Not only did we travel to Scotland for 2 weeks in June this year, and all of my kids had large birthday parties, but I was also apart of a collaboration with local artists.
My friend, Maegan Hall of Maegan Hall Photography, approached me and asked me what I thought about designing costumes fro this idea she had. She had a vision of doing an underwater photo shoot with the theme of the 12 astrological signs. She asked if I would design and create the costumes for the shoot. of course I jumped on that. Not only do I just adore Maegan but the opportunity to be involved with such a creative collaboration was right up my alley.
I waited until after our Scotland trip, more about that later, I started designing and sewing. When Maegan first approached me about it my wheels started turning, so when it came time to actually sit down and sketch, it didn't take long. I spent most of my effort on researching the different Zodiac signs, their glyphs, colors associated with them, and personality traits.
I hadn't sketched all of my ideas before I started on the costumes themselves. At this point, the pool had been found, generously donated time by my brother-in-law, and booked for August 25th and 26th, and most of the models found. I had 2 months to get all 12 costumes finished. And I made it, barely.
I didn't create the costumes in order. But I will list them in order by sign.
I had this idea of channeling Grace Jones for Capricorn. Fierce and empowered. I think the model and I both nailed it.
|Model Crystal R. China|
Aquarius is a masculine sign, which, before this shoot I had no idea that the signs were masculine or feminine, but I digress...
Though he ended up with hardly any clothing, Aquarius was a difficult sign to interpret, along with Gemini. I knew I wanted to use blue and give a vibe of fun and independent, some of the signs traits typically. So, a loin cloth it was. The model, Ryan, was easy going and a trouper. He had no ide until he showed up what he was wearing, or not wearing. We has to weight the fabric down to keep it from floating too much underwater. I used fishing weights to accomplish this and later Maegan took them out post process.
|Model Ryan Pugh|
Well, this costume was a serious labor of love. Over 1000 beads. All hand stitched. The idea was inspired by a 2013 gown by The Blonds. I started with an aqua color gown. I wanted an ombre look to the beading so I used fabric dye to dye a portion of the bodice the coral color accent and then fabric paint for the white. I then began to bead. For days. And days. 5 days total and many of those days were 8 hours of beading. I love how it turned out though. I learned so much through this gown. I want to do another one now that I know what I need to do and not do. I was ver inspired despite all of the hours and beads involved.
|Model Atiya Rahman|
Aries wasn't hard, it was just time consuming. I knew what I wanted to do I just had to find time to mold and shape all of the armor pieces. Fortunately, one of the team members has a business doing 3D printing. 8Bit Cosplay to the rescue. They 3D printed the spikes I had sculpted out of clay. It was amazing and fast. All I had to do was paint them and attach them to the EVA foam armor.
Originally I wanted gold and a deep, almost maroon red. Like an ox blood red, but my budget was running thin so I had to go with a red I had. It worked. Especially adding black pants and shirt as a base.
|Model Ross Muhlenberg|
Taurus was probably the easiest one for me to come up with and make. I used techniques I use all the time in my designs so it was kind of a no brainer. I have made real tree bark belts and waist cinchers in the past. And I have made numerous head pieces over the years. So again, easy.
|Model Laura Muhlenberg|
Gemini, Gemini was the other sign that was difficult. Initially we had twin models, unfortunately, that fell through, which changed what I was envisioning. Which workout, so it wasn't a big deal. Being flexible is a good thing. Gemini was also the last sign I designed. Which again, worked since the model situation changed. I decided to go with the theater masks to represent the Gemini's glyph, twins and the duality that tends to be a thing with Gemini's. One was cool tones and one warm. I used vintage silks and ribbons. I also used a metalic wax to color the masks and to help seal them. Remember these need to withstand being underwater for a few hours.
And you can read about the photography side of the project here (link coming soon). I will have these costumes for sale in my Etsy shop in 2019. Follow my blog to keep up with all the new things coming in 2019!!!
Underwater Fantasy Shoot: Astrological Signs Highlight from Boutwell Productions on Vimeo.