Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Professional Development Workshops presented by the Costume Design & Technology Commission are always quickly filled, as was the case in 2006 for Costume Drawing & Rendering.

Photo/Casey Kearns

by Patricia J. Martin
Costume Design & Technology Commissioner


Costumers Review
Louisville Sessions

Thanks to those who presented and attended the many wonderful workshops in Louisville. For those unable to join us, here are some highlights from this year's USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo.

The Costume Design & Technology Commission began the conference with two Professional Development Workshops. Costume Drawing & Rendering Techniques: Basics & Beyond, a two day-workshop presented by Herb Camburn and ably assisted by Ron Goekler and Susan Thomas Babb, gave participants the opportunity to complete drawings and colored renderings of costumed models using the tried and true method of pencils and paint. Then everyone brought their computers and digitizer pads and learned two software programs: Photoshop and Poser. Patience and practice were the watch words of the day. Hat's Entertainment: Simple to Sew Millinery was held at Baer Fabrics. In this hands-on workshop, Joel Ebarb taught the participants two simple but impressive hats -- the Coil Hat and the Valois bonnet.

Linda Sparks presented a detailed session on the Basics of Corset Building discussing several different techniques and options of construction. Hilary Baxter, international guest from England, presented a provocative and entertaining session Drag, Gay Pride, and Pricilla: The Role of the Designer. Chicago-based freelance milliner Hannah Bledstien discussed the process of creating headblocks from lightweight and durable material.

At the Costume Design & Technology Commission meeting, members networked and received updates on the 2006 Costume Symposium, A Master Class in Tailoring Techniques, held this year at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and all other active commission projects. One member called it an important and eye-opening introduction to the incredible projects and ongoing activities of a vibrant Commission.

The Costume Poster Session gave people an opportunity to interact with 21 presenters each offering a new discovery, product, or technique. Topics ranged from wigs made of fabric, to make-up techniques for maturing actors' faces, to designing and mounting folding fans. Creating Non-Traditional Wigs provided members with a wide variety of unusual materials and methods to create wigs of all styles and shapes. The creative solutions were exciting and inspirational. Susan Davis and Becky Kauffman provided members the rare opportunity to examine actual period corsets in Vintage Undergarments -- Up Close and Personal.

In Computer Pattern Making for Costumers members had the opportunity to learn more about the advances and applications of patternmaking software from leading software pattern representatives. Cecilia Friedrichs, Deborah Nadoolman, Pamela Shaw, and Charles Berliner presented an incredible session on costume careers outside of theatre. The presentation was illustrated with amazing costume design work in the field of circus, ice skating, parades, theme parks, animate film and video games, music concerts, and feature films.

Since the Conference was in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, it seemed only appropriate to dedicate a session to the history of the jockey silk in the session Jockey Silks and Sports Uniforms presented by Bobbi Owen and Holly Jenkins Evans.

Who knew that Theatre de la Mode, a unique collection of theatre sets and fashion designs in miniature developed in 1945-46 by the Parisian Couture industry to raise funds for the war relief, was housed in the United States in the remote Maryhill Museum of Art? Betty Long-Schleif shared the history and treasures of this unique collection in Theatre de la Mode: Parisian Fashion after World War II. In the highly informative and practical, Costume Shop Management: Tools and Techniques, four professional costume shop managers shared forms and time-saving techniques developed for optimal shop organization and production management.

During An Evening with Rosemary Ingham, the audience was enthralled listening to Ms. Ingham share the circuitous journey of her life in costuming and her process as an artist. This delightful session was followed by a reception where members were able to meet her and enjoy an evening of food and networking.

Paul Thompson offered a wonderful demonstration of various make-up techniques in Character Make-up. The fire alarms didn't stop participants or panelists Gweneth West, Laura Crow, Linda Roethke, and Susan Tsu from discussing the design processes or creating evocative images for Macbeth in the double session Developing the Costume Idea: Take Two. The panelists led the group in a discussion of Macbeth and used art supplies and magazines to create an array of inspirational images. The session was described as a highlight of a fantastic week.

Programming is already in place for Phoenix in 2007 and the Commission is looking forward to Houston in 2008. To share an idea for a programming session for Houston, contact Kevin McCluskey at

Special thanks to Randal Blades, Wendy Meaden, Anne Towe, and Ester Vaneek whose comments contributed to this article and to all who volunteered to help Kristina Tollefson by filling out session response forms. Sadly, it seems that someone removed the envelope of session response forms from the message board in Louisville so we were not able to use those reports in the writing of this article. We are working on a new system for getting the comments back to us so this will not happen in the future.

To Top