As the calendar page turns over into May, I’m turning from creating Pippin costumes back to making fiber art in my studio. I did get a lot accomplished this month in the costume realm. One of the main characters in Pippin is the sassy grandmother Berthe. She encourages Pippin to embrace the pleasures of life. For her I created a Victorian style dress, because on the outside she must maintain a prim and proper façade for the world. Her dress is black lace with red fringed satin dress underneath that speaks to her deeper, flirtatious nature. I’m trying to let the red flames of her passion shine through the black surface restraint of her expected societal edifice.
This week I also launched into the penultimate lead costume on my list, which is King Charlemagne. Although royalty tends to wear blue, he is a war-mongering king so I really wanted him to have a flowing deep red cloak that speaks to the volumes of blood shed in his name. One of the reasons his costume is among the last completed is that I’ve been waiting for the right fabric to appear. Because all of my costumes are made from reclaimed and recycled materials, I spend a lot of time collecting treasures from sources such as the Recycle Center and local resale shops. I get a few more materials as donations from parents. I’ve been waiting patiently for the King’s fabric to appear. Last week it fell into my lap in the form of a used curtain from the Materials for the Arts program at the Recycle Center.
There wasn’t quite enough width to the fabric for the King’s outfit, so I went digging in my bin of brocade scraps until I came across a piece of fabric that I bought at the Junk in the Trunk sale a couple of years ago. I claimed it then as the perfect drape of backdrop fabric for the treasure chest scene in one of the operas within an opera in ‘Phantom of the Opera’. Although there was a little too much green in the fabric itself, I was able to cut strips that contained predominantly red and gold. I added still more trim scraps from curtains and bed skirts and beads from a broken necklace. I will make it still more regal by trimming it with fur from hoods and collars of coats that I wasn’t able to use for last year for wolves in ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I’m still hunting for the perfect chest medallion, but I know that will appear. The King’s ensemble is now pieced together and needs to be glued and sewn into one unit.
With the Pippin costume project at a stable stopping point I moved back in my art studio. I’m now working on three pieces. One is a shore scene that will feature birches leaning over the water, which I’ve been needle felting onto the weaving foreground. To spice things up we even had a tornado siren go off a couple of nights ago so the family joined me in the art studio. It was the perfect opportunity to do a little evening poking as we listed to WFIU on the hand-crank radio for updates. We still had power, but you can never be too prepared for an emergency! I also finished needle felting the last of the white radishes I need for ‘My Roots’, a weaving that features root vegetables that we buy at the farmer’s market. Soon I’ll be laying out everything together for assembly, although this time I’m the only fiber art faerie to attach it into one ensemble! Finally, I’m launching into a commission piece that will feature birds, flowers and vegetables in a garden. I’m really looking forward to creating this special piece.
On the home front, Tommie and Sounds of South went off to compete in the ISSMA competition this weekend, and everything seemed to go very well. I had to settle for treats from the farmer’s market from Maria yesterday for breakfast, since I ate the last of my blueberry pie Friday. Jim did pick up strawberries at the farmer’s market, and Nancy Riggert is supposed to harvest rhubarb for two pies, so fingers crossed—that it will smell like spring pie in the house very soon!
Until next week,