The costume crafts department is a division of a theatre's costume shop that creates all costume items that are not considered "main garments." This means hats, crowns, jewelry, prosthetics, squirting flowers, shoes, belts, masks, armor, ears, tails, wings, antennae, halos, and whatever a designer dreams up for a character to wear that isn't a garment, isn't a wig, and isn't a prop. The Crafts department also handles all dyeing, painting, and distressing requests.
Usually, only larger theatres have dedicated costume crafts departments, often consisting of one artisan only. CTC in Minneapolis, as one of the 20 largest theatres in the USA, has a costume crafts department with one full-time crafts artisan (Randy Rowoldt - who has been with CTC for over 20 years) and one part-time-regular crafts artisan/painter dyer (Truly Carmichael.) All shop personnel are members of the professional theatre artist's union, IATSE (local 13.)
Cool. So that's clear - now what are we doing HERE, exactly?
We, Randy and Truly (AKA the ear-hat mafia) realized that there are numerous innovative techniques, solutions we devised, processes we created, and new discoveries that we make every day, and we really want to share what we do. To our knowledge, there is no other online publication that offers this sort of glimpse behind the costume-crafts-curtain, and we decided to create this blog. CTC gave us the green light to use images of the pieces we make for their shows, and we ask each designer before using their renderings. (You would need their permission to use any of the images we post in your own publications, but you may feel free to link to this blog.)
We hope that our musings are of use to other craftspeople and of interest to anyone who is curious about how our part of the magic happens.
Truly and Randy