Monday, December 14, 2009
I’ve made some major advances on the Valkyrie costume today. All of the segments for the cuirass have been cut and ironed, and most of them have been surfaced. I wanted each segment to have “piping” around the edges, but the vinyl tubing I was trying to use was much too difficult to cut and bend into shape. Even at 1/8” it was too stiff. I figured a way to make the seams using piping cord and ribbon and still achieve a neat, smooth surface almost as smooth as the vinyl tubing would have looked. Up close it looks pretty good, but a few feet back it looks perfect. It took over two hours to do this one section though so, I’ve still a long way to go.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I was able to spend some of this morning working on the “cherub” wings for the choir of angels in my church’s Christmas production. The choir of angels will consist of 6-7 children from the church. For each of them I’m making a small pair of wings made with whatever I have around or can find for cheap: coat hangers, nylon, turkey feathers and boas. I’m keeping them simple since I’ll need to make multiples and need them finished within the next week.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
This year for Christmas my local church is presenting the story of Christ’s birth through music and drama. I’ve volunteered to help with the production as much as my tight schedule will allow, taking on projects one at a time. To start, I’m making the wings for Gabriel and the choir of angels (a small ensemble of 6 children). It took some time to make Gabriel’s wings, but fortunately I already had all the supplies I needed on hand.
Beginning with some scrap chicken-wire and some heavier gauge wire I made simple understructure that I could glue and tie everything to. I covered this with fabric that had a couple rows of turkey plums sewn in place. For the major coverts I simply glued some turkey quills in place. Glue will do since the production is soon and will only run once. For a longer show I would have glued and sewn the feathers in place.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I’ve begun drafting the wings for the Valkyrie costume. They are quite different from the Angel of Death wings, although they will still be based loosely on a bird's true wing structure. The structure for animating the wings should be significantly simpler as well.
I’ve decided I want a vertical span when the wings are fully open instead of horizontal, which is much more a fantasy wing design than anatomically correct. A vertical design, however, has the benefit of being easier to wear in crowded areas (such as Salem on Halloween)
I’ve split the wings into two main sections, the Primary and Secondary Wings. The Primary section, containing the primary feathers, is the piece that will accordion fold, and pivot to open to full span. The Secondary section, containing the secondary feathers and coverts, will be completely stationary, housing the pulley/gear system that will animate the Primary wings.
As exciting as it would be to have exposed gears operating the animation, I simply can not afford the type of gear motor I would need. Chances are I’ll be using a network of pulleys. Pulleys shouldn’t need to be so precisely aligned as gears, (so the wings will be able to flex a little). Additionally, the wire rope can be pulled and fastened using a belt, which works for a costume that already has a number of belts on it.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Lately it’s been fairly difficult to find the time to work on the Valkyrie costume. This weekend I’ll have a break from work though and should be able to finally make some serious headway on my various art projects. I’ve started playing around with the design for the Valkyrie skirt. I’m thinking of using a blue chiffon. I’d like something a bit “flowy”; loose, comfortable, pretty while at the same time battle appropriate. I’m toying with the length and placement of darts. I’d like my legs to be visible from the knee down, at least on one leg, because I’ll be wearing armor that I want to show off, plus it is more practical for a warrior to be wearing a slit skirt that is easy to maneuver in.
I’m not satisfied with any of my first drafts yet (hence “1st draft”) but the bottom left design is getting there. I think I need to start working some asymmetry into the design.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The Angel of Death costume was awarded the grand prize at the ball. I hope to be able to compete again next year. It was a blast!
Gallery One (pages52-57)
Gallery Two (pages 8, 20-21, 23-24)
More photos will be added to Gallery Two very soon.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
More pictures will be coming soon.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Salem now has a number of rules in place for Halloween night. At the top of the list is the No Weapons rule. Anything that looks like a weapon, real or fake, will be confiscated. Unfortunately this means I can not have my scythe with me in town on Halloween. The authorities chose to overlook my scythe from last year however I was only in town during daylight hours (not to mention the old scythe wasn’t nearly as menacing). I’m sure the police are stricter about the no weapons rule when it gets darker and harder to distinguish between the real and fake. So, (sigh) I’ll be leaving my Angel of Death Scythe at home and have doctored up a quick replacement prop because, I mean, I have to be carrying something and the scythe handle, cool as it is, is just not enough for me to carry on it’s own.
I quickly put together a lantern that can be bolted to the scythe handle (good thing I made that blade easily removable). Thank Goodness for liquid latex: the easiest way to make something look old and creepy in a matter of minutes. With a bit of latex and paint I was able to make this brand new electric lantern look a bit more like something the Angel of Death would carry around.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
So yesterday I took a little dive into a medium I don’t generally work with; Food. ‘Shley’s Birthday was yesterday and I decided to take responsibility for providing the Birthday cake. It couldn’t be any ordinary cake though, oh no. I was contemplating how to get a picture of some pop icon on the cake, either painted in frosting or sugar-screen printed, but decided either of those ideas would take too long. Then I came up with the great idea, what could be better than having a celebrity pop out of your birthday cake? I rigged up a jack and the box with a picture of Jesse McCartney and hid it inside the cake. ‘Shley couldn’t stop laughing, none of us could.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
My mom just picked up this polo shirt for me because it was on sale for 80% off plus it has wings on it. It’s a men’s polo though so I figure it will make a fun project to tailor it so it’s a women’s polo. It’s a little tricky deciding where to add darts so that I don’t loose too much of the print or the trim down the side which I quite like.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The glue was also a problem. In my materials tests I had been using an old bottle of elmer’s. As a result the glue was thicker than the new bottle I am now using. I found that if I use a combination of elmer’s and tacky glue I get the consistency I need so that the glue will puddle on the surface where the webbing is thicker. Too much elmer’s and it all soaks into the felt. Too much tacky glue and it all stays on the surface. This has turned out to be a much more delicate process than I had originally anticipated but at least I now know how to reproduce the intended effect.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I started sculpting the helmet in foam beginning with the horns. Symmetry is very important in a lot of my designs so I wanted to make sure that the placement of the horns was symmetrical from the very beginning. I started with two identically curved pieces of wire. Then I covered the wire with scored pipe insulation foam. Foam is a great choice for sculpting the core form in if you especially if you intend on leaving the core from inside the finished product as I did.
