lördag 28 januari 2012

step 4, character number 1; sculpting and moulding the beak.

Starting with sculpting the beak to the head cast of my model Rolf, using chavant clay, which is an oil based clay that is good to work with since it does not dry out.

Chavant can be tricky to work with for a start, since it behaves completely different to water based clay, it is much firmer and it can be quite difficult to get it smooth, a good idea is to heat it up with a hairdryer when sculpting. The hairdryer makes the chavant melt and get smoother for a while. You can also heat it up with your hands and body temperature..

For the texture of the beak I used an orange, which makes it very much like a rough skin to its texture. I really like this effect.

When the beak is ready as a sculpt it is time to make a negative mould of it, which I will then brush the latex into.

To make the mould I lay the headcast with the beak down, using a pillow covered in plastic.

I then build up a clay wall around the beak to prevent the plaster from running down the edges of the head cast. Remember that plaster sticks to plaster, and you don’t want to ruin the head cast. Cover all surfaces that will be exposed to plaster with clay, or release agent.

When the clay wall is done, making sure it is strong enough to keep the weight of the plaster, it is time to make the mould.

Starting with mixing the plaster, using Tiranti's prestia plaster, which is perfect for making moulds. The plaster is mixed with cold water, and slowly sprinkled in until it creates "islands" on the surface of the water. Then mixing it carefully by hand, removing all lumps until the plaster is completely smooth, like a single cream to its consistent.

Then I add the plaster by hand to the beak, carefully catching all of the details. Building it up layer by layer.

When the plaster is starting to set, you can almost sculpt with it, allowing to build up the thickness of the mould, the thicker the better to prevent it from cracking.

Once it is about 7 cm thick all over, I leave it to set over night.

One important thing to know about plaster is that it gets extremely hot when it is setting, accidents has occurred when people have had their hands in setting plaster and lost their fingers, so be careful once it is starting to increase in heat.

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torsdag 26 januari 2012

step 3, character number 1; fabricated shoulderblade wings.

Starting with getting the proper shape for the fabrication in pattern paper, imagining the depth of the foam (ca 7cm) between the shapes. The fabrication is suppose to look as big shoulderblades that reminds you of wings.

I create the fabrication out of cold foam (mattress foam), which I will shape to the proper look. To do this I draw the pattern on to the foam.

I then use a Stanley knife with a brand new blade to cut out the shapes, allowing it to take time, to cut as neat as possible.

When the pieces are all cut I draw a line where they should be attached to each other. I then glue the foam pieces together with Copy dex, I add a bit of copy dex on both pieces, then I use the hairdryer to make it sticky instead of wet, and then press them together, this makes them stick to each other immediately.

When all of the pieces are glued together I shape them to the proper look with the stanley knife, and then sand it down with a dremel to make it smooth.

To make the surface completely even, I add a layer of wadding on the top, that I attach with Copy dex.

When the shoulder pieces are done it is time to attach them to the leotard, to do this I seal the pieces in a piece of the two way stretch skin coloured lycra, the same as on the back. I stretch the fabric while I pin it down around the shoulder piece, which makes it smooth and it will stay in place.

When it is carefully pinned down symmetrical on both sides I sew it on to the leotard with elastic herringbone stitches arount the edge.

Done, time to try it on the model.  

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step 5, character number 7; making the lycra suit.

Making the pattern for the lycra suit, using the same technique as for the leotard for character number 1. This suit is made in three parts, to increase the flexibility in the costume around the hips and the neck. It concists of a pair of skin coloured leggings and a legless leotard upper part with a hood for the head.

In the back I made a invisible zip for the model to get in and out from the costume. To attach the zip I first sew it on by hand, making sure not to stretch the fabric, the zip should be flat with the fabric. After sewing it on by hand I use the hidden zip foot with my sewing machine. The foot has two cuts underneath which lifts up the plastic part of the zip, allowing the needle to make the stitch as close to the edge as possible, which makes it invisible when turned over.

