With everything that's been going on I just realised how long its been since I updated my blog!
I have been working with Grist to the Mill again, the wonderful Lymington company, as they asked me to design and make the costume for their latest one man show - Renfield: In the Shadow of the Vampire. After being sent a concept image and discussing ideas online, I got to work designing and sourcing fabric. The concept is that Renfield, the minion of Dracula, is insane and not cared for not even by himself, with slight undertones of Tim Burton in the look. He is therefore very dirty and ragged, still wearing his asylum/prison uniform that was not in any way made for him so ill-fitting.
The fabric I found was a wool blend, which took dye and fabric paint wonderfully. For this costume, after my design was approved, I got to do a wonderful amount of dye and fabric paint experimentation.
I found that a black spray paint gave the ragged appearance I wanted, and once it was washed it looked less stark and also the 'dirtying' showed up better. Shredding the hems and working into them with black acrylic showed up the breaking down well, as did adding some strategic holes at the elbows and knee areas of the costume. The buttons were a lucky find and added that final touch, very Tim Burtonesque.
The final part of the costume was that as a base layer is a pair of long johns they already had so I spent an evening using a combination of peppermint tea and black acrylic with a bit of ordinary tea at various points to 'grub up' the long johns with strategic staining. I found the peppermint tea gave a better brown staining for this particular costume as the ordinary tea was a bit too much of a warm brown stain whereas I wanted one that was a bit more of a green/grey.
The costume thankfully got its debut at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia before the Corona Virus restrictions were brought in! I am awaiting production photos but here is a photo of it in the Grist to the Mill costume store before the final stage of breaking down (the last of the breaking down on the cuffs and hems, and the 'grubbing' of the long johns) two days before they left for Adelaide. The hat was a last minute addition of the writer/performer Ross Ericson.