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So some of you may have noticed I've been missing from the blogosphere for a while now... the reason being I was pre-occupied with completing my bachelor of arts degree. I am happy to report that I have finished and am now free to do as I please! As I mentioned in a previous post, for my Final Major Project (FMP) I chose to use The Collector by John Fowles as my text and focused on the connection between the study of entomology and serial killer behaviour made in the book. As interested as I am in both butterflies and serial killers this project was at times very trying and frustrating but I am pleased with my final results and finally feel ready to share my work with you... The 'Death Moth' I love historical costumes and enjoy making them a lot but over this year wanted to push myself and work with new materials/ experiment and broaden my skill set so decided to go for a less traditional style of costume. over the year I played about with latex, expanding foam, clay, wood, wire, lycra, jersey, organza, leather and mouldable leather. The experimentation stage of most projects is always my favourite part, along with seeing the end result of all my hours of sweat and sleepless nights. I drew designs for the protagonist of the book, Miranda, as a caterpillar, a chrysalis and a butterfly as she imagined herself when hallucinating from a high fever brought on by becoming ill when imprisoned and not receiving medical attention. During my research into the life cycle of moths and butterflies I watched a video where the larvae (caterpillar) was described as an 'eating machine' and from this decided to portray my 'Caterpillar' with characteristics of an obese human, such as lumpy, fatty pockets of flesh and nude skin tones. The 'Chrysalis' I chose to make less of a costume and more of a beautiful glorified modesty screen/changing room. The chrysalis, or pupa, is the self-made environment the larva constructs in which to transform into it's adult form, the caterpillar or imago. The beauty of the glasswing butterfly chrysalis had a strong impact on me, not only because of it's metallic mirrored surface but be look of strength it has and the implied security within it. So I took this as my inspiration and set about creating a structure that was beautiful, sculptural, with both strength and delicacy. The 'Butterfly' costume doesn't portray a typical beautiful butterfly, instead I chose to show how Miranda saw herself as a developed version of her previous self but rather than fleshy, soft and excessive she is revealed as a hardened, sleeker figure with an accentuated waist and lengthened torso (by building up the shoulders) to give an insect-like silhouette. The costume is still in fleshy tones (in keeping with the connection between Miranda as a human and her hallucinations of herself as a butterfly) although slightly darker than the caterpillar, with dainty, delicate, intricately decorated wings. Last weekend the Technical effects, Make-up and Prosthetics and Costume for Performance students graduating this year put on our Degree Show at Factory7 in Shoreditch. I think the show looked really good and had positive feedback from friends, although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed at the turn-out on industry night. We were all told to invite people we had met and worked with during placements and throughout the course, and we did, but I thought the course leaders and university officials would have invited some people for us to meet and see our work too. Perhaps they did, and no-one turned up. A lady I did a weeks' interning for at Merlin Entertainments Studios (Madame Tussauds) was there and we had a quick catch up and one of the Prop-making team supervisors from the Olympic ceremonies workshops was there too and she updated me on all the projects she's had her hands full with since I last saw her. Getting my 'walkabout' ready for the show All in all I really enjoyed my degree. I learnt a lot and feel like I now have a skill and a career. I have been provided with a wealth of information and good opportunities but am glad it's finally over. With my friend Charlie who won an award for his design work In other news... This week I am doing some interning at The Royal Ballet School in preparation for their end of year performances on Sunday. I can't tell you how excited I was when the head of department handed me an original Royal Ballet principal tutu this morning telling me it was 27 years old! She told me to show it some love and I spent the day repairing, darning and replacing elastic. The label said the costume was for Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. It certainly looks fit for a princess! I was so excited when I got my hands on it but at the end of the sweltering hot day I had pretty sore fingers, however I'm still looking forward to the rest of the week. On Sunday I will be backstage at the Royal Opera House for the performance as a dresser and I can't wait... I will have more photographs of these beautiful creations for you in a couple of days when I've had a chance to sit down and go through everything!
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