The Birds by Aristophanes designed by Teresa Przybylski was a project that I had a lot of fun doing.
Teresa is a wonderfully creative designer and teacher and I had worked with her on a few other projects before this one. The show was great.
As you can see from the sketch, we were making what I called "bird cages" for the actors to wear. These were a couple of the more complex pieces.
The structures were made out of rigilene and nylon webbing. The rigilene is dyable (who knew?) so we had what seemed like miles of it and the webbing dyed in preparation.
Estimating how much rigilene we needed for the project was it's own challenge!
For rigidity we then stitched the rigilene double so we could be guaranteed that it would hold its shape through the production.
There were some challenges along the way- one was how to hold some of the shapes together while working it out- rigilene is not pinable to itself and less so if it is double thickness, so we had to come up with a technique involving bull dog clips, masking tape and twill tape.
Rigilene has a natural circular tendency, so I worked with that by trying to use circular forms for the main structures, clip or tape them together to try out the proportions, then hang or pin them them on the stand so I could stand back and have a look. The pieces that rested against the body were probably the easiest to deal with and the free form floating shapes more difficult.
If it looked good, we would stitch it together in components at the machine, then we would re clip it and hang it up again, have another look with the designer, take it apart if it didn't look right and continue on until we had our final shapes.
Then it all had to be put together as a whole and I think that is what gives Denise the shivers- trying to mark the placement of each intersecting component and then wrangle it to the sewing machine where it felt as though you were sewing inside out and backwards while standing on your head to get it under the needle.