Mother Nature delivered a hefty dose of rain to Bloomington this past week. She seemed to be a little off-target, though, because a substantial amount of it found its way into my art studio. Fortunately, there was no damage to my art or materials, but recovery meant rearranging stacks of materials and rolling back the rug. My array of fans and dehumidifiers took over and I’m back to being functional, but the net effect was an interruption in progress in my studio. Of course I can take inspiration from just about anything, so rain was my muse this week. I channeled water away from my happiness by creating umbrellas for Pippin. In our version, the players are part of a vintage circus scene.
Rather than shielding the performers from rain, our umbrellas help balance tightrope walkers and add drama to characters. To achieve the costume palette of amethyst, sapphire and emerald, with black and white serving as neutral colors, I created all of the umbrellas from broken or re-purposed umbrella skeletons. Thanks wind! My favorite has to be the one that I made out of the crinoline from a fancy doll dress. I cut half moons out of the canopy to scallop the edges and added a cane that I picked up at the Recycle Center from the Materialsfor the Arts program. I replaced the rib tips with disco ball beads from a necklace that Nancy and I found at the Hoosier to Hoosier sale.
I embellished each of the panels with trim scraps, reclaimed rhinestones, and circles of cut out of old sweatshirts.
I created two additional umbrellas in a similar spirit of recycling. This time I used actual umbrellas from which I removed the canopy and replaced it with triangles of fabric scraps. Of course I embellished the panels!
Sparkle, pompoms, felt balls and ribbon seemed right. If that weren’t enough, I made an umbrella for Berthe. She’s the flamboyant grandmother whose red dresses are shrouded in black that I created a couple of months ago. The base costumes came from red dresses from My Sister’s Closet. They were damaged and couldn’t be sold, so they generously donated them to our project. I overlaid the dress with black lace fabric and clothing from the Recycle Center. Berthe’s umbrella is unlike those of the circus performers and has a very different color story.
I replaced the original fabric from an umbrella canopy with black lace triangles. I covered the ribs on the outside with faceted trim that I got at a surplus store in Tucson, Arizona last year. I added black felt balls I made several years ago and embellished the umbrella with lace velvet ribbon and red trim the Sounds of South students harvested from various pieces of clothing and curtains. By the time I was done, the skies had cleared and the rain was gone!
This week I had the opportunity to sit and watch rehearsals for Pippin. Even though some of the details are still being fleshed out, I can see the that the singing and choreography will be amazing. I was able to visualize the scenes costumed and with all the props in place, which was an amazing feeling. I can hardly wait the couple of weeks before costume rehearsals begin! I can see that there will have to be many quick costume changes, so I’ve built technology into the costumes to allow them to snap on and off. With seventy kids, who sometimes need to change their complete outfits in a short time, chaos doesn’t begin to describe the first iteration of rehearsals in costumes.
In other big news of the week, the Pippin T-shirts with my logo I designed have arrived. Between projects I managed to carve out a few minutes to sit and read the Herald Times in my big comfy chair, but clearly the paparazzi was watching. I kept waiting for a pie to appear, expectantly sniffing the air when I woke each morning for the wafting aroma of baking pie, only to be disappointed. My best hope is the peck of peaches that sits in a mound on the kitchen island. Let it be today!
Until next week,