Plastic (Dance)

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 by 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.

The dancers began in white outfits, over which they donned their respective plastic garments during the piece.

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.
Photo by Peter Bailley.

To make the bags more easy to sew, I researched a technique where layers of plastic are ironed between two insulating 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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