Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ballet Costumes, Beading and This N'That

Behind the exquisite shiny things and airy beauty are the talented hands of the creators...
Our sewing guild was privileged to have a presentation from the talented Larae Hascall, the Costume Shop Manager for our Pacific Northwest Ballet here in Seattle. She brought some gorgeous costumes and head adornments and necklaces created by her shop for the dancers. I was particularly fascinated by this presentation as I know my French GGrandmother was a costume designer/maker for the Lyon ballets many years ago... so this was a taste of history of what she may have been doing, could I only have been there to see! Now I know I must see if I can find some historical pictures of the Lyon Ballet.
A great deal of creativity goes into costume prep - there is actually the sketching and designing to fit the production, the pattern designing/developing, making a mock-up muslin, fitting and adjustments, and deciding on fabrics, dyes, and more for finishing the entire look. And, add to that, making sure that the costume can withstand the rigors of many performances by the dancers, making sure that they can be easily and quickly put on and off for different scenes. I learned that many of the costumes are made in separate pieces - that is, the sleeves not actually sewn to the bodice, nor the bodice to the skirt, so they can move more easily on the dancers and be removed so quickly. The costumes she brought had wonderful detailing done by hand and with machine embroidery techniques.

Here is a lovely ballerina headpiece.
And here is another, and a necklace, all specially handmade by the designers in the costume shop.
We also enjoyed looking through Larae's actual design/sketch books, detailing the beginnings for many of PNB show costumes and choices for fabrics, detailing. I know I will have a much greater appreciation for the behind the scenes work the next time I go to a ballet, opera or theatre production...

I have been very busy at so many things lately, and I'm happy to have finished the project below, more peyote beading, a bracelet and earrings for my mother's birthday.

Here is another set, this one was for my sister's birthday earlier this summer. I'm very pleased to say I designed the earrings myself in both cases. The one below was especially challenging to bead, as it was not in a somewhat straight line as is the bracelet.

This N'That
I realized how many things I was trying to do and somehow got a little stressed this week. We put away blueberries, corn and other fresh harvest in our freezer in the last couple of weeks. We tried to go blackberry picking, but alas, there did not seem to be a good season for them this year, very strange. Summer is definitely long gone and the gray days are here til probably April or May, except for the occasional blessing of sun.

I visited a dear friend this week who had knee replacement surgery. So I worked and completed an art piece for her (will post later), as well as a mini-art kit to play with while she recovers. And I have been attending to off and on sick kitty who is 15 and feeling his years, but ok for now.

I'm committed for the invitational miniature show again at the Kaewyn Gallery in Bothell, and will have 6 paintings there starting in December. In addition, I have been languishing as an Associate member in one painting association for quite a long time, and decided I would finally go through the jurying process to become a full member. For this, I must have 5 paintings the last week of this month. And I will be added to their website too.

Many other things going on, plans for major trips, some new directions and some old. PC frustrations, I know it's time to replace the desktop as it seems to crank more slowly. But I'm happy to say I persevered through downloading several different softwares for converting to/playing MP3s, and learned how to download to 2 different units, a Sony and an I-Shuffle. I do believe the I-Shuffle is super... tiny, lightweight, one purpose-play music, minimal button/dials... perfect I think, for my mother to handle.

So, as I was preparing this somewhat lengthy post, I was listening to some New Age angelic kind of music, so very soothing... A good way to write, wind down, and come to the end of another Sunday.