As pretty much anyone who has been to my site before knows, in an effort to keep my costume design and construction skills sharp, I design and build a group set of costumes for the Texas Renaissance Festival every year. For the past several years, our party claimed Fulshear as home base (e.g. The Fulshear Dragon Riders’ Guild and The Merry Folk of Fulshear). This year, quite suddenly, not one single one of the 7 of us lives in Fulsher! We had to re-locate our group name. The original concept name (provided by our one-woman think-tank, Kristie McLin) was The Fair Folk of Fulshear, but as you can see from the title of this post, we switched it to The Faerie Court of Fair LaPorte. It’s pretty amazing, actually, that it took us four years to get around to being a group of faeries. The progression was—> a group of rangers escorting a bard; dragon riders; a Robin Hood inspired band of noble thieves in a D&D style fantasy world; faeries. Crazy, right? Anyhow, this time around, I made a great big pile of faerie costume concept sketches (in the style of final renderings, but not in color), and passed them around the group, in hopes that everyone would find a faerie from the pile whom they’d like to be. Happily, that was the case, though I would have gone with any idea presented. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Faerie Court of Fair LaPorte:
As faeries tend to be, we are quite the mixed bag! Let’s start with Travis, The Collector:
Travis, The Collector, is a faerie who collects lost things (subsequently using their power to his advantage). This costume, you might notice, has several bits pulled from previous years’ costumes. The bandoleer of collection bits is new, and very elaborate! The shirt and one of the pouches is also new. The under-shirt, pants, and boots are all items that Travis already had in his collection, the stick was a LaPorte found-on-the-ground affair, and the belt sash and several other pieces were pulled from Travis’ dragon rider courier costume. The wings are actually part of the bandoleer! Not only are they sparkly, I suspect they’re black-light reactive ^_^.
Next, we have Spike (modeled by Liam):
Spike is a former tooth faerie who decided that all he really liked about teeth was that some of them were sharp, so he ran off with a bunch of pointy teeth then started to supplement his collection with sharp shells, claws, a very pointy dagger and other similarly sharp thingies. I crafted the horns using sculpey clay, and I made the wig out of a mid-back length pink wig that I cut into a bunch of pieces and re-worked using glue, a shamie rag, and the liberal application of heat (this works well when trying to get plastic to bend to your will). The belt is festooned with sharp objects, including a gold dagger (most silver-colored metals cause faeries harm!) that started out as my dragon rider dagger a couple years back. I re-embellished the piece and painted it gold for this year. The pouch, dagger strap, and gauntlets are made of the same material as Raggedy Anise’s wings (to be shown later in this post), and I used that same material to re-size Liam’s boot caps (originally from the ranger costume year. They were Oona’s boot caps for the Robbin Hood year, too, come to think of it) for his now much larger foot size. The shirt was a Good Will acquisition from long ago that a former roommate of mine left behind in our apartment when she left Honolulu. It’s Liam’s, now! Finally, the backpack contains the outer-wear I made for both kiddoes on our dragon rider year, and this year it was finally cold enough for both of them to need them when it got dark! I was glad they finally saw use, but they were quite the wrong color scheme for this year’s costumes 0_0. Ah, well.
On to Daisy the Garden Faerie (modeled by Oona):
Daisy the Garden Faerie (Oona changed the name from the original, which was just plain ol’ “Daisy”) is a faerie who loves flowers and uses flowers in her magic! Her wings are daisy petals, and so is her skirt and her little purse (all made out of the same very stylish brocade). The headdress is actually a mask, but it wasn’t very practically sized for her little face, when all was said and done. It is made of feathers and plastic daisies (the same plastic daisies with which I embellished the wings). The green shirt and the scarf I used as her wing harness were both purchased at the 99 Cents Only Store in Atascocita. I was going for a flower-being-held-upside-down sort of look, with stem up top and flower drooping down. As a point of interest: I built the skirt so that it can be easily re-sized, and she should be able to wear it well into her teens, should she choose to do so.
