Well, I did it again. I went crazy designing and constructing costumes for the Texas Renaissance Festival. This year, the group (my elder sister, my niece, my nephew, a friend, and myself) went as the Fulshear Dragon Riders’ Guild. Back when I started the design phase, I asked each person, “if you were a dragon rider, what would your job be?” As for me, I said I would “drive” the dragon ambulance and be, basically, a fantasy Renaissance first-responder. This is the costume I made myself:
As you can see, due to the nature of my dragon rider job, I have quite a lot of storage associated with my costume. I actually had a wooden box (that I stained by hand with tea, incidentally) that contained a full sewing kit and first aid kit, which I tucked into the burgundy pouch on my belt along with a hand-sewn wallet fashioned from the same fake-black-alligator pattern fabric as the front of my costume vest and my secondary belt pouch. The boot-daggers I embellished by hand, as I did with all the weapons for last year’s Ren Fest. This costume’s daggers are not really weapons as such, but are more intended as tools in case I need to cut a person in need free from a stirrup or some-such obstruction. The large bag was a super-last-minute addition I crafted the night before… when I realized I didn’t have any suitably sized bag for my rather large camera or for the fake-fur half-cape I made for evening outer-wear (and oh, it did get awfully chilly! I was glad I made that cape… though I just realized I didn’t take any pictures in the late evening when I was wearing it…). In any case, the end result of my excessive accessorizing was that I was ready to save the day, keep myself warm, take pictures, and stow away purchases with ease and comfort. This is among the most comfortable costumes I think I have ever made for myself.
Moving on, though, my friend Travis said that he would be a long-distance courier, because it would be an excuse to travel and an excuse to not work very hard. This is what I came up with for him:
I made the sash buckle by hand out of an epoxy jewelry clay and silver-finish fleur-de-lis buttons. He bought the boots from a cobbler at the actual Ren Fest, incidentally, and I think they made for a quite classy finishing touch! The chain on his wrist held his guild issued dragon riding license (a metal signet-seal monogram of the first letter of his last name. We each had one, though the other four of us wore ours as necklaces).
My nephew Liam said that he would be the dragon riding equivalent of the bookmobile. “My dragon likes to read, and we’re librarians,” he told me, so this was his costume:
As you can see, he had a sizable book bag. His vest is the boy version of the one I designed for myself, and the book bag actually contains a knee-length, hunter-green, wool-and-polyester felt cloak I made him for evening outerwear. To my mild chagrin, he didn’t wear the cloak, even when it got cold in the evening, so even if I had bothered to take pictures of us all that night, I wouldn’t have a proper picture of it 0_o. I made the straps of the book bag so that they could double in length with the adjustment of four buttons, because I assumed he’d get sick of lugging stuff around and we adults would have to carry it, but he really did carry it around for most of the day all by himself. The cape I made his sister is in the bag, too, as he kindly agreed to carry it for her.
When I asked my niece, Oona, what her dragon riding job was, she looked at me with the utmost seriousness and said, “I am very, very gentle with the baby dragons. I’m really gentle with them, and I give them treats.” I was especially excited to design a dragon rider costume for someone who works in a dragon nursery, because I never would have thought of any such thing on my own. It’s the perfect job for Oona! Here’s the costume:
The pouch on her sash belt is expressly for the purpose of storing dragon treats!
My elder sister, Kristie, was not immediately sure what her dragon rider job would be, but from the materials we chose for her costume, she knew she was from a wealthy family. What she ultimately decided was that she was a dragon riding instructor. I, as the designer, decided that she probably did some dragon racing in her free time, and the end result was this:
Sturdy , comfortable, stylish, and free-moving was the name of the game. The bodice is based loosely on European bodices of the middle 1600s, and the trousers are Japanese hakama. I used fancy gold-colored laces, stylish brocade, and metallic gold canvas, along with some almond-colored vinyl pleather. Tucked under her arm is my best winter cloak, which I bought at an art fair in New Mexico when I was a teenager (I didn’t make it, but it matched so perfectly, I didn’t have to!). The pouches hanging from her belt are gold velvet and almond vinyl with polished coin buttons, respectively. I hand crafted the flight goggles out of two glass flashlight lenses, mason jar lids, unused automotive parts from a gasket replacement kit I bought earlier this year, gold canvas, brass grommets, a very old nickle buckle, a shoelace, and some more of that almond vinyl. I hand-made the bracelet/ring combo on her left hand using brass chain, several connector pendants, a fashionable toggle, and my gerber multi-tool.
