United Kingdom #12: Wearable Art

Emma Wilmott ’24 and Elena Tskhvitaria ’25, describe the process of creating “wearable sculptures.”

Today we woke up early, but despite sleepily making our way to the lobby at 8:15am, we finished breakfast later than expected. Consequently, we had to give up the luxury of riding the London buses, opting for the faster (but less comfortable) tube. At the beginning of class, our instructors introduced us to “wearable sculptures” (which, like the name suggests, are sculptures meant to be worn on the body). We then randomly paired up and began designing our own sculptures. During the first half of class, we constructed the base of our sculptures, creating the general form using wire and newspapers. At 12:30pm we took a lunch break, heading off in pairs to the local grocery stores. After eating together, we went back to continue our sculptures. For most groups, it was time to add plaster. This was a messy process; we dipped sheets of powdery plaster paper into water, then slapped them onto our sculptures while they were dripping wet, leaving behind a trail of white dust and cloudy water. And since the plaster was so thin, we had to repeat, layer after layer. By 3:00pm, most groups were done plastering, but there were remnants of plaster material covering every surface, including desks, floors, and our clothing.

After a hurried cleanup, we went outside to take photographs with the sculptures, crossing our fingers the entire time and hoping they wouldn’t break as we carried them up and down the stairs. Hungry after the class, we took the tube to Chinatown, where we ate dinner at various dim sum restaurants, and found yet another place for matcha ice cream. Fueled by dumplings and boba, we went to Hyde Park. It was much larger and grander than any of us had anticipated; filled with fountains, sculptures, ponds, lots of flowers, and trees, it was breathtaking. We had a bit of time to walk around, sit under the trees (or in some cases, climb them), and enjoy the view before walking through the park as a group. After we reached the exit, we made our way to the Kensington train station. After reaching the hotel, we had a quick debrief about the highlights of the day before going to bed and preparing for an even earlier start the next day.