Thursday, September 13, 2018

Making of the Grey Lady

By Beth "Freesia" Tozier

For FolkeWood questing, I was tasked by Neil with creating a living statue costume. And by tasked, I mean I jumped at the chance to do it.

So, how did it all come together? Well, it was weeks of research, planning, and execution with the aid of several people.

I feel that the Realms would benefit from knowing how things were made when it comes to big costumes and props. I also hope that with this, we can up our costuming game.

Let’s start with the dress. We knew the look we were going for was pseudo Greek. I scoured Halloween costumes for the right piece. I found this:

As you can see, it is not in the least bit grey, nor was it in any way stiff. With help from Jana “Jynx” Greene and a little more research we found that the next step was to cover the whole dress in Liquid Latex. Jana found the Rub-R-Mold Liquid Latex. She also had the idea to stuff some shopping bags under the waist of the dress to keep it from pulling down/losing some shape.

Armed with Rubber Gloves, a little starch, and a lot of Rub-R-Mold, we went to work one Friday night. We went through a whole container of the latex and needed to order another another to ensure that the whole dress was sufficiently covered. We didn’t get any pictures of us actively applying the latex, because it was a messy job. At one point, I had to cover my left arm in cellophane to keep from having to pull my arm hairs out (so messy).

Once the latex set (it took a couple of days because of the humidity) I was able to start painting - Dano “Piper” Knoble was a huge help with the first few coats of paint.

Every piece had to be hand painted to match and the paints had to be mixed as well to get just the right grey. We did a full two coats of paint to get the right texture.

We even went so far as to touch up the paint while I was wearing the dress. Just the latex and painting took two weeks to complete. But, we were pretty please with the stiffness of the material, and the look.

After the dress was painted, Danielle “Elizah” Guimont did some work with the Makeup. We tapped Danni, even though she was playing, because she has a background in theater and really knows her makeup. She did her own research and we did a test run in my dining room.

We had to be sure that the makeup was water based. I have seriously sensitive skin, so any old makeup would not have worked for me. We discovered that the Mehron brand was perfect and also gave great coverage.

Finding the right wig was the last touch, and likely the easiest step for me. With a little patience and hairspray we managed to get everything set.

Every minute making this costume was a learning experience. I am excited I was able to make this and play the role. I have ideas for how to improve the process, so one day I hope to play this NPC again! (Or something similar)

I really believe that we, as a community, can take our NPC costuming to the next step. We have a lot of creative minds, and talent in our community. Armed with that, we can create almost anything!

Some of the things I learned about this process:
More Latex! Really, I wish I had done a full second coat of the dress.
Maybe making a top/arm cover to cut back on makeup costs would help.
The first layer of makeup may have gone faster with an airbrush. We’re going to test that.
Making a full costume like this is a real labor of love. I hope other EHs take the leap to do it as well.
Hand Painting the dress was better than the alternatives, which was spray paint.

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