This semester, senior art student Nicole Weldy received a sponsorship from Duck Tape to complete a duct tape sculpture for her senior project.
Weldy’s senior project focuses on how people stayed connected through the arts during COVID-19 forced quarantine. The sculpture is a large dodecahedron, a 12-sided three dimensional shape made of interlocking hands. Each side of the dodecahedron is a pentagon, imitating the shape of a house. Weldy designed the structure to be able to roll when pushed in order to reference how the world was still turning while people were stuck at home.
Weldy explained how the interlocking hands symbolize the desire for physical connection despite social distance.
“During quarantine a lot of us were fighting the need for touch, wanting to hold hands, wanting to hug someone else, wanting to be around other people. We had to immediately be six feet apart,” Weldy said. “The world immediately shut down, and I think this project shows how we were all still connected through quarantine at home.”
Weldy fashions the hands for her project by creating duct tape castings where she thoroughly wraps her arm in duct tape before cutting herself out.
“What’s neat about it is that it still really feels like your own hand,” Weldy said. “I have arms from previous projects from friends that are no longer at Samford or couldn’t come back to the country. Some of their hand castings, if I were to put my hand and hold hands with them, it’s like they’re still here. It’s amazing how the material transfers that human connection and that shape.”
Senior art students receive a $300 stipend to fund their senior art projects. Weldy soon realized that almost all of that money was going to go toward buying duct tape to build the dodecahedron sculpture.
“When I realized that Duck Tape had their email on their website, I was like, ‘what do I have to lose? The worst they could do is say no. They could not respond.’ So I put my question out into the universe, like, ‘hey would you be willing to sponsor this project?’” Weldy said.
Duck Tape responded to Weldy the next week.
“They hadn’t even seen any pictures at the time,” Weldy shared. “It was just me describing like, ‘hey I’m a senior undergrad student at Samford and I’m finishing this project and I need more tape. Here are the colors I’m using, this is what the project’s about, this is what’s going in my senior show,’ and Duck Tape was just like, ‘how many rolls do you need?’”
Weldy calculated how much she would need based on how many rolls she had already used. She had already purchased around 100 rolls and requested 112 more rolls from Duck Tape.
A week later, despite not hearing back from Duck Tape after she had sent them her official request, the Samford mail center notified Weldy that she had boxes waiting to be picked up.
“Turns out, I go to the mail center, and the boxes are too big. I couldn’t pick them up without my car. I go get my car to discover that Duck Tape had mailed me two big boxes of duct tape. And not just they mailed me some duct tape, that they mailed me all 112,” Weldy said.
Weldy shared her disbelief and her excitement at being able to finish her project with the rolls Duck Tape provided.
“It’s one of those things that you never expect to actually happen,” Weldy said. “I’ve used duct tape before, definitely not in this quantity. The tape can be like glue, but it can be used in a decorative sense. You can use it as a fabric. It can be reused. It can be taken apart. It can be put back together. The material is just really nice.”
Arts and Life Editor