Then it is important to try the suit on the model before moving on to the next step, this way you can adjust any misstakes when it is still easy. Anyhow the suit fittet well and my model Rolf loved wearing it!

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onsdag 18 januari 2012


Remember, there is nothing such as "a pair of scissors". Scissors are almost everything, and there is a pair of scissors for each occation.

Fabric shears, serrated scissors, paper scissors, sprung scissors, thread scissors. You name it!

Don't buy cheap scissors, it won't do you any good, and never use fabric scissors for cutting paper, or paper scissors for cutting fabric etc, you will ruin them!

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step 4, character #7; making the latex skin.

The fiberglass mould is now a negative cast och the skin im creating, and all i need to do is to apply the latex onto the surface to create the skin.

To do this I use moulding natural latex, mixing in some latex thickener. The latex thickener is good to use since it makes the latex thick enough to brush into the mould. Latex is naturally yellow to its colour, so it is a good idea to mix in some white acrylic paint into the latex to give it a good base to paint on.

Then I simply brush the latex into the mould, trying to get an even layer covering the whole mould.

When the whole surface is covered with ca. 3mm layer of latex i leave it to set. Latex sets in the contact of air, and you can speed the process up by adding heat, like a hairdryer.

When the first layer is set I add a piece if skincoloured powernet across the surface. I then apply another layer of latex on top of the powernet to make it completely sealed in the latex. The reason for this is to make the latex skin more durable, it will also make me able to sew the latex on to the suit without it breaking.

Once more, leave it to set, wait at least 5 hours until you remove the skin from the mould.

Then the skin is ready to be applied to the suit, and painted with acrylics. I repeated the procedure 6 times to have enough skin for the whole costume.

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måndag 16 januari 2012

The unitard.

step 2, character #1; making the unitard

Starting with cutting out all of the pieces, I am using a white powernet as the base fabric with a swimsuit lycra in the upper back, which is stronger and more durable to be able to hold the fabrication further on. The powernet is good since is transparent and blends in with the models skin and the fabric breathes so the model will feel more comfortable wearing it.

The pieces will be sewn together using an overlocker, so only 5mm of seem allowance is necessary, exept in the ends of the legs and arms where 2 cm is better.

Sewing it together using the overlocker, it is important to remember not to sew across the pins, since the machine will be damaged. If the fabric has to be pinned, pin in the same direction as the edge's and 2 cm from it. Another good way to do it is to handstitch it first to be completely safe from damaging the machine.

When all pieces are sewn together the unitard is ready to be fabricated.

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step 1, character #1; patterncutting

After measuring Rolf, the model, it is time to create the pattern for the lycra unitard that will create the base for the costume.

I prefer to work with the dot and cross pattern paper since it makes live easier when drawing straight lines and angles.

I first make the pattern as a tight tailor made suit, but since i am using a two way stretch lycra it is essential to take away the stretch from the pattern. Do this by cutting a i.e. 10cm long piece of the fabric being used. Hold the fabric above a ruler and stretch it, this way it is easy to see how much it stretches.

Then the pattern pattern is made smaller by folding it away in even pieces as straight lines across the whole pattern, in both directions, removing the same percentage as the fabric stretches.

Then to have a nice piece of flat pattern it is a good idea to transfer the new pattern into a new piece of paper.

When the pattern is done it is time to move on to the next step.

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step 3: character # 7; demoulding

When the fiberglass has properly set, it is time for demoulding, I left it to set over the weekend but it is usually enough with leaving it over night.

Starting with taking away as much clay as I possibly could, beeing careful not to scratch the mould on the inside, since all scratches will appear on the final skin.

After clearing the mould from clay it needs a proper cleaning with water and a dishbrush or similar to remove all clay and make it completely clean. If some clay doesn't want to come off completely it is OK to leave it and just scrub it off when it has dried, it will fall off almost by itself. This is dirty and takes a while so you need to wear protective clothing if you dont want to get dirty, and preferably eye protection.

