Friday, March 29, 2013

The Great Hole of History

I've been working and building like crazy these past two weeks.  Plays and Players, where I am the technical director, has a show going into tech this weekend.  My intern, Rachel and I have been building and painting and hanging set pieces in the studio space. 

We have to build a giant hole in the floor so to do that in our 3rd floor space we must build up to go down.  Above you can see that we've placed what looks like stud walls along the floor.  These are gates which form the skeleton of the deck we are building. 

Here is the replica of the Great Hole of History.  We've placed fabric in the hole and put the deck boards in place.  Our designer wanted a rough hew look to the deck so I used 10" barn board to get the effect.

We painted the deck last night.  To get the affect of older hard wood we sprayed the boards down with water then Danielle (the Asst. SD) and I used two different colors of brown that we had watered down to about a 50/50 ratio.  We applied it with brushes and placed the paint next to each other in a random pattern.  Then Colin, the set designer used an old mop that we found to drag the colors over the boards to blend and distribute the paint over the deck.  We decided that the mop is a very useful painting tool.  That night Colin pointed out that a super soaker would come in handy when painting a set.  I told him that I may just have to get one.  

Tomorrow is the first day of tech and dirt.  More on the dirt next time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring is in the Air

The weather in Philly has been amazing.  Ok maybe not super awesome amazing, but it has been nice, well except for yesterday when it rained all day long.  For real though March has been anything but a lion and has been mild and even warm.  It has tricked everything into growing.  

Simon and I spent our Saturday walking all over the city.  It was too nice to stay in.  The sun was out and some crocuses were trying to push their way up between dead leaves and cold soil. 

My great grandmother who was alive while I was young use to say that once the crocuses sprouted it had to snow on them three times before spring would stay around.  I know this is an old wives tale, but I love the idea of using the first spring flowers as a why to predict how close spring is.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sweaters and Sequence

I took an old loved sweater and gave it new life by adding a sequence detail to the neck line.  It was a great way to fix a few problems and update a most beloved sweater.

I love this sweater.  It was my first cashmere sweater ever, but it has seen better days.  This poor sweater has been through the washer and dryer (Simon didn't realize you can't machine wash and dry cashmere) but although is was treated roughly it came out in pretty good shape.  It didn't felt and it still fit although the little bit of room in the sweater was gone.  I attribute the sweater making it through its traumatic washing and dying to the fact that we wash everything on cold and gentle and dry everything on low.  The sweater had also gotten snagged on something the last time I wore it and there is a small hole near the neckline on the right side.
This has been sitting in my pile of projects to do.  I had some down time this week and figured that I should get going and finish this before the weather got too warm for a cashmere sweater.  

Here's the hole I was talking about.  My idea for this sweater came about as a way to fix and hide the hole.  My favorite fabric store was having a sale on sequence back in the fall and I bought some metallic and teal sequence with this project in mind. 

Teal and bronze are the colors I picked and as you can tell from the top photo I used mostly teal sequence.  I like the look of the teal sequence glinting on the teal sweater.  

First things first.  I decided to go ahead and mend the hole before I started to attach the sequence.  I figured it was best to hide the weird blip the mending left in the sweater with a sequence than to just cover the hole with one.  

The mending isn't anything fancy.  Just a few quick stitches to pull the hole closed.  I did weave the thread through a few stitches like you would if you were grafting in knitting or weaving your ends in at the end of a project.  

I started by covering the blip and then continued up the side of the neckline to the shoulder seam.  I attached my sequence closer and closer to each other as I got to the top of the shoulder to make it look as though the sequence were trickling down the sweater.  It took two passes of attaching sequence to get the desired affect.  

A quick note.  Attaching individual sequence is time consuming, but there is something meditative about it and the end result is worth the time.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lighting Design, Self: Same

On of my favorite things, and one of the jobs I long and dream about is lighting design for theatre.  I use to do a show here and there, but in I haven't designed since 2009.  Wow, I actually didn't realize that my last design was that long ago.

I was lucky enough to have a directing student at one of the local schools here in Philly ask me to work on their senior project and I accepted.  Her project was a new work by an Irish play write who she met while she studied abroad for a semester.  The show is called Self: Same, it's a monologue play with three characters that takes place in two different bars one in America and one in Ireland.  I am really excited to get back to lighting design, it is perhaps one of my favorite things to do (next to knitting).  Here are some shots from the show.

Photos by Brey Ann Barrett
This show has gotten me excited about design again and I am itching to do some more.  I hope this will open up some doors to other design opportunities.  I also loved working with Brey the director and hope that we can work together again in the future.   

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Opening Night Dress

I have an opening night coming up and this usually means I sew a dress.  Lately, with my schedule being what it is, this means that I am frantically sewing a hem about an hour before curtain.  This time around I have a few hours to actually sew something more than a sheath dress.  I'm going to aim for the middle ground and pick a simple yet tailored dress.

The first coffee date dress I sewed
I'm going to sew another coffee date dress.  I made one about two and a half years ago and think that I can whip one up in an afternoon.  I am however going to sew one with out the front ruffle and in a printed fabric that I've had for ages.  

Wish me luck!  Hopefully I will have it done long before Saturday night!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No Longer the Intern

320 masonite floor tiles. 
Remember when I was all stoked to be the Production Intern at Theatre Exile?  You remember I posted about my life as an intern.  I know it was mentioned in a recent post, but I am no longer the intern, but was hired to be the Assistant Production Manager for Theatre Exile's up coming production of The North Plan.  This week is load in week which means I have been and will be busy busy busy building a set, painting a set, focusing some lights and all anything else that Paul (he's the Production Manager) needs me to do.

One of the big projects for this show that I helped with was making a tiled floor.  Because of time and budget we couldn't get real tile for the stage and instead made our own tiles out of painted Masonite   Our painter Sherri painted the sheets of maso and then I cut them down into 1'x1' squares.  Sadly I kept track and after 3 hours off ripping and chopping I had 320 square tiles and a ton of maso dust.  Note to anyone who is going to cut maso, it makes a huge mess.

I was also in charge of installing the floor, so I feel I am an expert on laying maso floor tiles down.  This project has also solidified my love for the narrow crown stapler.  Next up on the load in schedule walls.

Did I mention that there are cages in this show?  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On My Block

I live across from a park that takes up a whole city block and sometimes the chain link fence gets decorated.  This so far has been my favorite and most interesting "graffiti".  I was lucky enough to notice it on a bright clear day.