Put The Weight On Your Shoulders Plush by Tahnee Pantig

The concept behind this product comes from my personal connection with rice. I come from a family of rice farmers and it is a large part of my identity, my culture, my history. I also thought rice would be an interesting material to play with diffusing LED light with. And thus the journey begins….

IMG_8416_edit   IMG_8871_editImage on right: preliminary concepts for plush toy. Image on left: experimenting with light diffusion through rice.

Experimenting with rice was fun but then I decided to add another challenge of working with stretch fabric. I felt like the light diffusion would be better seen through sheer fabric and nylon provided that quality.

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Image above: layering nylon fabrics of contrasting color added a dimensionality to the product while still retaining the sheer quality of seeing the rice grains and light diffusion.

I learned new skills while working on this project! I think the layering capabilities of nylon are incredibly interesting and I look forward to exploring that material in future projects. In addition, building circuits and soldering is a newly attained skills that I think will prove useful. Refreshing my sewing skills was very needed and I am pleased with how familiar I’ve become with the machines in the VFL.

IMG_9092edit IMG_8892editImages above: process photos. On the right, soldering, on the left, sewing.

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Images above (left): plush in off state, without rice and with the circuit on the outside. Image above (right): plush in on state with circuit inside.

The images below are of the product in its finished state. The plush sits on the shoulders of the user and the passive weight of the rice helps to relax muscles, similar in theory to how sandbags can be used in yoga classes to passively deepen a yoga posture.  The aroma of the rice and the lights also produce a calming effect.

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Once I made the form, I realized how closely it resembled on-the-go travel pillows. I am hoping that for the next iteration, I’d like to play with this form and also include additions to distinguish it from the pillow and also to enhance its capabilities. One concept I am exploring is adding a hood with LED lights.