When the mould is clean the edges needs to be cut to get away the sharpness, it is very unpleasant to touch as it is now. To cut the edges i use a Fein multimaster saw, that cuts by vibration. This saw is brilliant since it only cuts hard surfaces so it wont hurt you even if you try. When cutting fiberglass it is essential to wear dust mask and eyeprotection, and preferably gloves to avoid the fiberglass getting into your skin.

Finishing the edge off with a piece of sandpaper and the mould is done for moving on to the next step.

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fredag 13 januari 2012

step 2, character no: 7; fiberglassing

Starting with sealing the clay by brushing it with talcum powder and then spraying it carefully with release, wax or petroleum.

Then adding the gel coat, with 2 % cathalyst, and sprinkle fiberglass on the top when it is partly set.

After the gel coat has set it is time for the fiberglass matt, added in small parts with fiberglass resin with 1% cathalyst. Adding it with a paintbrush, piece by piece, be careful and make sure to avoid airtraps and bubbles.

It is very important to wear protective clothing including respirator and eye protection.

Leaving it to dry over night, to make sure it is completely set when demolding.

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torsdag 12 januari 2012

Sketch of the back of character 7.

Step 1, character no: 7; sculpting

Today i started to sculpt the skin texture, I sculpt it as a flat piece in grey pottery clay. The texture is then going to be fiberglassed to a negative mould to crreate ske skin pieces.

To achieve different textures I use different materials such as vegetables and other things with exiting surfaces, use your imagination.

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A sketch of the final image with the illustrated characters, 7 steps.

onsdag 11 januari 2012

Project Content

As the final outcome for my final year project I will together with Robert Eldrim develop one wide image that illustrates 7 different stages in the evolution, showing the same person changing appearance from stage to stage.

The different stages of the evolution will also be shown as one by one portraits and the costumes displayed as an installation alongside the images in the final exhibition.

I have designed 7 different stages of the evolution of man, starting in the Miocene times and ends in year 2750. These different stages have been designed by me in order to be able to combine my knowledge within costume design and making with my skills within technical effects.

What I will make based on my research and final designs from the concept development unit is:
• 7 pcs individual technical effect costumes
• 3 pcs facial prosthetics
• 1 pc foetus prop in jar
• 8 Images:
o 1 pc 70cm *200cm wide image, mounted on foam board
o 7 pc, 70cm*50cm images, mounted on foam board.

Project Introduction

The images that we will produce will tell the story of the Human Evolution, starting at Miocene times, 14 million years ago, ending in the end of the 28st century. With the human evolution as base, the image will tell the audience how we, through the steps of development, are facing our own extinction.

The image itself will not be reality-based, but a fictive version of our evolution, showing specific examples metaphoric to issues in the actual evolution of mankind. The audience will be able to identify and recognise, and it will also be open for individual interpretation.

The intention of this image is to attract public attention regarding what we do with our world; to convey the story of how we must act now if we do not want it to end in a massacre in the nearest future

Research key Elements

I have undertaken a creative and wide ranging research to find my own approach to the stages of the evolution. By researching my subject on a academic, scientific and artistic level, focusing on the stupidity of mankind through politics, religion and science I have achieved a solid foundation for my concept.

As we as humans have developed from animals, I have done wide-ranging research on animals, their anatomy and function. After researching I decided to have birds as a key theme for my concept development. Pushing it in this direction gives me an opportunity to use the symbolism on and around birds, feathers, and the colour white. Since ancient times, because of bird’s connection to the sky, they have been thought of as a supernatural link between the heavens and the earth.

Middle Eastern and Asian cultures often speak of birds as symbols of immortality. In East Indian myth, every bird in the world represents a departed soul, and in Christian art, birds often appear as saved souls.

As a key colour scheme to the image me and Robert have selected the colour white; Reaction to colour is instantaneous, and the colour was chosen based on thorough research around symbolism and the historical significance of colour. By using white as the main colour of the project I want to show that mankind where once pure and innocent, but we are ruining it for our selves.

