Ideation & Prototyping Week 2: Endangered Animals

This week, we were asked to create an endangered animal of choice using recycled materials. While searching for an animal to create, I saw a fish that immediately caught my attention.

I was fascinated by this humphead wrasse because of its beautiful color and funny facial expression. Humphead wrasse, also known as Napolean fish, is a large species of wrasse mainly found around coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region. With its thick lips, an average length of 1 meter, and a signature bump on its head, humphead wrasse can be easily found around and within coral reef waters and lagoons. Because it preys on the crown-of-thorns starfish, which is damaging to coral reefs, the humphead wrasse is also known as the reef defender. Unfortunately, because of different factors like explosive fishing activities, low sexing rate, and human consumption, the humphead wrasse is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red list.

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Look at those cute lips!!

With my animal decided, I then took a look at what materials I have to build it. Throughout the week, I have collected some cardboard boxes, plastic packaging, and some extra pillow filling (cut memory foam). There are two ways I can approach this; the first way is to make use of the memory foam and plastic bags to make them into a fish shape, then attach the eyes and fins. The second approach is to use the cardboard to build a sandwich structure and then attach the fins to it. After some consideration, I went for the cardboard approach. Since I was blessed with a beautiful cardboard box, I thought I can make a really fun and colorful prototype.

I then started sketching out my structure and elements needed to construct. The base for the fish is going to be put together using two cardboard cutouts of the fish and one long strip of cardboard as the middle supporting layer. The fins and eyes can be made with some soft plastic bags, which can easily cut out using a scissor. However, I didn’t know what to do with the lips, so I left it undecided, hoping that I would be able to find some inspiration along the process.

I started with breaking down the boxes to flat cardboard so that I can cut them out using a crafting knife. Then, I traced out the shape of the fish on the cardboard and slowly and carefully cut it out following the lines. Afterwards, I cut out two long strips using the brown cardboard, and then started to attach them to the fish. After gluing all the cardboard together, the fish is slowly coming to life.

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Now that the main body is done, time for the fins and eyes. For the eyes, I used some plastic packaging to cut out two strips and rounds, and then created a ball shape using a big drop of hot glue. For the fins, I used plastic bags that are stiff enough to maintain their shapes. I traced the shapes on the bags and cut out each of them. With all the fins and eyes done, I started to attach them to the main body. Afterwards, I noticed that the eyes are looking a bit dull and the lips are still missing, so I borrowed some nail polish from my roommate and painted the eyes black and gave it a bold red lip. Et voila! My humphead wrasse is done!

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I was feeling nervous and stressed about this assignment because I have not crafted a thing since…… elementary school! This week has given me another chance to reconnect with my (non-existent) crafting skills and to really think creatively as a designer. In an age where almost everything I engage with are digitized, it was refreshing and challenging to actually put together something with some raw recycled materials and my own hands.

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A colorful humphead wrasse in its natural habitat…lol

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