Monday, 19 March 2012

Perceptions of Performance

 This unit is comprised of a 2500 word essay-an  investigation into any genre of performance arts looking at the "cutting edge" that the particular discipline has to offer. Self titled.
I'm going for dance/circus or similar to tie into my SDP; ballet.

I have booked three performances so far to get me started and will back this up with my own investigations. The first of these performances was Balletboyz at the Lighthouse in Poole.

 I will be the first to admit that this is not normally something I would choose to go and see. I like my theatre to be classical, epic and full of exciting costumes. Nevertheless I went along with an open mind. Talented? Yes, there was no doubt that these Boyz were at the top of their game, choreographed with a mash up of contemporary ballet styles and techniques meets urban street dance and some exceptional displays of balance work. There was also some clever, if not bare lighting and the final of the three routines even had a theme i could follow, but i left the performance feeling uninspired.

My in depth experiences will form the basis of my investigation, ultimately exploring my own perception of performance in the new and contemporary edge of my chosen genre, branching out in to the populous of my peers to discover their views.

We have lectures over the following two months where guest speakers with relevant knowledge in the area will hopefully gives us something to consider.

For now i have my starting point and can really start to consider and explore why i feel the way i do about certain performances.

Silver Overbust Update

So, amidst my busy schedule I have managed to keep momentum going on this piece of shiney. 22 external channels have now been stitched to the corset, ready for boning to support the shell of the corset.

I have found that due to the curvy shape of this corset it has needed a large amount of boning to help the fabric stay taught and structural in the right places. In fact im not sure if it still needs another channel in the back panel. Bones have been ordered from Vena Cava and this is what is left to do:

Cut in the curving shape on the hip gores
Decide if there will be quilting in the hip gores- and if so do it.
Insert boning when it arrives
Put in lining(already assembled)
Make self bias binding and bind top and bottom
Add the eyelets to the bust for closure
Add fur trim and swarvoski crystals

Sounds like a lot, the hard work is over though so the rest should not take more than 8 hours in total.

Im still hoping to have the second corset finished by 30th March.
Considering i havn't even completed a mock up yet, this is unlikely considering what else i have to do in the next two weeks.
I have however completed the 1st pattern draft today. For this i have enlarged a pattern from Corsets and Crinolines to the correct scale and adjusted it to fit my measurements. i have never made a corset using this method before, so this is partly an experiment due to lack of time and partly an experiment just to see how this way of working pans out.

It will be an underbust cincher, but with fan lacing, made to fit myself * I really should make more corsets for different models*- in either the green metallic silk or lime green silk with contrasting brights(pink or blue)

Fan lacing example:

I have been wanting to try this for ages. As it is just a cincher there will only be one fan lacing like above, but i want to try three sets on a long line overbust at some ponint i.e at bust waist and hips, but now im getting off the point. This is what the pattern looks like so far..

So there will be more updates to follow once i have made a mock up or have gotten a bit further on with the silver.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Concepts in Context Assessment

I had my assessment in front of two tutors for CIC today, for the Olympic opening ceremony costume appearing in Battle For the Winds I find it a really refreshing way of having your work marked as i think it is important to get used to having your work critiqued.

It was quite long winded so I am not going to go into all the details but i think it is important to get down a few points:

Because this was a costume for an aerialist performer, what i have learnt in this unit will extrapolate very well across to SDP, as well on what i need to improve on.

My tutors agreed that my problem solving on this unit had been excellent and that the costume looked very well made. In regard to the petal skirt and what it did upside down one tutor said that she "really didn't expect from looking at it that it was going to act in that way", referring to the fact that when upside down all of the petals were away from the harness area.

They thought however that although i had done a lot to make the costume delicate the area i needed to work on most was my "eye for line", the aesthetics and getting the most out of the costume to show off the beauty of the artists body during performance.

The trim i had pinned to the back was completely wrong, which they could see straight away, yet somehow i had failed to notice did not work at all.

As a result i am working trough these problems and making some changes.

But this brings me to SDP and really gives me some things to focus on:

  1. Really consider my eye for line. Look at the aesthetics more closely and make sure i am getting the most flattering shapes.
  2. Really consider what trims are added. If it is not enhancing the costume, it does not need to go on.
  3. Stand back, and then stand further back. Do not get tunnel vision or in too close, see what the audience sees.
  4. Make sure I am always pushing to move my processes on, and change what needs to be changed. In order to become a better practitioner I must not stagnate and must be open to the opinions of others who have more experience than myself.
  5. Do not become "too precious" about a costume, things change, artist get changed, deadlines moves forward. Live projects are a very different beast, listen and communicate as much as possible with the designer. Speak up if you think there are problems with choices that have been taken out of my hands.

