The Complete Works of Dickens (abridged)

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I have recently completed the construction of costumes for the Complete Works of Dickens (abridged). These costumes was used for performances of the show at Pleasance One throughout The Edinburgh Fringe. The show is now about to embark on a three month UK tour. My role involved buying fabrics, cutting, making and breaking down costumes, as well as sourcing specific items. I was in charge of managing the costume budget and supervising other members of the costume team. Costume construction skills were a vital aspect of this role.

Jacket

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I am currently constructing a jacket. This is a commission and will be worn by the Groom’s mother at his wedding.

Beading

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Here is a sample of beading that I have been working on. I have used a variety of beading techniques to gain a variety of effects and textures throughout the piece.

LOVE.HONOUR.OBEY

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LOVE.HONOUR.OBEY is a feature film produced by Raindance Raw Talent. My role as costume designer involved studying the script in order to work out what costumes each character would wear and when. I worked alongside the make-up designer and set designer to ensure continuity throughout the film and to build up an overall image of each character. The film was set in the present day, thus my role mainly involved sourcing costumes and arranging fittings with the actors to ensure they felt comfortable. On set I ensured that all costumes were stored safely and that the correct garments were clean and ready for each costume change. I was also on hand for dressing and final checks.

Work Experience: Macbeth

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I did work experience at Nicola Killeen Textiles. Here I helped to break down costumes for the production of Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios. I primarily used cheese graters, sand paper and paint. I then assisted Costume Designer Anna Josephs during the tech week in the lead up to the opening of the show. During this time I labeled all of the costumes and hung them in the correct dressing rooms. I also did last minute shopping and further breaking down. I thoroughly enjoy the practical aspect of making costumes; nonetheless throughout the tech week of Macbeth, I thrived on the adrenaline of being on set. Seeing the selection of costumes come together for the final performance was extremely satisfying.

Daniels and Dipper

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Another invaluable experience was my role in the production of costumes for the multi-media educational project, Stations of the Sun. This culminated in twelve public performances. I sourced specific items from dance groups and hired some pieces from the National Theatre; nonetheless I made the majority of costumes myself. These were a modern interpretation on traditional Morris Dancing costumes. I worked extremely closely with the musicians involved to ensure that the garments fitted well and did not restrict movement. This project gave me an insight into the industry and the practical skills required whilst working alongside all members of a production crew. It was particularly valuable as an opportunity to make costumes that are practically viable and comfortable on stage for physical performance.

1920’s Day Dress

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I made a 1920’s day dress based on an image sourced from an edition of a Bernard Hewitt catalogue published in 1928. I obtained the same fabric as used in the original design, silk crepe. I bought the fabric in white and conducted a range of dye samples in order to achieve the exact shade depicted in the image. I then dyed several metres of the fabric in a large dye vat. The floral design on parts of this day dress necessitated experimenting with different processes. Initially I tried layering white lace on top of the fabric. In hope of creating a more accurate portrayal of the design, I then researched 1920’s floral prints. Finding a suitable print, I enlarged the image and altered its colours (to black and white) in order to produce a screen print. I printed the image onto acetate and exposed it onto a screen. After sampling with various different methods, I decided to use flock paper and a heat press to create a flock finish. Completing the dress, I stuffed the arms with fabric and bent at the elbows, tying them in this position so as to create creases and a worn effect. I also ironed seams and edges into which I had painted soap, thus making the garment appear slightly worn and washed. Furthermore, the original design comprised both the dress and a matching cloche hat. I therefore sourced felt which I then colour matched to the same shade as the fabric of the dress. This was particularly challenging because different dyes were required to dye the different fabrics. After dying, I placed the felt over a hat block and shaped into the cloche style. Making this costume allowed me explore a wide variety of techniques. It was both invaluable and highly enjoyable.

Carnival Costume

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This Costume was designed by Colin Spalding who I met at the UK Centre of Carnival Arts. I learnt a lot from looking at completed costumes of his as well as his work in progress. I made a backpack style frame and a headdress. From these I could attatch fibreglass reinforced plastic rods and feathers. Working on this project inspired me to travel to Cuba where I could attend a real Caribbean carnival.

Baroque Costume

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This Baroque court theatre costume was designed by Henry Gissey. This costume was exhibited at Hampton Court Palace and was later bought by Past Pleasures. The rich red and gold colour scheme was inspired by the interior of Hampton Court Palace, as well as the extravegant use of trim throughout the costume. I aged the white shirt and flounces on the sleeves using potassium, a decision I came to following a fitting under theatre lights where I noticed that the white outshone the deep red velvet and gold silk. When making the headpiece I also ombré dyed the ostrich feathers in potassium, so that the costume came together well as a whole. I decided to use leather to create the design on the bodice of this costume, as the character was a male hunter, so I thought leather to be fitting. For the sections that looked more like armour, I made felt, which I then covered in leather that I had painted gold, before embellishing with trim. For the shape of the skirt I made a pair of very full petticoat britches, which I edged around the bottom with a thick canvas to give the skirt the volume that it required.