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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

ASHLEY NIEBLES

UNDRESSING THE FLAWS

Senior Project APRIL 2016

The moment I was introduced to Wabi Sabi I became fascinated with the concept and completely changed my perception on the simplest of things. What is ugly? Imperfect? Unfinished? Who decides the meaning of these words? As humans, we tend to disregard anything that falls under the category of those words. Wabi sabi is the opposite of that; it is the acceptance of all things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. I love the juxtaposition between the two, life and death, lightness and darkness, disagreeable and beautiful. With this project I aimed to convince my audience that there is beauty in the imperfect by creating wearable sculptures inspired by flaws in the human body caused by aging.


I started to dig deep and really question what it is that I absolutely love doing, and my answer was anything fashion, photography, and sculpture related. I did tons of research and I came across avant-garde fashion and couture. After looking at multiple avant-garde fashion designers I realized it was in reality just wearable art, it was sculptural fashion.


I began this project by photographing the stretch marks surrounding my mom’s belly button and developed a sketch for a sculpture. Then I continued photographing my grandparents faces and bodies and developed the rest of my sketches. By abstracting these images and only focusing on the shapes, lines and curves I was able to see the beauty in the intricate details and forget these were things people tend to dislike about themselves. I narrowed down my sketches to the three I believed worked best with steel since that was the material I was using. I decided to pick a model with an ideally beautiful body and have her wear my sculptures for the photographs nude. By pairing a beautiful figure with sculptures based on “ugly” or “imperfect” flaws, people tend to find the pretty in the ugly. I created my own mannequins in order to have properly fitting sculptures by taking a mold of my model and cast plaster into them. After dealing with the issues of mold making and life casting I began to appreciate it more, the mannequins became more than mannequins, they became equally as important as the wearable sculptures.