Next, we have Spider Silk (modeled by Kristie):
Spider Silk, as you almost certainly already guessed, is a faerie with a strong spider affinity. Her wings are delicate webs of silver, and her dress is draped and gathered with webs of silver and black. The dress also has silver-web inserts at the front and back that flare when she walks, showing off her web-looking fishnet stockings, but I somehow didn’t manage to get a picture that captured that feature well. I embellished the mask with that silver web and black paint, and she decorated the skin of her hands with black eyeliner webs. I embroidered the purse I built for this costume with a web design on both sides. If you look closely, there’s also a little spider ^_^. The harness for the wings is a spider and web patterned scarf I purchased at a halloween store, and the little gem spider rings that are decorating Spider Silk’s hand and hair were purchased at the same 99 Cents Only Store as Daisy’s shirt and scarf. Halloween season is very convenient for this sort of thing!
Next we have Raven (on Ryan):
This faerie is pretty self explanatory! He’s a faerie raven or a raven faerie, or quite possibly both. The boot caps for this costume are actually the boot caps from I made for last year’s costume, but I bought some good, black acrylic paint and changed them from hunter green boot caps to black boot caps. The mask is made of plastic, sequins, paint, and foam-board with black goose feather accents. The cap is wool felt, and I purchased it on Amazon, subsequently re-shaping it a bit and adding a feather plume accent on the side. I altered a pre-made crushed velvet cape (intended for vampire costumes, according to the packaging!) so that the collar turned down over a bunch of willy-nilly protruding black goose feathers, and I turned a button up shirt into a lace-up shirt with scissors and a grommet machine. The belt-pouch, I made from the same material as Spike’s accessories and Raggedy Anise’s wings, with a feathery-looking faux-fur closing flap. I think Ryan wore it really well!
Next up is Breeze, the Wind Fae (modeled by Alaina):
In several cultures, fox spirits have control of the sky and the weather, so Breeze has fuzzy fox ears (I used floral wire as a frame when I built the ears, so they’re fully pose-able) to compliment her feather hair ornaments and feathered mask . Otherwise, she basically wears the wind, which I represented with two shiny, translucent cloth drapes over a long shirt that features complimentary lines that suggest movement. Note: much like Raven, she does not have wings, but both she and Raven can most certainly fly!
Finally, I present the costume I built for myself! Raggedy Anise:
Raggedy Anise is the kind of faerie who is a mix of many things, most of them dangerous, though she is unlikely to harm you unless you do something to get on her bad side (of course, if we’re realistic about this, she’s a faerie, so that isn’t entirely difficult to do). I made the horns from sculpey clay and the wings from floral wire and sort of alligator-skin-ish pattern black and gold fabric. I designed the wings so that they can be either at rest or unfurled, and they provided some great sun shade during the hot part of the day! The cloth bits that make up the skirt are all from my scrap bin, and I left the raggedy and frayed edges at the bottom for that raggedy look. This is actually the third time I’ve revisited the bodice I used. I built it for my ranger costume that first Ren Fest year (though I wore it for Halloween, not the actual Ren Fest, at which I wore my bard costume) and re-worked it for last year’s Robin Hood look. I left it in Robin Hood mode this year and simply added the wings and unfurling mechanism. The boots, I embellished for last year’s costume, but what makes them special to this year’s costume is that the McLin family dog chewed a great big hole in the back of one of them, and I had to patch it up! The fact that the boots are now old and very well-worn, as well as patched, made them ideal for this particular costume. Both the belt pouch and the purse are from last year’s costume, as well. What is probably the most special part of this costume is the walking stick, which I found on Sylvan Beach after a particularly violent storm earlier this year. Driftwood is just so darn cool, and it was a truly special find! It’s also surprisingly lightweight.
