I'm working on my final performance of the Goldsmiths MA at the moment, Ch-ch-ch-changes, and we've been constructing costumes this week. We had a lot of help and advice from the lovely people at Mahogany Arts in Harlesden, as well as use of their workshop for costume construction. There is no way we could have built this stuff otherwise. The octopus is based on a welded backpack with the main support sticking up behind my neck and backwards a couple of inches, allowing me to put a jacket on top. From there there are six long fiberglass rods that bend round and strap round my lower legs. One rod sticks straight up to support the ruff, which has another fiberglass rod bent round its circumference. The ruff was the most difficult bit, and took most of the day to construct - Katie at Mahogany stayed at least three hours later than she was meant to in order to help us finish it. It took 24x1.5 meters of fabric to make the concertinaed shape, which was then bent round and cut to fit my neck into the right place. I should also mention that I spent quite a lot of time just sitting very still modelling the costume while my collaborators Michelle Li and Jeanelle Archer did the hard work.
There are still two more arms to construct - obviously an octopus needs eight - which will be wire, not fiberglass, and strap around my own wrists and elbows. The costume is still missing the right trousers and shirt, and obviously hair and makeup will be somewhat more extravagant. However we're pretty happy with the results of the main construction and we tried it out in the garden today much to the amusement of the Goldsmiths Open Day participants, which happened to coincide.
Not much a of a photography post, but it has photos - we've been making an effort to document our process of making stuff, which is certainly one very useful function of photography.