Spray Insulation Foam Base
The rest of the form was roughed out in spray insulation foam (GreatStuff) and a chicken-wire armature for the beak. Again, the idea here is to keep the materials light and easy to carve down later. Note: spray foam expands a lot! So don’t fill in gaps too heavily and expect to carve the form down later.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The felt is first sealed with fusible webbing. The webbing happens to have a very slight irregularity in thickness. When a mix of PVA (white glue) and metal powder pigments is lightly brushed over this webbing some of it soaks into the felt and the rest beads up on the surface. This gave me the stippled, hammered-metal look with hardly any effort at all. The feathers can then be glued on and silvered with acrylic gloss medium and metal pigment. The acrylic medium is not as heavy bodied as the glue so that the fine detail of the feathers is not lost. Figuring out the materials for the knot pattern is still a work in progress.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The next big project is now underway. I’ve decided to focus on costuming more intensely in an attempt to build a more specified portfolio. Most of my costuming work so far is craft/prop related and falls into the sci-fi and fantasy genres. I’ll continue to focus on this type of costuming.
The next project is what I’m calling a “Post-Apocalyptic Valkyrie.” A valkyrie is a female figure from Norse mythology who decides who will die in battle. They are often depicted as armored women carrying shields and spears while riding winged horses. This version is a cross between two mythological figures; valkyries and shield maidens. In the oldest Norse mythologies valkyries are associated with ravens and ride wolves through the battle fields. Occasionally the valkyries themselves are winged.
I’ve come up with a design that is a conglomeration of these mythologies with a sci-fi twist. The “Post-Apocalyptic Valkyrie” is a winged warrior maiden who has been escorting fallen heroes from the battle field since the 14th century to a future post-apocalyptic era. She and her attire have evolved with the centuries. She wears remnants of the traditional Viking armor and, a mix of accessories from across the centuries. Her outfit thus reflects the evolution of the warrior. The main component to the costume though is the assemblage of scrap and junk materials that one would find strewn across a landscape after an apocalypse. The basic patterning is what identifies her as a valkyrie (ie: spear, feathered helmet, armor cuirass…) but the materials have changed, replacing feathers and leather with scrap metal and mechanical pieces.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Mae West Photo AlbumAs in any occupation, some projects are more exciting than others. For the production of "Dirty Blonde" I had quite a bit of fun making the mannequin heads, but then found myself working on a rather tedious project. We needed a scrapbook of Mae West, one that looked like it was overflowing with photos and news clippings and the like. Such a simple project but so time consuming. It turned out great, but no one who looks at it would know how much work it actually is to make something look like a random accumulation of junk from years of collecting.
Aged Sheet Music
On the side, I aged some sheet music to look like it had been sitting the basement for a number of years. Again, it was a very simple project, but a bit more fun than the scrapbook.
Friday, June 12, 2009
The first project I had was a set of tree mannequin heads for our first show of the season, "Dirty Blonde." I dressed the heads with a few layers of gel medium, and modeling paste over nylon. I also helped with the assembly of the bases and added a wood grain.
Unfortunately the heads were cut from the show after I had already finished them after two days of work. They look great though, especially the one that is now holding my hats in my room.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Round Foam Capitals
As of last Thursday, the round capitals were in the process of being foamed out. Over the next few days I’ll have to design and carve them, and considering the time constraints they may not be as intricate as the rectangular capitals.
The archway and the pediment are well underway. Surface details are being applied to the pediment and are soon to be applied to the archway. The floor needs to be painted and a few props need completed, then we’ll be underway. It looks like for the next three days my senior thesis is going to have to go on the backburner a bit.
This weekend I hope to be able to work extensively on my thesis piece. I need to finish painting the acetate for both sets of feathers, and complete the other set of lesser coverts before I can move on to the mechanics.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Production for “Joyful Noise” is now in full swing. The show goes up in just a few weeks and there’s plenty of work to do. At the start of production I was asked to create the technical drafts for a few scenic elements including a hanging pediment and an archway. Since I was in charge of the drafting I also assisted in overseeing the construction of the pediment and arch.
Additionally I have been asked to spearhead the building of four capitals to be mounted on columns under the arch and pediment. Each is to be carved out of Dow foam. It’s a long process and the design has been somewhat modified along the way, but the results are pleasing, well worth the extra effort.
Sintra Feathers Layout
My senior thesis project is coming along nicely, pretty much exactly on schedule. Leo is helping to acquire a motor I can use to animate the wings. In the meantime I’ve been plugging along, cutting, painting and gluing lots of feathers. I’ve got my process down for each component of the sculpture so now it’s just a matter of putting in the hours and cranking out the pieces.
I’ve also completed the design for the postcards I am to send out before the show. I should have them in hand within two weeks.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I was able to finish both commissioned masks. The second mask is a smaller, broken, mirror image of the first that belonged to the brother of the main character in the film. It is a hand prop rather than a costume prop so it took a little less time to create. With a few rag-brushed layers of acrylics and some added details they are both complete. It’s great to be done early.