Now comes the fun part! We had to design a creature that shared our primary needs and explore how it could have evolved to fulfil them. Once we found a design we like, we had to create it as a wearable costume in just a matter of days. It was really challenging, but very rewarding.
I tried to ignore the costume aspect and based my research on weird animals, Wayne Barlowes illustrations, tranimal performers and crests from extinct reptiles. I wanted the break the human silhouette and create something alien.
By now I started to worry about the costume and how I would pull it together. I sketched on different ways I could wear the costume, some of older students designs and four-stilted costumes. I also did some sketching in Plasticine.
When I did these sketches, things started to fit into place. I was inspired by Native American transformation masks, Paul Bonner's troll, bearded vultures, raccoons, and a little bit of Frank N. Furter. (You can see that some of the designs wore high-heels)
I played around a little with different variations. I wanted to incorporate a stylised phallus and yoni in the design. I wanted it to be subtle though, more reminiscent of Pantalone's nose than a dildo on a gimp mask. You could probably argue that the Chinese new year celebrations (and especially the impressive Lion dance) gave some inspiration.
I got some valuable tips after showing the tutors my work in progress. One idea was to find other ways to communicate animism without the ceremonial robes. I was also asked to push the need of physical connection even further. I elongated the fingers so they looked like roots and added some branches at the elbows. This alludes to the world tree that connects different realms in the spirit world and tied well to my idea of a spirit that represents non-binary concepts. And it looks really nice.