As my 3D experimentation I have tried several materials, such as different fabrics, feathers and foam, latex, silicone and wire. This has given me depth to my characters and an ability to work further with my designs. I developed several different ideas to have a broad range to choose from when it was time for my final selection. I have gathered my experimentation and samples in my logbook and sample box with pictures, samples and my conclusions regarding them.

I have met up with my selected model for the image on several occasions, made a life cast of his head and done experimentation with his body and positions to work out how to find the right approach to my designs.

As part of my research I have looked a lot on the anatomy of the shoulder blades, combining the human skeleton with the features of birdwings.

I have also researched religious clothing, looking into medieval Christian clothing and the religious garments worn by Native Americans. I found the link between birds and religion very distinct within the native’s culture, which I have then applied to the western religious garments to create a character that fits my theme.

As for gene manipulation I have given my project a deep analysis, also trying to bring the birds theme to the modern stage, the greed of man and the will to create the perfect being; looking at birds foetuses and genetic science.

I have through my research developed the idea into seven different specific characters, each with a carefully analysed symbolism. I've worked a lot with colour and body language, and in order to find my own idiom I used earlier images of the evolution.

Throughout my concept development I have had continuous contact with Robert, and all my decisions has been discussed with him before finalising. We have met on several occasions together with the model and talked things through, to make the project solid and of high quality.


The image will take on matters that are important to everyone, but as my main audience I am aiming for men and women in the age of 15 and above, due to the importance of the political message in the images and the provocative content. As it is of great importance for the project’s larger meaning that as many as possible gets to view the image, I am aiming to have it easily accessible and interesting for a wide group of individuals.

The images should be appealing for all different ethnicities and classes, both in aesthetics and larger meaning.

Project Goals

In terms of my Final Major Project I want to make a political statement and produce a piece of work that will be beneficial for my portfolio, combining both my skills within costume and my skills within technical effects.

Initialy looking at environmental issues, I first put my focus on the Baltic Sea and the on going pollution of the ocean, since it is a subject close to my heart.

Over the summer I took a big step away from my original research regarding the ocean, concentrating on environmental issues in general. I tried to find a concept that would more easily be communicated to the public and a narrative that would reach out to a wide-ranging audience.

With humanity as my base, as environmental issues of our modern world occurs only due to the acts of mankind; I will focus my project on politics, religion and genetic engineering. I believe that by changing the stability of ecosystems and introducing new ones we wipe out the old, piece by piece.


As my narrative, I have chosen Performance Photography; this is a narrative that fits my intentions well, regarding my thoughts around context and audience.

By producing an image that can be printed in more than one copy, it will be possible to reach out to people in more than one place. An image can easily be displayed in several different performance spaces, since it will not be dependent on the locale to the same extent as many other performance contexts.

A great benefit is that this narrative allows me to collaborate with the photographer Robert Eldrim through the project, who is a well-known photographer in Sweden, and specializes in these kinds of images. We have previously worked together, and complement each other perfectly, which will add to the quality of my project. Robert will be responsible of the background, lightning and photography, he will also be able to add digital effects in the editing that I will not be able to create as physical pieces.


I have always been interested in political art and performance, particularly in political installations, films and photography, which are narratives that are appealing to me.

In my opinion political art is the most effective way to spread a message to a wide audience. Performance art has a depth to with more than one true meaning, which allows it to be interpreted in different ways depending on who’s observing.

A great inspiration of mine is Mona Hatoum, a Palestinian artist, living in London, making art about the war in the Middle East. I am also very inspired by Patricia Piccinini that creates realistic sculptures that tells stories with multiple meanings. I have also recently discovered the Macedonian artist Robert Gilgorov, who has a very original approach to his artoworks concerning politics and sexualtity.

This type of art is appealing due to its provocative content, and this is also what makes it interesting.