In 2nd year we are lucky to have a lot of workshops where we get to work with different materials and learn techniques from very competent makers from New Zealand. Last term we had leather workshop for three weeks with Nadine Jaggi. She taught us basic skills such as debossing, dying, thonging, glueing etc. Besides handing in sample of different techniques on leather we had to create a pair of vambraces each. It was all up to us designing and choosing the skills we wanted to show in them. I was having trouble finding a way to make my bodice for Major Work that gives it structure but still is simple to make/ cheap. I decided to have a talk with Nadine about making it in leather which then actually seamed like the best way. So from knowing that I had to explore how I could make the bodice in leather I chose to use my vambraces as a test.
I tried wet molding the leather to create leaves and I did debossed leaves in the leather as well. This workshop was such an eyeopener to the world of leather but also to the skill of committing to a task and not treating the project I am working on as the last thing I'll ever do. It especially helps me work more efficient on Major Work, cause even though it is such a precious thing for all of us in the class, it is still not the last costume and it is more an opportunity to learn new skills, find out what you can do and what area of costume you might be in love with.
This term (Term 3) we started with a week of Metal & Jewelry making with Tony Drawbridge. An amazing workshop that teaches us skills in costume props making. He taught us how to mold and cast things using silicone and polyurethane. He is a jewelry maker/ metal worker as well so we got to make rings in silver, copper or brass. It is amazing how you can look at a piece of jewelry and not have a clue how it was made and then after a week you have suddenly made a ring that shines and everything! We were very lucky that Tony was open to helping us with parts of our major work that we might not know how to do and translates more to a costume prop. He has given me some tricks to make the elf ears on my one, which I am still trying to figure out because it is something that I find quite hard to make in an alternative way rather than the "professional way".
These kind of classes are so great because they remind me that even though my main skill is in sewing, there are so many other things that I can do. When you have an eye for creativity it is easy to receive new skills and add them to the area that you work in. I love getting to know other sides of my creativity and I feel very lucky that Toi gives us these opportunities. I also love that our guest tutors are the coolest people ever who have worked on Lord of the Rings, Avatar and lots of other projects!