outer shell

January 12, 2022

Meela Jaarsman is known for creating wearable shelters from the most unusual materials. Imagine a cocoon, a “security blanket” made from the skins of frogs, squirrels and snakes, or the bark of banana trees. The Netherlands born artist has lived in Yogyakarta for many years and is inspired by Indonesian culture and the social, political issues that exist within her chosen home. These garments represents protection, and a yearning for security in the face of fear. I find the one below, made entirely of urchin shells, quite poignant. The shells once offered protection to the urchins they homed. Eventually, their squishy insides were eaten or washed away, and the spines dissolved into the sea, leaving a beautiful shell behind. The shells appear fragile, but in fact, their shape and construction make them quite durable.

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