Monday, 29 June 2009

The Duchess Costume Exhibition

My friend Lesley and I had a "day off" this Sunday to go and see the costumes from the film The Duchess currently on display at Kedleston hall. Kedleston was used a lot as a location in the film and there' s a rather good exhibition about how the film crew took over the property.

The costumes are absolutely lovely and it's always nice to see things very close to - they are on manequins at strategic places around the house so you can really study them ;) There are lots of detail pictures available on my favourite costumers site.

I was explaining to Lesley how different it is making a costume to a bridal gown even though they may end up looking very similar on the outside.

A costume will usually be mounted onto calico with no pretty lining and worn over period underwear which has already given the corect shape to the actress, in a way it's almost more like the original clothes would have been worn. Hand stitching is appreciated as an authentic feature on the surface although the costumes are usually machine sewn on all seams.

A wedding gown however has to look perfect inside as well with silky satin lining throughout and often the boning has to be put into the fancy outer bodice rather than the underwear for ease of dressing on the big day. This is a very modern attitude to dress construction. I have several 1950's designer gowns in my collection, not one of which is prettily lined! But no one wants to be uncomfortable on their wedding day, so the challenge is to get a historical look without the historical discomfort!

Victorian Vintage Necklace how to...

Yes it's another lovely project by me, in Making Jewellery.

This one features a gorgeous vintage watch face, and while I always hate it when I can't get hold of the focal bits in a project-I thought this one was worth it.

Especially as I have taken a mould of the watch face and so can recreate it in artclay silver should anyone desire one.

I was also really touched to be included as one of Vintaj's inspirational designers on their blogsite, I love brass filligree and use it loads - though perhaps not quite in the way they expect ;0 But I certainly used it in this project, and I'm really pleased to see it becoming more available in the UK.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

A Dragon A Dragon!

I often freelance at Promotional Props and Costumes, making what might be seen as fairly ridiculous large character costumes for company mascots, use in TV commercials and on stage beasties....

This is one of the more sensible outfits, yes really. A Darling Welsh Dragon to terrorise the schoolchildren of Gwent with.

Here he is seen practising a suitably fear filling pose on the boss Liz.
The costumes are flat pattern cut from lightweightfoam, sometimes sculpted using heat then latex coated and painted. Sometimes fun fur is involved...

In the workshops its often a lot like bluepeter for grown ups and we use an aweful lot of glue...all with apropriate respirators and extraction obviously. Secretly we all long to work on sesame street.

Every costume is made individually to the clients designs and we have made some really really odd things... toilet rolls (for andrex), a goriila (for cadburys) cigarretes (for nicarette) assorted pieces of litter, a skelleton for Mika, innocent smoothie cartons and a giant kitkat (which made us all hungry..) to name but a few.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

How many regency ladies does it take to make a bonnet?

A splendid weekend in the workshop with Kitty, Jane, Yvonne and Jenny. We made Regency bonnets and boned petticoats for super "Jema-style" cleavage... Bonnets were created to match Spencers and there were many requests to run a gown creation workshop.

A very good time was had by all and lots of excitement re what the well dressed lady will be wearing to the Bath Regency Ball in September.

Our dear friend Lady Depper even visited us for lunch on the Saturday, despite a slight accident with a chainsaw, fortunately nothing that will stop her dancing come September!

Friday, 5 June 2009

2nd European Polymerclay Play Days Weekend

Oh my goodness, I have just had the best weekend ever! Huge cheers for Helen Cox who organized it absolutely beautifully. Considering there were over 15 nationalities represented I can't believe how well everyone comunicated and how extremely well planned everything was.

There was a wonderful selection of workshops and 6 inspiring internationally acclaimed tutors, I made loads of incredibly cool stuff, learnt new techniques and met loads of like minded lovely polyclay enthusiasts! What more could you possibly ask for?

These are the things I made in the workshops. I learned so much, not least of which was how to condition Kato clay , to which I am now a complete convert.

I made lots of new friends, particulary Lone from Norway, Valerie and Craig from Scotland and Sue from just down the road! Valerie teaches poly clay oop north and had loads of really great advice, as well as a tool for everything (and many spare ones to share!) Lone and I were both totally blown away by Iris Mishlys workshop and had to be forcibly stopped from making flower canes and pillow beads for the rest of the weekend!

It was also wonderful to meet my polyclay heroine, Donna Kato, whose books and work have inspired be for many years, I had a great class with her and also managed to get an interview which will hopefully get a print in Making Jewellery soon.

On the last evening we had a party and all swapped beads we'd made specially, this is my haul! aren't they totally gorgeous? Every single one a work of art from a poly clay student, usually scattered all around europe!