labricoleuse: (frippery)
The Importance of Being Earnest is in its final week at PlayMakers Repertory Company; i just had some time this morning to sit down with the photo call disk and go through the crafts items, nearly all of which were made for the characters of Gwendolen and Lady Bracknell.

stage shots and discussion )
labricoleuse: (frippery)
Some time ago i posted part one of this two-part series, on carving a hat block from blue insulation foam. The bonnet is finally finished, so i've got some great info and images to share on the rest of the process!

First though, let me talk a bit about millinery structure from the perspective of patterning and geometry. (Bear with me here!)

Recall that this bonnet is a particularly challenging swooping "nuclear reactor" shape, which required the custom block to easily achieve. Traditional bonnet shapes are three pieces which can be flat-patterned: a brim (usually some variation of a crescent), a crown sideband (either a cylinder or a conic section), and a crown tip (a circle or oval). Most folks, even without much knowledge of geometry or drafting, can tape up a bonnet pattern sculpturally using trial and error--you put a seam in the back of the sideband cylinder or conic section, set the tip oval or circle in, fiddle with the brim crescent, and there's your bonnet, right? But with this bonnet, the shape of which is a geometric form known as a hyperboloid, there is no simple way to flat-pattern it. You *could* do it, but i felt it would be more valuable to just carve the block.

When last i posted, the hyperboloid was in a newly-formed state, shaped in the Fosshape on the blue foam block, but without a tip to the crown or trued up style lines. In the fitting, i consulted with the designer about where to cut off the brim--we drew the brim line directly onto the Fosshape--and at what angle to set in the tip. Then i cut it down to the final shape, wired both ends, and set in a tip of double buckram. I ultimately decided to mull the tip with icewool but not the hyperboloid, based on the hand of the cover fabric chosen, a monochromatic satin-face brocade with a motif of mums and bamboo.

Read more... )
labricoleuse: (milliner)
I've just heard that the hat colloquially referred to as "the Big Mamajama" has landed in Williamstown, which means that i can post about it now. (Even when everyone gives me permission to write about a job, i consider it a courtesy to the designer and the rest of the creative team to wait until they've seen the work--i cringe when i hear about designers seeing their costumes for the first time via say, a forwarded Facebook link.)

For a refresher from my previous post on the topic, i have been acting as a long-distance milliner for the Williamstown Theatre Festival's upcoming production of The Torch-Bearers, with costumes designed by Ilona Somogyi. The hat in question is depicted in this costume rendering and accompanying research image... )

The folks at WTF received my wired oaktag mockup for their first round of fittings and made some notations on it for me before shipping it back--they marked a new perimeter shape for the brim, bringing it in a bit so that the actress could fit through the needed doorways onstage (ha!), and adjusting the shape of the headsize opening by drawing the new needed shape on the tip of the crown. They also requested that i make the crown a dome rather than a cylinder.

With all that in mind, i began making the actual hat. The turnaround was quite fast on these, but i did still manage to get a few process shots to share and discuss. Read more... )
labricoleuse: (Default)
I finally have all the photocall shots and was able to put together an overview post of the crafts projects in Pride & Prejudice. I'm really pleased with the photos from this show, they really turned out well in terms of highlighting made-to-measure costumes for portfolios, not only for me but for the drapers/tailors as well.

photography behind cut-tag )

Hope you've enjoyed this overview, and the opportunity to see all the projects in context, aesthetically. If you're in the area and want to see the show, get tickets soon; they're a hot commodity, the original text being so popular. Reviews are mixed, which i think usually is a good indicator of a good production to go see, in that it's clearly made the critics think and come to different conclusions. (I'm always wary when a show seems to please all of the critics!) The college paper gave it a good review, whereas the News & Observer was critical of the production. But, the Classical Voice of North Carolina's review was glowing.
labricoleuse: (paraplooey)
My students are hard at work on their parasol project--most are restoring antique frames whose canopies had rotted or were altogether missing. I try to do many of the projects in my courses along with or a step ahead of the students, so that i have a practical example for them to observe.

UNC has a large archival collection of antique clothing and accessories (many examples of which are accessible online at the CoSTAR costume archive's website). Some of these pieces histories are known, but many are anonymous donations or came to us so long ago that information as to their origin is lost. In the course of writing Sticks and Petticoats, i went through our antique parasol stock and sorted out what was in stageworthy condition, what might be restored to stageworthy condition, and what might be salvaged for parts in the restoration of other parasol frames. Among our stock i found this super-sweet little carriage parasol from the mid-19th century... )
labricoleuse: (hats!)
We're in previews and the press pix have gone out, so i can share some stage shots and do an overview post now for Amadeus!

I should clarify, too, 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 wanted to mention that, as 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.