Here are a couple of cool action shots and a heartwarming family picture to wrap up the display:
We all had a truly wonderful time running around the Texas Ren Fest this year, and in the end, I have to say that all the long hours at the sewing machine were 100% worth it. We looked great, we were comfortable, and I had loaded us all down with enough pouches, purses, satchels, and book bags that we still looked authentic once we started buying souvenirs. Really, the project paid off in fun. I can’t wait to see what we wind up going as next year! -E.G.D.
Hi, everyone! Now, I’ve been on TV before, but I’ll admit, the only other time I’ve been on TV in the USA was when I was a kid. I was on TV a couple of times when I was living in Japan, in large part because foreigners are interesting to the Japanese public, especially when they enjoy ikebana, know how to tie an obi, and look cute in a yukata. Yesterday, I officially made my adult TV debut in the good ol’ USA on behalf of Mad Science of Houston. For those of you who don’t know me on sight, I am “Seismic Susanna,” the blonde woman in the bright green lab coat.
Isn’t that fun? I hope you enjoyed my television appearance, and if you happen to be in the Houston area, don’t forget to look up Mad Science of Houston! I do shows all over town: for schools, for birthday parties, for boy scout events, for public libraries, for IKEA’s spring break events, for Chick-Fil-A family nights… really, do you even need a reason to have a little science in your day?
Thanks for dropping by, and have a great day- E.G.D.
It is getting close to opening night for Bullets for Broadway at the Artista, so I thought it would be a good time to share the link to the restaurant’s web add for the show:
Hope to see you there! -E.G.D.
Well, this is new! Not only is my show (“Up, Up and Away“) with Mad Science going brilliantly well, but I’ve just been cast into my first dinner theatre role. The show is called Bullets for Broadway, and it will be opening in the Houston theatre district in April. I’ll be playing Mimi Sheraton. If I’m remembering this correctly from auditions, she’s a wealthy gossip columnist and a thoroughly amusing character. Anyhow, I expect I’ll be posting details later, but so far it’s looking like 2013 is a good year for me and acting ^_^. Wheeeeeee! -E.G.D.
I have been so intensely focused on applying to teach collegiate theatre courses lately that it slipped my mind that I am immensely qualified to tutor and coach acting. I taught theatre 101 during graduate school. I have directed shows peopled entirely by people who considered themselves non-actors, as well as shows with young actors and new actors. I am experienced in directing and/or critiquing the work of experienced old-hat actors in a way most assure me they find useful. I have an arsenal of voice and movement techniques that has earned me a reputation as a cast-commodity, and I have many times been called upon by a director to run cast warmup routines (primarily due to my Linklater training). I am adept with dialect breakdowns and analysis, and I have the full skill set of a dialect coach (complete with IPA). I am a successful actor with two acting degrees. One of them is the terminal degree for an actor. Heck, why not? Until that professorship rolls around, I should probably keep flexing my teacher muscles! Is anyone out there in the Houston area looking for an acting coach? Please don’t hesitate to let me know! -E.G.D.
As I hope you can tell from this website, I am a pretty competent web-builder and graphic designer. Today, my mom pointed out the fact that wordpress has taken note of this, too! I built (and still webmaster) my mother’s website Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches, and wordpress apparently is using the site as an example of how well the Andreas09 template can be used… with about 18 hours worth of CSS manipulation, a good logo, and a seriously awesome photo or twenty. Part of me is flattered (they refer to the website as “gorgeous,” after all) and the other part of me is a bit irked that they’re trying to sell their extremely cumbersome CSS customizable option (yes, my Mom paid extra for the option, and no they won’t let me alter simple html instead) using my work. I mean, sheesh, I frankly could have built the site from the ground up faster than I could get the site to look the way I wanted it to using CSS, except for that the wordpress server wouldn’t have supported it. Still, it feels pretty cool that someone out there recognizes my work as worth using as an example. If anything, I’m good at problem solving, and I can wrestle with a pre-existing system until I get my own way with it. In any case, please enjoy this shameless plug for my graphic design abilities and my mom’s website. If you click the logo, it’ll take you straight there! Have a great day- E.G.D.