So, there you have it! It’s nice that I can pull bits from previous years’ costumes, especially since Alaina moved to town and increased our number ^_^. It was a good year, and we all had a great time. We also looked really cool, right? What do you think the odds are that I can top these four years next year? Join us next time for Ren Fest 2016, and find out! – E.G.D.
Well, would you look at that? It’s that time of year again already! San Jacinto College Central is in technical rehearsal for Spamalot, a rip-roaring fun musical comedy of Arthurian epic proportions! The show opens this coming Friday and runs two weekends. As has been the norm for the past couple years, I am serving as the Music Director for the show, and I can personally vouch for the sheer fun and energy of this group’s performance. I’ve seen the show a good many times over the past couple months of rehearsal, and I still laugh out loud every time I see it! That’s a pretty good endorsement, right? For more details, you can visit this article: http://www.sanjac.edu/article/%E2%80%98spamalot%E2%80%99-features-humor-singing-dancing-romance-action or this video https://www.facebook.com/jerry.ivins/videos/10153022516162610/
I hope to see you there! -E.G.D.
Woooooosh! That’s the sound of my summer zooming past me and careening into the fall semester. I was fortunate in having the max course load for an adjunct professor at Lone Star College Atascocita Center this summer, and Mad Science filled in the gaps, so my summer was quite busy. Now, it’s back to the regular school year after only a week of being down to one job plus curriculum building and staff meetings (I called it summer vacation ^_^). It’s looking to be a red letter semester, as far as enrollment is concerned. As of right now, I have well over a hundred students between the six class units I’ll be teaching at Lone Star and San Jacinto. At San Jacinto Central, we’re starting right into the rehearsal process for Spamalot with open auditions Tuesday 8/25 and Wednesday 8/26, and I will again be serving as the music director. That’s going to be a rip-roaring romp of a show with a gigantic cast, and the show is jam-packed with song and dance numbers, so it’ll be an awesome and challenging artistic project.
In other news, my younger sister the professional flutist has moved into my largest spare room with her two tiny pooches and her gigantic collection of flute music (seriously, she has boxes and boxes and boxes of it), and she’s looking into starting up a flute studio, so if anyone out there on the east side of the Houston metropolitan area is looking for a really stellar teacher for private flute lessons who has an amazing history of professional symphony and ensemble experience, let me know.
Can anyone out there believe that it’s time for the fall semester already? Man, time sure does fly. Keep an eye out here for updates on Spamalot, this year’s Ren Fest costume project, and much more. WOOOOOSH! -E.G.D.
Just yesterday, I had a delightful conversation with a woman who was thinking about taking one of my classes at LSC-AC. She said, in a nutshell, that I wasn’t on Rate My Professor, but she’d gone looking for me and wandered onto this website. She is probably going to register for the class in the Fall.
This may seem strange for some readers, but this is my professional website. As an artist with multiple jobs and several different varieties of freelancing on my plate, I can take a good many liberties in what I call professional for the purposes of this site. At “Worlds of Words,” I like to post only about things I do that pertain directly to my artistic skills or that have to do with events in which I have played an artistic role. In practical application, this means that I have a fantastic mish-mosh of graphic art, theatrical event notices, music composition, costume design photos, fiction publication notices, and rambling discussions of my teaching schedules and rehearsal processes. I may or may not be trying to reach too many different professional audiences here.
However, I feel I must be doing something right, because a Lone Star student found me, liked my Ren Fest costume designs, and is now probably going to take one of my classes.
Mission accomplished! And hey, while we’re at it, is anyone looking for the services of an actor/director/designer/writer/musician/composer/martial artist/graphic and website designer/theatre professor who is also a certified barista and is trained in scuba diving and multiple forms of international dance? Never hurts to ask- E.G.D.
