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March 2017

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silk painting

USITT Fabric Modification Symposium - Day 1!

Today was the first full day of the USITT Costume Commission's Fabric Modification Symposium, a three-day extravaganza of classes, presentations, hands-on activities, and more hosted by UNC-Chapel Hill at our Center for Dramatic Art. I thought that i was going to be an assistant to one of the presenters, but it turns out that instead, i got to be a "floater," checking out all of the first day's worth of classes! I took a ton of behind the scenes photographs and even participated in some of the seminars.

Thirty-five costume professionals from the US and Canada are attending, and we divided up into four groups, which rotated through the series of four different classes. The classes are taught over two days, with a "break" day in the middle (tomorrow) to allow some of the projects to cure/set/etc. So, today was the first day, and we'll do a second day worth of work on these things on Saturday.

The classes are as follows (i'll list them in the order that my group went through them):

1.) Screenprinting with EZ Screen, taught by Jeff Lieder. Jeff is a costume designer, a professor at U-Wisc Milwaukee, and has served as the Costume Director of the Utah Shakespearean Festival for the past 18 years.

2.) Devore and Discharge printing, taught by Colleen Muscha. Colleen is a costume designer and head of the Costume Design MFA program at Florida State University.

3.) Rubberama (silicone caulk techniques on spandex), taught by Janet Bloor. Janet is head of the NYC-based costume studio EuroCo Costume Company and co-author of the book, Rubber: Fun, Fashion, Fetish.

4.) Arashi Shibori, taught by Lori Hartenhoff. Lori is a fiber artist and Costume Director at Northern Illinois U.



First up is Jeff Lieder's screenprinting workshop. He led the group in creating screens for printing using the product EZ Screen, a product that is essentially a screen already impregnated with photoemulsion--we chose images and xeroxed or printed them in stark contrast on regular paper, then exposed them to sunlight for 5 minutes, washing out the excess emulsion and resulting in beautiful, easy, quick printing screens. Saturday, we'll print with them onto fabric, but today we just made the screens themselves. This workshop was mainly in the UNC/PRC costume shop, but also spread out into the greenroom and back parking lot.

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a traditional screen with wood frame and an EZ Screen

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Jeff screenprinted the fabric this costume was made from using EZ Screens

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another shot of the screenprinted garment
(nice distressing on the hem too!)

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doublet made from fabric screenprinted with a brocade pattern

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a screen in the sunlight (the white paper is the design for the screen)

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my screen was the PlayMakers logo!

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everyone's screens laid out to "cure"





Next up was Colleen Muscha's devore and discharge printing. These two processes involve the most dangerous chemicals in the symposium, so this class was conducted in the prop shop area with the loading dock wide open for maximum ventilation. Basically, the process involves screenprinting on the backside of silk/rayon velvet with sodium bisulfate (the burnout/devore solution) and blockprinting on pre-dyed silk using a thiox discharge paste. Since the class was in the dock, i was able to get some cool aerial shots of the process.

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a participant carefully aligns her screen on a length of velvet

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two teams of screenprinters apply the devore paste with squeegees

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two participants pin down lengths of silk for discharge blockprinting

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finished discharge prints

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finished burnout prints





Rubberama was taught in our soft-goods prop shop, this weird little studio on a level of the building that doesn't exist on any map. We applied caulk to various stretched-out spandex fabrics in different patterns, which when cured will create amazing textural effects.

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Janet's sample wall of all the different caulk effects she's invented

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first, we got our caulk-skillz on by making sample designs on paper

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black caulk designs sandwiching two layers of organza together
(clear vinyl serves as the "bread" in this sandwich)

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a participant applies white caulk to stretched-out spandex

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check out my caulk grid

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you can apply foil to your caulk designs as well for metallic effects


I should note that this workshop was perhaps the most hilarious--you can't help but throw around the entendres when everyone's talking about what they are doing with their caulk, how their caulk is dangling and so forth. These samples depicted in the photos need to cure for 24 hours before we can unstretch them and see the finished effects, so i promise i'll post followup pix on Saturday!





Arashi shibori was the last workshop of the day. I've written up a variation on pole-wrapped shibori in here before (using a slightly different wrap/scrunch pattern and using a simmering dyebath instead of a steam-set surface application) so i won't go overboard with the description on this one. Lori gave us a lot of useful info on different dyes and color blending principles, and showed us a TON of lovely examples. I think the pix i took show the process quite well on their own, too:


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a participant wraps her scarf onto a PVC pipe with sturdy poly-cotton rug warp cord

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soaking our pole-wraps, pre-2nd-round-dyeing

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painting on the 2nd round of dye

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makeshift steam chamber for dye setting, in our 60-gal dye vat

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finished samples

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finished samples

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capelet made from arashi shibori cloth


We ended our day with a semi-private event hosted by local fabrics boutique Mulberry Silks, who served a lovely spread of tapas and wines, and offered a 15% discount on all purchases. I saw a lot of folks getting some truly beautiful stuff there, and the food, wow. My favorite: fresh figs and cantaloupe wrapped in thin prosciutto.

And, i'll close out with a big welcome to all my well-met new friends and colleagues from the symposium--i met so many of you today and i'm looking forward to meeting more of you over the next couple days as well! I'm having such a great time sharing this amazing long-weekend with y'all, and having you as guests in "my" shop!

I also want to fling a big public thank-you out there to everyone pitching in from our department, from the delicious catering to the volunteer assistants and coordinators and setup/breakdown folks; i am so proud to be a part of this group of folks, hosting something as educational, safe, and FUN as this symposium! :D

Tomorrow, we'll be touring several area fabric industry facilities, including a place that does custom patterning with a body scanner! I'll blog as much of it as i can--i sure hope they'll let me take photos...

Comments

Such amazing results! Love that coat of words and drawings.