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BFA+ MFA Thesis 2024

Destarteprieto2024 Mfa
Bio-lanterns, Biomaterial, Capiz Shells

Destarte Prieto

Capiz Reborn: Preserving and Enhancing Traditional Philippine Shellcraft

MFA in Design

Capiz shell is a thin, translucent material, which comes from a mollusk found in the Philippine Sea. Traditionally, capiz shells were made into window panes and home decor, used so widely they became an iconic part of Philippine identity. Today, the influx of cheap, mass-produced merchandise threatens the capiz shell industry. To encourage renewed interest and sustainable revival of this long-standing industry, my research demonstrates new possibilities for the capiz shell.

By reconstituting cast-off bits and shell trimmings to form a new capiz biomaterial, my work is informed by the three traditional techniques used by Philippine capiz artisans—sewing, welding and bonding. Formed into a series of lanterns, the resulting artifacts showcase capiz artisanship and exemplify responsible use of natural resources. By repurposing waste and employing local expertise, this project highlights the importance of ethical consumption, promoting zero-waste practices within the community.