I thought this week I would begin by talking about costumes I’ve created for the Sounds of South production of Pippin. That project has taken over most of my week. One of the big tasks I moved forward, with the help of Nancy Riggert of course, is making Charlemagne’s costume. In the spirit of full disclosure, Nancy’s son Will and my son Tommie portray the king, so Nancy refers to us as the queen mums. We worked on the king’s regal cloak, which I wanted to make as rich and ostentatious as possible to reflect his character. I found a blood red velvet curtain at the recycle center (Materials for the Arts program) months ago, and this became the starting point for the costume I envisioned. If you’re a person of my generation, there’s a hint of Carol Burnett in the costume, without the curtain rod. I also found bits and pieces of costume embellishments at the Recycle Center, including a formal red table runner and trim from fancy pillows.
I added used black fake fur from the hoods of jackets we collected at the Hoosier to Hoosier sale last year, as well as the last bits of a black vest I used to make the headdress for the beast in Beauty and the Beast. I even found a use for some rings from an old purse, a gold hair barrette, black trim that we harvested from a different red curtain and gold fringe that we got from the Bloomington Thrift Shop. If that wasn’t regal enough, we added lots of harvested gems to give it sparkle as well. I love how it looks on the hanger, but I think it looks even better on the actors! Now I need to create a crown worthy of the cloak.
A second project that we’re tackling is completing an arsenal of swords for the chorus army. I created a sword design to complement the armor and helmets of the warriors. The real challenge is repeating the process for seventy swords! Bret Rothstein cut over 140 hilt halves from rug padding that wasn’t used for the armor. Charlotte Appel cut out my swirl pattern from craft foam and Bill Riggert cut the lengths of PVC pipe from scraps we found in the theater woodshop, the Re-store and Alice Lindeman’s backyard. We also cut out blades from leftover corrugated plastic recycled from last year’s Beauty and the Beast costumes.
Misti Hayes glued the handles all together, including attaching plastic ornaments I collected from the Recycle Center on the handles. Nancy Riggert is attaching all of the silver fabric to the blades. Finally, we’ll need to paint the handles silver and attach them to the blades, then -- ta da! Seventy battle-ready swords for the stage.
I also spent some time at South working on the sculptural piece needed for the performance, a duck puppet. For the body of the duck I used a deflated, oversized volleyball that I got from Brian Shepherd at Binford Elementary. I cut a hole for the actor’s arm to fit in and filled the inside with remnant quilt batting that great Aunt Lois gives me.
The arm entry passageway is crafted from a stocking of Meredith Burnham that she no longer wanted. The head I carved from a cylindrical piece of foam from the Recycle Center and the whole thing is covered with felt remnants, also from the Recycle Center. I began attaching the final layer of feathers, which are leftovers from Babette’s feather duster costume of last year. It’s so fun to know the history of each little piece of my creations—nothing is cookie cutter when I get rolling.
On the weaving front I did manage to release the water and sky background from the loom for the willow commission piece and stretch it out into its frame. It is a small step, but the process is moving forward. Next I will use my dimensional crocheting technique to build the water forward and create the land mass from which the willow will emerge.
On the family front, the first week of school is behind us! It was a long week, even though it had only three days. As school moves into full swing, the boys will keep training in Taekwondo and weapons as they move toward their second degree black belt. They will add twice weekly evening rehearsals for Pippin from now through the end of October.
It’s going to be a busy fall! On this Sunday morning, though, after a restful Saturday, they were catching up on their electronic gaming. This afternoon when the homework clock struck one, all games ended.
Hmm, and did I mention there is no pie? We had visitors from Ann Arbor Friday and Saturday night, who generously took us out for a leisurely brunch. Unfortunately, we missed our Farmer’s Market trip, so at this point there are no peaches for pies or watermelons and cucumbers for the week! Hopefully the Tuesday market will come through for us.
Until next week,