’m sculpting, I also need to take my time on tests and quizzes.