November 2010

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November 2010


A Wigging Good Time

William Gordon Henshaw Costume Design & Technology Commission

USITT’s 2010 Costume Symposium on Wig Making and Styling began August 4, with 29 excited members meeting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in beautiful Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A welcome reception was held in the Performance Place where participants gathered for refreshments and an opportunity to meet and interact with each other and the talented leaders of the four tracks in wig styling, wig fronting, facial hair, and full wig foundations.

On Thursday, August 5 all participants were introduced to the four instructors; Allison Lowery, Kelly A. Yurko, Mark Boley, and Martha Ruskai, and the graduate students of UNCSA who were assisting with the symposium; Leanne Catena, and Kaite Durkee and Ming-Yen Ho.

The opening session included a history of wigs and wig making by Martha Ruskai as well as a demonstration of how to prep an actor’s head for wearing a wig plus how to make a head wrap tracing of an actor’s head for making a wig.

Wig Fronting by Valerie Lynn Vanderkolk

Kelly A. Yurko, Associate Professor of Makeup and Wig Design at University of Cincinnati, instructed the Wig Fronting track. Attendees enjoyed an intimate class and were able to learn or re-learn ventilating, practice taking head wraps and measurements from each other for the wigs fronts, and try two different wig fronting techniques to add a natural hair line to a hard-front factory-made wig.

Styling Wigs by Martha Cooper

The wig styling segment of the three-day symposium was described by participants as awesome! Those who chose this track worked diligently, experiencing various techniques in styling synthetic wigs to achieve various methods for creating waves, curls, and unique historic hairstyles. Allison Lowery, instructor of the styling section, willingly shared her knowledge and experience in working with synthetic wigs while assisting and encouraging each student to create a historically-based styled wig final project. Under her patient guidance and expertise, all of the participants expanded their current level of skill while also having a very enjoyable experience.

Wig Foundations by William Gordon Henshaw

The small group in the wig foundation track were all excited to learn the wig from the ground up, so to speak. Instruction included how the parts of the wig work together, and the many different types of construction and the varied types of materials that can go into making a wig foundation. The group started with putting down galloon ribbon and then putting net over it, which is the strongest part of the wig. Participants then put on the points and secured this to the block and draped the next layer of lace over this to form the back of the wig.

The last part of the foundation is the fronting lace which is very delicate and forms the part that is the hairline and the attachment for the wig to the actor’s face. With the foundation finished, the group tackled ventilation or sewing on of the weft to make the wig.

Facial Hair by William Gordon Henshaw

Mark Boley lead the Facial Hair track, presenting a variety of interesting ideas and techniques which the group discussed. Among the demonstrations was how to do a beard tracing of the face and transfer that to the block. Also included was instruction on how to make the beard and moustaches and how to curl and trim them. Participants showed off several of their projects that showed how they ventilated and then curled and styled their pieces.

All workshop participants benefitted greatly from the donations provided by Krylon Professional Makeup and discounts from Demoe Brothers and Wig America which were arranged by Claudio Longo of Kryolan to enhance the experience.