Sunday 15 January 2017

January Projects!

It's been a while since I've posted on here- but that doesn't mean there's been a lack of busy creativity!

I've continued my thousand mile walking challenge in this dress, and have now passed 700 miles! This photograph was taken at Claife Heights viewing station overlooking Lake Windermere. Regular updates at

Before Christmas I visited Styal Cotton Mill with a lovely team who are working together on a dance piece called 'Cotton', inspired by the cotton industry, and Lancashire's historic mills. It was great to look around and see how all the different stages of cotton preparation, spinning and weaving result in the end product of cloth. 

I shall be designing and creating costumes for the piece, which has three dancers, plus an extra cast of ten students per show. It shall be an exercise of resourcefulness, as there is limited time to work on this- just one week in fact, and I can't wait to get started!

A quick costume shoot was done in the mill, using a costume already owned by the dancers- it's a great start to get a feel for how the costumes have been imagined so far- I shall take this idea away and develop it! 

Below are more details of the performance!

Harris Museum, Preston
Saturday 21 January
11.00am, 1.00pm & 3.00pm

Live Dance by AbouTime Dance Company

AbouTime Dance Company present Cotton, a new dance theatre work exploring cotton production, showing at 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm. It brings together a new company of professional dancers alongside students from Cardinal Newman College. Artistic lead, Jenny Reeves, invites audience members to offer feedback and ideas for future development.

Another project I am working on in my own time is this shiny shiny dress. The base is a bargain charity shop dress- costing a whole pound! I've used holographic strips of faux leather as the main feature, stitched onto strips of various other fabrics for extra strength and colour. 

I have plans to introduce more features to this dress- including multiple colours of net, and some crocheted pom-poms, courtesy of the crotchet force that is my sister,! 

Back to the Cotton dance piece- I have begun collecting shirts from charity shops- a great place to rummage and select from many options of clothing! And the bargains are a great help when working to a budget!

I've also collected some pieces of fabric to make aprons. I want to include lots of different textures and colours- so the factory workers appear to belong to the same world, yet have their own individulity.

Below I am dipping the shirts in a magical substance called potassium pomanganate- it could be a dangerous substance if used incorectly- but a few sprinkles dissolved in water have the very useful effect of  burning fabrics to varying degrees, depending on the strength, and how long you leave the fabric in it. It looks bright purple to begin with, but that washes out to leave a brownish colour behind. It is an excellent way of ageing fabrics- and as the image of the mill child at the bottom of this blog suggests, the workers would wear and wear their clothes, and so a lot of ageing could make the costumes more authentic.

Image result for cotton mill children

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