labricoleuse: (frippery)
I've fallen a bit behind on sharing my students' projects from this semester, but i'm slowly getting back on track! Here are some pix of their wire-frame projects, presented a while ago.

Velvet wire-frame fascinator strung with peacock-colored silk floss
by PlayMakers Repertory Company wardrobe supervisor Ana Walton
Tulle, vintage lace, and feather headdress by continuing education student Kim Fraser

1920s beaded lace and net headpiece by first year grad Danielle Soldat

Drawn bonnet after a design by Madame Sheeta, by second year grad Erin Torkelson

"Barbed wire" crown inspired by a sculptural piece found on Pinterest, by second year grad Michelle Bentley

Lace, tulle, and floral beaded headdress by first year grad Sam Reckford
labricoleuse: (design)
My millinery class presented their third round of projects today, of which i have three images to share: a Muppet wig, a steampunk-dreadlock creation, and a commodore dog hat. The premise of the project is to address a costume element which relates to hair, but which in theatre would not be solved by traditional wigmaking. Students use millinery principles and craftwork techniques to create a wearable object.

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (supershakespeare)
Tonight is Opening Night for Pericles, so it's time for an overview post of the work that came through the Costume Crafts department on this show! This post doesn't include every single item we worked on, but it does cover quite a few...

First, let me offer my usual disclaimer that all of the images and information that i share in this blog is strictly by permission of the artists, artisans, designers, and companies that i work for. I have worked under non-disclosure contracts and the pieces i have produced in those jobs have not appeared on this blog nor been discussed. I have had some inquiries about the legality of "behind the scenes"-style blogging--when i write about PlayMakers shows and the UNC graduate program, it is with their knowledge and permission.

Now that that's out of the way, let's go! (Lots of images behind cut-tag.) )
labricoleuse: (ass head mask)
[ profile] mister_sable asks:

I was wondering if you had any info about how to construct a mascot head, Ms. Labricoleuse. It's not really for a mascot, but for building a minotaur for a film. I was wondering about the helmet/base in particular.

Great question, and a timely one, too. There's an article in this month's edition of the ACTS FACTS safety newsletter which mentioned a tragic incident in which a dancer fell from the stage at a production of The Nutcracker because of her visually obstructive mascot-head costume. The last news on the dancer was that she was recovering from spinal surgery as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. These kinds of costume items are very difficult to make well and safely!

I would say the first thing to consider in deciding on your base support is to consider the weight of the minotaur head you will build. If it's to be lightweight--say, made of carved styrofoam or something--a hockey helmet or bike helmet could be your base. I worked on a HUGE minotaur head once (like, the size of an actual bull's head with a large set of horns) that we built onto some U-shaped pieces that sat on the actor's shoulders--it was made from veraform and fiberglass and actual bullhide and was too heavy for the performer's neck to support.

There are some books that might help you too, with included diagrams of interior structures: Costumes and Chemistry by Sylvia Moss, Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits by Adam Riggs, and that new book I mentioned a couple of posts back, Tan Huaixiang's Costume Craftwork on a Budget. They all have good info on balance and troubleshooting of these kinds of costume items. Or, if you want to make it as a latex mask (not sure if the scale of your design would work as such a thing), there's a great resource called The Monster Makers' Mask-Making Handbook that shows how to do such a thing in step-by-step photographs. You can either track down a hard copy or buy it from the Monster Makers as a download.

Hope this helps, and good luck with the construction! If you remember to do so, please share some pics of your finished minotaur! I love projects like that.
labricoleuse: (shoes!)
Friday afternoon, costume staff and students were granted the opportunity to observe the dressing process of the dancers of the Khmer Arts Academy's production of Pamina Devi: A Cambodian Magic Flute, currently touring the US. The performance appeared courtesy of the Carolina Performing Arts series. Theatre empresario Peter Sellers sponsored the production, choreographed and directed by Cambodian classical dancer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, as part of a Vienna Mozart festival. Now the KAA have taken it on tour.

If you are unfamiliar with what traditional Cambodian dance is like (i certainly was), check out some of the articles written about the academy and the tour:

New York Times article
Daily Tarheel (UNC college paper) article
Responses to the premiere last month at the University of Florida.

Shapiro told us a lot of interesting information about classical dance conventions in the Cambodian tradition. For example, all the roles are performed by women, but there are four character archetypes: men, women, giants (who apparently also double as gods or demons), and monkeys. The men are signified in costume by the wearing of peaked epaulets. Characters also wear masks, such as the Garuda, a bird-creature.

Shapiro also talked about the genesis of this particular production, in which she played upon Mozart's opera's themes of "enlightenment and change," a phrase adopted and perverted by the genocidal Khmer Rouge in the Cambodia of Shapiro's youth.

We were allowed (after removing our shoes) to come backstage and observe the dressing process of the 31-member dance troupe. These dancers begin the dressing process 4.5 hours before the performance begins--they are stitched into their shirts and undertrousers, and the other pieces are all held on with a combination ties and artful folding processes. Everyone was very friendly and happy to answer our questions, show us details of their methods and traditions, and allow us to take photos. All the pictures in this post are courtesy of photographer Amanda Phillips.

Click to see pictures! )
labricoleuse: (hats!)
One of our productions this season is Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, set in a "Turkish fantasy land," according to the costume designer, so the crafts include a lot of various shapes of turbans draped in bright fabrics.

Here's a series of photos illustrating how I took a turban from mockup to final headdress:

Read more... )

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