I think there are some very important points in here and i know that if i keep them in mind through SDP then i will really move on in my practise.

I will put the finished pictures up when the costume is complete, for now and in progress shot...

For now i need to work on finishing this costume alongside SDP.
My time plan is this:

Finish applying all the net by hand, including making the changes by next WED (21st). Meet designer at 3.30 to show her the progress.
Spend the FRI (23rd) in the studio, baby overlock the silk to be added to the net bodice, finish armoholes and neck. If i have time finish the binding of the net edges. Hand back mannequin and collect deposit.
2nd-10th- Add all the surface decoration by hand. Finish off anything else left to do, post pictures via facebook to designer, so she can okay it.
10th April. Completed costume to be handed in.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Silver Silk Overbust Corset

I'm in the middle of making an overbust corset as an experimental portfolio piece and to familiarise myself with shaping and boning over the bust.

The material is just gorgeous, a mixture of 60% black silk dupion with 40% silver lurex. It has the feel of the future in a Jean Paul Gaultier- Fifth Element kind of way. I also have a deep pistachio green in the same style which is destined to be a fan laced cincher.

The silver has a strength layer of coutil which the silk has been flatlined to by tacking, fell seams and cotton cording in the hip gussets. I am lining it with some fun cotton print (pictures to come) and there will be external bone channels in the coutil covered with the silver.

Its frustrating me that i cant find as much time to dedicate to the making of it as i want, but my degree is in full flow and i have a little mouth to feed.

The pattern is from Robert Doyle's Waisted Efforts-

and is one of the small plates from the Symmington collection. It has taken two mock ups and a lot of adjustment to get this corset into a shape suitable for the modern wearer and to increase the bust height so that the breasts will sit fully inside the corset. I'm actually still not 100% sure of the shape but this is all part of learning your craft inside out.

Eventually, if I like this pattern enough and when it is tweaked to perfection I will be able to offer it to clients in a multitude of sizes bespoke to their body shape.

But for now here is a sneak peek construction photo..

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Self Directed Project

The final term of my second year is upon us...

The previous term Concepts in Context involved me making an extremely specialist costume for an aerialist who will be performing as part of a large ensemble for the official Olympic Opening Ceremony in Weymouth: Battle For the Winds. Although I have handed in the academic part of this project (a large workbook detailing all processes and design decisions etc) I still have not completed the physical costume, so this will be running alongside the first few weeks of SDP and I will need to factor this into my work plan.

So, this brings me back to this term.


I will be learning under the tutelage of a man with a great amount of experience in this area and has worked for the royal Opera House. I was really pleased to find out that over the coming weeks we will be learning some of the following techniques:

Female and male bodice drafting
Female bodice draping and construction
Romantic tutu drafting and construction

This is then likely to be followed up in my final year where we will undertake the making of a full classical plate tutu.

SDP is a unit where you choose from a selection of opportunities in an area that you wish to explore further, setting yourself a learning agreement of how you are going to proceed with your work and being strict about your own personal work methods as a practitioner. I am my own driving force for this unit and it will have to be done in a manner that is academically sound, to meet the criteria for assessment.

As I have been driving my work and learning within costume for many years now this is nothing too startling for me. Indeed, I have abandoned my old blog and started afresh. This is a unit to really be honest about the way that I work independently and scrutinise my work methods and ethic in a bid to hopefully improve and therefore improve upon the quality of my work.

When looking at all the options for SDP I considered what I wanted to learn in terms of new knowledge, and knowledge that iImay never again have the opportunity to learn whilst I have access to the vast experience of my tutors.
The ballet unit appealed not only to my love of large classical and fantastically costumed performance but also the chance to learn some really precise and coveted techniques, and yes, the sparkle.
I have a passion to cloth the body, in beautiful shapes, and textures, just like I do with corsetry, and although not strictly historical costuming(my other passion) the classical Ballet's were danced 100 years ago, and the re-interpretation of this is exciting to me- and I want to bring this energy into this unit and see how far I can propel myself  when I am in charge of my own learning withing my degree.

This week I have a learning agreement to write and I need to make a schedule for my work plan.