So without further ado, stage shots of crafts and millinery! )
labricoleuse: (hats!)
I've got more Amadeus hats to share, this time two straws for Constanza Mozart, including a downloadable "Care of Straw Hats" document you can take and modify for your own use!

click for more info and images )
labricoleuse: (hats!)
Today my assistant Miranda Morales and i finished two of the hats we've been working on...well, finished barring any requested changes during tech next weekend. Want to see them?

tons of photographs, one straw hat and one turbany plumed thing )
labricoleuse: (ass head mask)
The King was a challenging design in our recent production of The Little Prince. I had to work closely with the draper, M. Spencer Henderson, to pull off the extremely stylized effect of the costume.

pictures )

And here are a couple links to fellow bloggers I've come across recently, of related interest:

It's just come to my attention that Emil Kang, the Executive Director for the Arts here at UNC-Chapel Hill maintains a presence on He writes travel-specific blogs for particular trips he goes on, scouting out artists and performers the world over. Check out his most recent one, detailing a trip to Russia, which is full of excellent photos and cool commentary on things he saw and people he met.

Tyrone Mitchell Henderson has been cast as "Lincoln" in our upcoming production of Top Dog/Underdog; he keeps a blog on his acting career and his handcrafting (he knits!). I look forward to meeting him! If you know the play, you know spoilerish comment )
labricoleuse: (macropuppets!)
Probably the most complex crafts project on The Little Prince was the Fox macropuppet.

The project was largely the province of my assistant, third-year MFA candidate Emily Vandervoort Mason. Emily's degree focus is craftswork, so i asked her what, of the range of projects on the show, did she want to be responsible for (with my oversight and input, of course). I wanted her to have the opportunity for a great portfolio inclusion. Bravely, she picked the Fox.

pix and method )
labricoleuse: (paraplooey)
I finally have all the stuff to make my post about the parasol development for The Little Prince. Though they are technically props, parasols are frequently the responsibility of the crafts artisan, because they are often designed by the Costume Designer to match the costumes of their carriers. I've written a forthcoming book on parasol manufacture for costumers (out in January 2008, more info as soon as it's available, of course!), so when it comes to traditional parasols, it's safe to say i know my stuff.

pictures, design renderings, and a video of my inverting parasol! )
labricoleuse: (ass head mask)
Recall if you will back in October when i posted the first installment about the development and creation of the masks for our next mainstage show, The Little Prince. Since we open on Saturday and there are costume renderings of some of the characters up on the official site, i think it's ok for me to post a follow-up!

When last i posted, i had left it at a cliffhanger with me beginning the sculpting process of the mask matrices. Read more... )
labricoleuse: (ass head mask)
We've begun production on The Little Prince, perhaps the most crafts-heavy show of the season. It features tons of masks, hats, and other crazy stuff (as you would expect, given that you have characters playing flowers and animals).

I've already begun the mask-making process because i'd like for the actors to have their masks in rehearsal from Day One--that way, every bit of the character development is informed by the mask and we avoid the sort of creative dissonance that can come from introducing a mask after the actor has begun to create a physicality for the character.

Check out the first part of the process! )
labricoleuse: (opening night gala)
In addition to the silk yardage painting discussed in a post a few days ago, there were quite a few craftwork projects in the current production of Romeo and Juliet, running through October 14th at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC.

click here for photos and explanations )
labricoleuse: (silk painting)
Tonight is the first preview performance of our first mainstage show, Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. I'm super excited about the design of this show, and can't wait for the pictures to come back from photo call so i can do a more comprehensive overview post on all the fun craftwork (like this one on last season's closer The Illusion).

However, i've gotten permission to post some process shots on how my team generated the custom-painted china silk yardage used on one of the costumes.

process images behind the cut )
labricoleuse: (opening night gala)
I know, i have slacked on the second half of the Bryner millinery text. It's on my laptop at home and i am now at work, my contract having commenced today, so rest assured that it is coming, next time i haul my laptop somewheres that has wireless.

However, i was inspired to get cracking on this ongoing project i've had in the works--recovering a vintage bakelite-handled parasol with a ten-panel canopy--by the forecast that we are going to hit 105 in the heat index here in piedmont North Carolina.

whoo, pictures! )
labricoleuse: (shoes!)
The Utah Shakespearean Festival is world-premiering Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical this summer. If you are familiar with the play, you know that a large percentage of the farcical jokes stem from three characters all wearing the same Otello costume. (And, if you aren't familiar with the play, I just told you.)

The costume designer, Bill Black, planned on purchasing three pairs of black bucket boots from SCA Boots. However, our lead actor wound up being a man with a very wide foot (EEE), short shins and wide calves--the SCA boots didn't fit! So my task was to build him some boots identical to the two purchased pairs.

Here's how I did it... )
labricoleuse: (hats!)
Part One of this series addressed hairline tracing, wig ventilation, and mocking up a coal-scuttle bonnet.

Part Two dealt with setting the wig and covering the buckram base of the bonnet.

Here's how the whole thing turned out, trimming and styling!

photos galore! )
labricoleuse: (opening night gala)
In addition to the cage crinolines, which were featured in their own post a few days ago, there were quite a few craftwork projects in the current production of The Illusion, running through May 6th at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC. (The icon is from a candid photo taken at the opening night gala for this show--I think it's my new icon for "Yay, this show is done!" overview-posts!)

photos and descriptions of dye projects, fabric painting, hats, and more )

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