As anyone who wanders onto my site is likely to figure out very quickly: I pounce on nearly any opportunity to design and build a costume. Well, one of my friends purchased tickets to a live performance of Welcome to Night Vale here in town, and he gave me one for my birthday (yes, way back in January). The performance is this Friday night, and I am going in costume as an agent from a “vague, yet menacing government agency” (anyone who listens to Night Vale knows what I’m talking about ^_^). The only really complicated bit I decided I wanted for this costume design was the prop badge, and I think it turned out quite well, so I decided to share it with the world:
I couldn’t get the lighting for the picture right because the badge is metallic, and I must say it looks better in person, but this picture is a close enough representation of the piece. I made the badge out of a toy that I purchased at the Dollar Tree with epoxy jewelry clay and silver and black sharpie markers. Trust me, those of you who aren’t Night Vale fans, the campiness of the certification ID at the top is intended and appropriate, as are the creepy eyes I drew in the little stars. I’ll get some pictures of me in the full costume tomorrow night! I expect I’ll even be recognized for once ^_^. Bwahahaha- E.G.D.
Update 4/13: F. Travis Riley took these, with the exception of the one he’s in, which was taken by a nice lady standing outside the theatre after the show (I didn’t get her name).
I totally dropped the ball, here~! San Jacinto College Central presented A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum last month, and I didn’t post an announcement 0_o. Oops! In my defense, I’ve been busy like crazy. I’ve got 5 3-credit classes this semester (more than 70 midterms to grade last week! With essay questions~! It was an adventure), I bought a house (actually during the rehearsal process for A Funny Thing), I was required to take a 6-week online course about teaching online courses that ate my already scant free time for breakfast, and I’m still doing shows pretty regularly for Mad Science of Houston.
And so, WOOSH! It’s March. How on Earth did that happen? I’ll try not to miss future show-notices, and I hope you’ll excuse my lapse. Aaaand I need to run and teach a class now… WOOSH! -E.G.D.
So, I spent a day rocking Finale Notepad, and I wrote the opening song for my proposed new musical. It’s an understated solo, like “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” rather than a production number like “Belle,” “The Happiest Town in Town,” or “Little Shop of Horrors,” and I sort of went for a distant echo of “I’m Just a Bill” (the song has a similar rhythm). This is the only straight-up spoof/parody song I’m planning.
The lyrics are as follows:
I’m a degree.
You can bet you’ll need me
To get ahead in modern society.
High School, you get a diploma,
And sometimes that’s enough.
But in modern times
Finding the right job can be tough.
Yeah, for most people, that means GET A DEGREE!
Or maybe two or three, if you find
That you want a job using your mind.
(Light up on students in the dorm building lounge.)
Student 1: Hey, I could write novels without a degree, and you only need an Associates if you want to be a Licensed Practical Nurse. You can be a schoolteacher with just a BA and a teaching certification.
Degree: You have a valid point, but I’m afraid that if you want to be a medical doctor, a professor, a lawyer, or even an engineer or a scientist in the higher paying jobs, you’re going to need at least two degrees, and even if you have two, you’ll have a hard time competing with the people who have three. Employers really trust me when I tell them that someone is an expert in their field.
Student 2: Yeah, but watch out! If you list a master’s degree on an application for a lot of jobs, they’ll label you “over qualified,” and that can be a real deal breaker.
Student 1: A bachelor’s degree should be enough for me. I’m an actor.
Degree: You’re probably right. There are a good number of professions for which a Bachelor’s is useful and higher degrees aren’t really necessary. Still, more than 40% of Americans over the age of 25 have degrees. Not having at least one could really put you at a job-finding disadvantage.
I’m a degree,
And I hope you can see
That the way the cards are stacked recently
I can give you the advantage
When you try to advance.
In work, life, finance,
Come on, give yourself a chance!
You can go farther if you get a degree.
So come on, go to college. You’ll see
That with me, you’re in great company.
I know the recording quality is low (my recording equipment is in storage at the moment), but I hope you enjoy it, anyway! I expect more is forthcoming ^_^ -E.G.D.