Day 3 in Kansas City!
Woke up for Jennifer Tipton’s Keynote! She was great. She really made me more conscious about how the angles of light effect the type of space the performer seems to be in, specifically with front/back lighting narrowing the space to resemble indoors and side lighting widening the space to resemble outdoors.
However the big findings of the day go towards my two sessions: “Fabric and Theatre Throughout the Ages”, as well as “The Future of Ballet Costumes”. While neither directly spoke about how fabrics can be utilized to create organic design spaces, they helped me understand the general usage of specific fabrics in theatre today. By understanding how the fabrics are used today I will be able to alter their current use for my future projects.
“Fabric and Theatre Throughout the Ages” was presented by Rose Brand. I was able to find how linen, while expensive, is extremely durable and also drapes very nicely. Silk is also very durable, to the point where it dissipates any force inflicted upon it. Canvas was first made of hemp, then cotton, and used for painting. Muslin is a lighter version of cotton canvas. Velvet was made in Italy, and is similar to canvas except it has a third nap thread – and Velour is England’s version of velvet. The shark-tooth scrims came about when the looms made to create lace fell to the way-side and were being used to make mosquito screens. This specific loom is called the Jaquard loom. A really fancy fabric that they showed us was the video fabric. This fabric is not being used as a screen for a video to be projected upon, but an actual video feed is being sent through the fabric causing it to illuminate. They also showed us a plasticized polymer fabric that is being used to cover cars – and can only imagine it being used in the theatre. Rose Brand also showed us how digital printing was being utilized in today’s market. They have printers that can not only print on fabric but also on fabric that is more than 40 feet long. This is specifically used for drops by many theatre companies. They explained how this technique does not replace scenic artists, it does on interpret the designers vision to better suit the production, but simply replicates exactly what the designer gives them. They say that a common use of the printers is to just sketch out the drop, and have the scenics come fill in the colors.
“The Future of Ballet Costumes” really focused on the history of the ballet costumes, and how choreographers and designers are adapting and shifting the old designs into new innovative forms. I learned the difference between a romantic and classic tutu; the difference being in length, and overall silhouette. The romantic tutu is composed of at least three layers of diamond net fabric that reaches down towards the knee. Classic tutus have nearly 10 layers that reach horizontally out from the dancers hips about 15”. Much of the construction lies in the pleating of the layers and how the layers interact with each other. In the romantic tutu they simply drape over each other, while in the classic tutu each layer is sewed to the lower one so that they don’t separate. Modern adaptations of these tutus come in forms of different pleating and layering styles.
I hope to combine these two styles. I would like to integrate the layering of the tutus into drapery as well as soft-good scenery. Most of this research will have to happen in experimental form – so perhaps I will be able to write another CURCA in order to fund this. 