Camouflaging

Sting rays are among many sea creatures with creative methods of camouflage. The sting ray stays safe from it’s predators by blending in with the ocean floor. It does this with its mottled skin which matches the colours of the ground underneath it. This colour match is an effective way to remain virtually unseen to a passing predator keeping the sting ray safe. Along with the natural ability to blend in, sting rays also hide the edges of their form below the sand making them look more like the ocean floor and therefore hiding their general shape.

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So for my piece, I questioned how I could emulate the camouflage capabilities of a sting ray. Obviously it is useless for me as a person to have the back that matches the ocean floor so I thought I would channel my inner land sting ray and try to match the land outside the water. However, since I am not nearly as flat as a sting ray, it would be impossible to completely disappear on the well cut lawns of UVIC campus which posed a problem. So instead I did my best to apply the three techniques that the sting rays use. First of all, try to match the colours of the grass itself, second, break up my natural form as a human, and third find some taller grass to lie in, making me more one with the ground.

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When approaching this project I wanted to imitate grass but buying actual grass real or fake seemed expensive, not to mention a little less land sting ray like. The sting ray doesn’t look exactly like the sand around it, but instead matches enough that it isn’t easily seen by moving predators above. So for this project I wanted a giant outer blanket that I could make look like the lawns. Inspired by a DIY Oscar the grouch costume I came across, I decided to use yarn and moss like materials to create my own illusion of grass.

While making this piece I had to sew two towels together and realized its impractical to effectively attach natural materials to a soft moveable surface. So I stuck with tying bundles of yarn to my towels in little patches to get this grassy, moss like effect. I also attached excess pieces of towel around the bottom edge of the towel to break up the harsh square form and help hide my feet as I was still taller than my towels. Initially I was hoping to cover the entire surface with these grassy patches but the spaces between turned out being the thing that made it look most like bunches of grass.

As a finished piece I can proudly say that although I can’t camouflage the best in UVIC’s lawns, in taller grass I am almost as undetectable as the sting rays themselves, or at least the most undetectable land sting ray I’ve ever come across ;)