Plastic (Dance)

Plastic
A newly staged dance work based on the idea of ecological sustainability.

What does sustainability have to do with me as an artist?

Costume Design: Allison Smith and Carla Hamilton
Choreographers: Kathleen Ridlon, Jennifer Nass, and the dancers
Lighting Design: Kat Reiser
Photos courtesy of Peter Bailley and Craig Choma

For Plastic, we researched images of couture fashion and “trashion” that exhibited architectural elements, allowing for the inclusion of other recyclable products.

We used over 250 plastic bags donated by college students for the 6 costumes: an armored skirt, a “fur” vest, a man’s tailcoat, a bustle frame, a bolero jacket with a ruff, and a wedding skirt and veil.

How does one sew plastic?

The costume shop was able to manipulate the plastic bags in a variety of ways; from clipping to layering, bunching, pleating, gathering, and lining with rigilene.

Carla and me creating a section of our plastic textile.

To make the bags more easy to sew, I researched a technique where I ironed layers of plastic between 2 pieces of paper.  The melted plastic created a more durable textile that didn’t stretch excessively under stress, and was perfect for projects that required flat patterning, like the tailcoat.

 

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