Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Costume Comission: THX 1138!

I built a THX1138 costume for a friend's boyfriend in four days.  THX1138 is an oldie and a goodie. My dad who went to college for cinematography showed us a lot of Kubrick flicks when we kids were younger (not too young, mind you) so it was familiar territory for me.

I sourced fabric for the piece that wasn't just cheap poly-cotton because I wanted it to look good.  This was my first big costume commission out of school and it was going to a convention (NorwestCon!) where it would be looked at and scrutinized.  I first thought that maybe I would need to double up some cotton to achieve a good opacity, since most cottons are rather translucent against the human skin.  I found Diaper Cloth at Pacific Fabrics and was intrigued by it.  It was opaque enough, thin, and had a great texture.  The gent at the cutting counter pointed out that it was not a standard width, (being about 36" rather than 45" or 60") and asked what I was making.  I said a THX1138 costume and he smiled.  "Have you seen the waffle fabric?" he asked.  I shook my head "no" and followed him through the aisles over to the yarn section (?!?!?) where they tucked away fat bolts of waffle weave fabric.  It was fantastic.  Wide, opaque, and interesting texture.

While the original film was a plain woven fabric, I wanted this interpretation to be as authentic as possible, but with something to make it more interesting than simply being white fabric. My client okayed it and off I went at scratch; altering the pattern to suit my needs, cutting out white fabric and trying not to get graphite and other markings all over it, getting it all together, and then did a fitting, final tweaks, and it was done!

Watching "The Wrath of Khan" gets the serging done!  I also don't have a copy of THX or I would have watched that.

Had to redraft the neckline and created facings for it.

Pin! Pin! Pin!

Top done!  Then the trousers and we were in business!

Mr. Rex modeling the final project and looking quite spiffy, indeed!  He had made the badge and even an ear tag to wonderful authenticity. 

Daily Lessons

There is a familiar rumble going down my alley, almost like an old gas-powered lawn mower and a motorcycle had a baby, and it is the very wee silver van that is emblazoned with "Soda Jerk" on the side.  It is a soda vendor that lives a block behind us and uses the alley to get out to the main street.  Haven't tried his soda yet, but I keep meaning to.

Today, oh today.  Some days start really, really well.  You wake up- alarm or not- with determination on your face and a spring in your step.  Some days this joie de vivre doesn't go away for the whole day.  Other days, like today, it gets whammied from the side like a semi-truck out of nowhere and you the unlucky road kill.  What makes or breaks the rest of your day is how you deal with that out-of-nowhere-whammy.  You can balk and cry and whine, or you can be frustrated, shed a couple tears of fear, put on your big (insert preferred gender here) pants/shoes/hat/whatever and know that things will work out.

I am following my dreams right now and it's downright terrifying.  I have no. idea. where my next paycheck is coming from and I have bills to pay, routinely, like any other adult.  This is the life of an artist and this is the life I have chosen.  Of course, there are other artists who chose to have a regular job and a regular paycheck and pay their bills on time and maybe a bit extra once in a while.  This is not a bad thing.  I would move into that world if all my art could be done at night.  ALL of it.  Most of my art could, but there are things like Tech Week, or Weekend Rehearsals that don't always fit into that pretty little box of Availability.  So I struggle at times.  Summer is rough.  Bills add up and paychecks don't.

Today I woke up with joy in my heart and determination on my face and bounded out to the kitchen to get coffee.  I kissed my sweet husband good-bye and made my oatmeal with brown sugar.  I bustled into our home office and then my eyes fell upon a neglected bill notice.  Then I realised how much money I need to shell out in the next month and how much money wasn't coming in.  I got scared, I got stressed.  Are your teeth grinding?  Did your heart rate go up just a little reading this?  The thing that gets me going is fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of being broke all the time.  It's enough to make me get a corporate desk job.
What you (and I) must do is look yourself in the eye in a mirror.  Tell yourself that fretting now isn't going to do anybody any good at all.  Especially YOU!  Remind yourself of the ways you can drum up money, when your paycheck in coming in, and what you can do in the meantime.  BREATHE.  Cry if needed.  It's cathartic.  Blow your nose, wash your face, and get on with things!

I like making lists.  They comfort me.  They encourage me.  I list things I have already done just so I have the satisfaction of crossing something off my list.  I am making a list of all the fabulous things I have knitted or sewn and can sell on Etsy.  I am checking my calendar for times that are open so I can take gigs or work elsewhere.  The money will come, and my bills will get paid ON TIME, and everything will work out perfectly, because it always, always does.  I speak the words into the Universe and the Universe puts them into effect.  Put good in, get good out.  Put fear in, get bad out.  It's that simple.

And just like that, my stomach settles, my tears dry up, I take a deep breath and chuck my chin up.  Wallowing will get anyone nowhere.  Determination and Optimism will get you everywhere.