Wimbledon College of Art and more Fabric Shopping..

It’s official, I’m a broke student again.

Today I went to Wimbledon College of art for a tour and to get to know the course(s) I am interested in. Those two courses being the ‘BA (Hons) Theatre & Screen: Costume Interpretation’ and ‘BA (Hons) Theatre & Screen: Costume Design’. First and foremost I am most interested in the Costume Interpretation course which like the other course runs for three years. In this course you ‘study the historical and social context of the evolution of costume in Western Europe through independent research’. And because of my love for historical costumes I find that course to be the most accurate to my long term goals in the costume making industry.

The location is lovely as its just far enough out of London that you don’t get the huge amount of people and constant smog but still close enough to central London that it still feels apart of London, not to mention its got a 15 minute walk to the tube which will take you to central London in just under half and hour (on a good service!)
The College its self has amazing facilities such as a fabric dying room that’s also a screen printing room. A small room for first year students to plan and design and then a much larger room for 2nd and 3rd year students to do the same. The sewing facilities are standard with relatively new sewing machines and I believe I saw over-lockers however I’m not sure. Many different dress forms and all shapes and sizes. To my understanding every 2nd and 3rd year student got their own desk and machine to work with as well as a safe to keep their belongings in while away, where 1st year students were left to use the main tables (each had a machine to it) set up like a classroom’s textiles class. In first year, students in the Costume Interpretation course will study and make corsets, make a petticoat and a bum roll.
Overall I really enjoyed my tour of the College, I asked loads of questions and all of them were answered. I got more information about how to put together a portfolio showcasing costumes. The basic concept of a portfolio for an arts school is to obviously show all of your work finished or unfinished. They want to see you fail! You should be able to confidently talk about your costumes, what worked and what didn’t. How did you overcome these situations did you have to alter original ideas and concepts to get you where you are? Ideally they want people who can confidently talk about their costumes and go into in depth discussions about their work, that work of course being to a high standard (this applies to finished costumes I believe un-finished costumes will be more easy going!) Drawings of original designs and of those costumes you are working on are great to add to your portfolio. Fabric samples paired with the costumes that were used for is also a great idea as whoever is looking at your portfolio will be able to tell how hard it was to work with such a fabric/material and judge how much skill was needed to produce an outcome of that standard with such a material (Some fabrics are harder to work with than others so they will make a judgement based on how well you did with that material and the skills used to manipulate it into your costume). And finally they want students with passion!!


And on my second trip to Goldhawk fabrics my grandmother helped pay for me~

3 and a half meters of Satin
dress fabric

And one meter of ornate lace~

These fabrics are of course for my Costume based off the painting Ophelia by Georges-Jules-Victor Clairin (I’ve nicknamed it Ophelia in Blue to avoid confusion with Sir John Everett Millais’s famous painting)
336px-Clairin_-_Ophelia
The main blue fabric is for the dress which I have decided not to line. The lace is for the sleeves which start just above the elbow.
The dress has little to no shape to it apart from the balloon sleeves (Its the best description I can give and its pretty accurate!). Rather than making a secondary garment to go under the dress to produce the sleeves I decided I will end the sleeves above the elbow with a band at which the end of the ‘balloon’ will be gathered. I’ll make the sleeves slightly longer than that so they will have an ‘over-flow’ effect as seen in the painting which in theory will hide the band and the beginning of the lace.  The bottom half of the sleeves (from elbow down) will be made from the lace. Which I really want to finish with a french seam and a slight bit of gathering to give the lace that cup look around the hand seen in the painting.
I’m hoping to make the headdress from thin craft wire and then cover it with Autumn leaves as well as make some vines to curl down the dress from wire and leaves as well.
Ideally this costume will have a photo shoot in Autumn hopefully late May so I can have the orange and some green leaves in the back drop of photos. These are New Zealand seasons keep in mind!


And that was today’s journey into London! Tomorrow I’m heading to the Warner Brothers studio in Watford aka the Harry Potter Studios! This is my second time going and I’ve seen that there are many more exhibits and displays on since I was there two years ago. I can confidently say I have acquired all the fabric I need for my next projects minus the lining materials for dresses, corset, body suit and eventual cape for Celaena which I have decided will be safer to buy in NZ rather than risking my luggage weight for the trip back home anymore. No more fabric shopping or I’ll be in debt!

Thank you for reading
-Nivera

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