FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
The Sand, the Sea, and the Circus
Outline the story …
In "The Gracekeepers" by Kristy Logan the world has been swallowed almost entirely by ocean and land is now sacred and scarce. Humans have divided themselves into two groups, landlockers and damplings. Each group feels they are superior and pity the other for their way of life. Contact with one another is avoided unless necessary. Damplings are thought of as sinners and are required to wear brass bells whenever they are on land to make their presence on the precious soil known. The story follows a circus ship the Excalibur as they travel from island to island performing to earn enough to survive. The performers and the ship are worn down but resilient. The crew doubles as the circus, it is composed of; clowns, acrobats, fire breathers, the glamours, animal tamers, and the ringmaster. I was drawn to the Glamours, a group of three women, Teal, Cyan, and Mauve. They perform the Maypole dance and engage with the crowd. Behind the scenes on The Island of Maidens (the self proclaimed name for the coracle they reside in) they beautify the performers with handmade costumes, and concoct hair dyes and makeup from ocean materials. The trio is described as flirtatious, beautiful and mischievous. I was drawn in by their charm and their roster of skill sets. I chose to bring the character Teal to life.
Outline the construction…
Materials that are referenced include; silk, leather, cotton, sequins, ribbon and brass metals. There is a sense of poverty that fuels the enginuity in the glamours to create designs using limited and worn down materials they have available. I recreated that aesthetic with a balance of finished and raw edges, aged brass, and distressed fabrics. I designed, drafted, and constructed the blouse, corset, skirt, necklace, and garter.
For the blouse I used a lightweight crepe, with leather lacing, it allows for a beautiful drape and flow which would be desirable during a performance. The corset contains black and white striped cotton, a basket weave silk that has natural imperfections creating a sense of wear and tear, leather, ribbon, lace, and brass hardware. This was based off a 1890s Swiss Riding Corset, I chose this style for its silhouette and ease of movement. The skirt was originally drafted but after testing the ruffle placements it felt too organized, I decided to drape it instead. It now is more asymmetrical which achieves a flow that mimics moving water. I used lace, crepe and knit to layer in texture. The underlayer uses the same striped cotton as the corset. The lace ruffle necklace incorporates the brass hardware and calls on the edgy style of the character. The garter is how I imagined the glamours would approach having to wear a bell on land. Accentuated and stylized. A touch of sequins and torn up tights finish the look.