As I near the end of my program at Rutgers I have been thinking about how to move all my belongings. More recently I found out I will be leaving my current home sooner than I had planned, so the theoretical idea has become much more tangible.
Moving my everyday things isn't the hassle right now (it will be); it is moving all my costume design reference books, art supplies, and past projects. I am not a hoarder, but I find it very difficult to give up certain things especially if I put time and creative effort into them. As we speak I have all my sketches in a VERY large rolling tub under my bed and most of my costuming books in a roughly 18 x 18 box. So what is the problem you ask? Well, that is not taking into account all my art supplies currently living happily in my office at school. This is also not taking into account how heavy those two boxes are. Moving requires you to carry your things and I am not looking forward to carrying those boxes!
But what can I do to make moving easier? The better question is what could I have DONE to make moving easier. Most solutions are preemptive ones. Something I have been doing over the past few years is scanning all my art work. Now, this is great if you use conventional sized media as well as flat media. If your design requires glitter, texture, or is on a large piece of media, you may be rethinking scanning. I tend to use a medium sized paper common from most art stores, and that size is too big for even most office and school scanners. I have gone to specialty stores, but if there is any texture to the artwork they will not scan it as it can ruin their equipment! Yikes! Luckily I have pretty passable Photoshop skills and can piece together a multi-scan of an image so my digital library of work is up to date. I'm just very sentimental so I keep most of my original works as well.
But my books! Besides being heavy, it would take too long to scan them. I could have bought a digital copy in the first place, but I have a thing for physically turning pages. I also own a few vintage books that a cherish and wouldn't want to part with. So what is a costume designer to do?! The best thing I have found to do is go to the gym and build those muscles AND to pair down your collection. If you aren't showing the work on your portfolio site, or it doesn't bring you joy, give it away or trash it (some relatives would love your work as framed presents.....). If you don't do many 1930's shows maybe sell those books to a used bookstore or donate them to a library you go to.
Finally, rendering supplies...those things just multiply! Sometimes you use only one color in a set or you move on to a different media. Again, donate those to a local school, art camp, etc. Put a blast out on Facebook to see if any other artists want to try a new brand or media for cheap. Another cool thing to do is challenge yourself to only use what you have...you could come up with an amazing design because all you had were green shades of paint and hot pink colored pencils (you never know!).
So, for all of you packing or unpacking boxes starting a new journey, good luck! I am joining you a little sooner that I had planned. Do any of you want some art supplies? :)
I have written articles about color theory and our associations with color on my blog before, but what about the lesser know side of color? It's darker, more menacing side? My first exposure into killer color was when a friend of mine mentioned that the bright green in women's dresses popular in the early part of the 20th century killed some who wore them. Ever since then, learning about fashion that killed has been a side hobby of mine.
From the drowning hazards of wool bathing costumes, to the flammability of crinolines, fashion throughout history has had a grudge against those who have worn it. Clothing was dangerous. The color you chose for your frock was also a deadly decision. That green I mentioned; it was made of arsenic and could make the wearer very ill or worse.
There have been others interested in the history of killer garments as well such as Alison Matthews David, who co-curated a museum exhibit in Canada (that closed June 2016) called Fashion Victims. There is also a book out by the same name by David that delves into all sorts of horrific fashion death traps. In the chapter about poisonous pigments an anecdote about the testing of a green dress for the Fashion Victims exhibition is shared. Was there enough arsenic in the dyed emerald dress to kill a lady? Had the passage of time lessened the effects of the dresses killer qualities? If it didn't kill, it was definitely harming those who's skin came into contact with it. In the 19th century professionals considered arsenic an irritant poison. It produced sores and scabs. Even if you weren't dying from your fashion choices, they were making you feel and look hideous; much like the white lead face powder and paint from the 16th century. (More on that another time)
I thought I'd compile a little light reading and watching for other clothing history enthusiasts like myself. If your interest was piqued, take a look (this is also a list of articles I used as reference):
All this talk about killer clothes raises the question ... are you dying to be fashionable?