Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ticket To Ryde

Yesterday I took a day tripper out to the Isle of Wight to visit The New Carnival Company at their fabulous studio space in Ryde. I was put in touch with them via a contact at the Arts Council, who (correctly) thought that my costume and mask based work would complement the costumes made by The NCC and that I might be interested in working with them. As a complete film fanatic, finding out how to make big props and costumes really appeals to me too.
So yesterday I took two trains and then a ferry:
I love boats, me
and found myself on the island. I met the friendly and welcoming NCC team and after a bit of a chat and a lovely and much-needed cup of tea I was set straight to work on a taster day!
'Work' in this case meant sitting in on a prototyping session of the carnival costumes for a local school. The in-house artists collaborate with the pupils and teachers to come up with costume ideas based on the current year's Mardi Gras theme (this year's theme is Reflections of India, which ties in with the Isle's links to Queen Victoria nicely). Then the ideas are translated into one final design and then the finished costumes. Here is the design I helped to work on yesterday:
Drawing of Garuda costume by Gina of NCC
Working with Helen, I helped pattern cut and create the 'skirt' part of this costume. Here is what we came up with:
I was really pleased with the results; it looks very close to the original design but is also practical to wear, easy enough to make and will look fantastic in full on carnival day! Since the children themselves are involved in creating some of the costumes they will wear, the projects need to incorporate tasks that they are able (and willing) to do and are generally no-sew. They also have to fit the budget  and time constraints that are available... so considering all these factors the team do a marvellous job!
Here's some of the other props, puppets and costumes they have around their HQ:


There were also some very exciting looking giant paper mache squirrels and badgers and such waiting around for the upcoming All Along The Riverbank event that I didn't get photos of, but perhaps next time! After more chats and planning, it was time to head back down the pier to the ferry station:

It was a very inspiring day and I was grateful to have been put in touch with them and for their hospitality. If all goes to plan I shall be joining them for a couple of weeks over the summer to help with the preparations for Mardi Gras, so get ready for updates! I think that working with them will be great experience for my workshop teaching, for meeting people, for my own practice and a whole load of other things too.

Along with All Along The Riverbank and Mardi Gras, the New Carnival Company will be co-hosting an exhibition at Southampton Art Gallery called Kathakali Meets Carnival, which looks like it will be amaaazing! Have a look at the details of their events here.

Sesame Street was brought to you today by mucking round on a ski slope