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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Process makes perfect

Randy always makes a point of telling people how much of our jobs are research and development.

With permission from the delightful Designer (Annie Cody), here's an example of what we mean.

The design (for the innovative get-into the-action version of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea)

Most of this rendering will be made by the main costume shop, but we, here in Craftlandia, are tasked with the wonderfully 3D looking epaulettes.

The designer wanted them to have this sort of feel to them
This vintage tinsel was perfect!......and unfindable.

But we had zero luck finding any, since it appears to be some sort of vintage tinsel product that is no longer manufactured, and is not even available on eBay.
He made a paper mockup, complete with curly dangly bits.

The mockup established that we really do need something awesome and dimensional. 
So naturally, Randy set about figuring out how to manufacture something that has he same feel to it.
He tried a number of things.

Here are all the initial tries, with their raw materials beside the finished product.

this was cool, but would bend out of shape easily. We also need the Wardrobe folks to not, yannow, HATE us for making them re-curl the epaulette fringies between every show.
But we really wanted that cool twisty look that the tinsel had.
The technique that came the closest was this:
Looks curly, dimensional, is squishable, is maintenance free!
All we need is some coppery yarn, and this will do the trick nicely!
 Here's how he made it:

He made a sortof hairpin out of extra heavy millinery wire

and he wrapped yard around it.

and around and around.

Then he took it to the machine. See video below:

pretty cool, no?

Friday, June 5, 2015


These are some samples of the headpieces for the Lost Boys in the Children's Theatre Company production of "Peter Pan" which ran in Minneapolis from April through June 2015.  The production was re-conceived making Peter Pan and the Lost Boys into birds, the Pounce Girls (Tiger Lily's gang) into cats, and the Pirates into sea creatures.  We hope to post separate pages focusing on the other groups of characters, as well as pages showing mock-up to finished product of sone of the individual pieces.

Lost boy headdress, made from painted Tyvek and actual feathers on a Fosshape base,
 with nylon rods for antennae
This one has buttons for eyes. You can see the nylon horsehair loops for pinning the headdress to the actor's hair.

The feathers were all made from cut and spray painted Tyvek instead of fabric.  Some are wired, some have their spines simply machine stitched, depending on how we wanted the feathers to stand.  The Tyvek was easy to deal with, and nearly impossible to tear.  All of the elements were stitched to small buckram or fosshape bases, much like making small fascinators.  
These were for two lost boys who were "twins"

You can see where we stitched the nylon rods down as spines for the feathers

The blend of actual feathers and manufactured feathers on this one worked very well
 The bird's nest in this one matched the actor's hair color, and so it looked like it was made from his own hair.

All of the headpieces had a few real feathers added, and shaded with acrylic paints.

The costume designs were by Linda Cho, and we had a LOT OF FUN figuring these out and building them!