Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cheap Floral Wreaths

Fake flowers are expensive. Often not as expensive as real flowers, but still not cheap.

*Side note: I learned a while back that not everyone knows the dollar store sells fake floral. It might need some extra glue because the flowers like to fall off their stems, and you'll likely want to fill out your arrangement with some higher quality fake flowers, but for bulk fake floral, the price can't be beat.

I was lucky when working on The Suicide at Roosevelt University, that there was already a stock of flowers and greenery to pull from, but I still needed six wreaths to create my arrangements. The foam wreath forms at the craft store were small and expensive. But these basic wire boxwood wreath forms were cheap and just the right size.
I traced the wire form onto some 1.5" scraps of pink foam, and cut out the foam pieces with a jigsaw. 

 Then I used floral wire to wire the foam onto the form. You can see in this photo that my pieces of foam didn't always fit exactly, but under all the layers and flowers, small inconsistencies like this disappeared.
 and here is a view of the same wiring from the back side. 
 Some of the wreath forms I left pink, and just started adding flowers. On others, like this one, I wrapped the wreath in colored tissue paper and tulle first. The Tissue paper and tulle was thin enough that the wire stems of the flowers could poke right through, and into the foam without much effort. 
 The floral arranging itself was mostly just about finding enough flowers in the right color family to fill the space. 
And here are some of the finished wreaths (we ended up making four and pulling 2 from stock). 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Period appropriate" is relative

This last, overdue, post on A Tale of Two Cities at Lifeline Theatre is in not about anything I made. All of this glassware was purchased or pulled from stock.
The interesting challenge here was that the show took place in so many different locations. The disparities between those with money and without is also a huge theme in the show. I needed to have people drinking wine in four different scenes, in four different locations. 
Starting with the richest character in the richest setting, I used cut glass (meant to look like crystal) for the Marquis St Evremonde. Glasses like these would have been a more recent innovation at the time of the show, and only the rich would have owned it. 
One step below the Marquis, would be the Mannettes. I was thrilled to find these etched glasses at a local rental shop. They almost exactly matched some antique period glasses I had in my research. The ones at the time would have been a thicker glass, and not as perfectly matched (as they would have been hand-blown). Not as nice as the crystal, but solidly upper middle-class. 
Next came glasses at the English pub. I wanted to convey that this was a fairly nice place, but logically could not image any pub at the time using hand blown glass wine glasses. That would be far to expensive to purchase in bulk, in a place where they are likely to get broken. I knew found the right balance when I found these glasses made of brown glazed ceramic.  
And finally, the lowest class glasses would have been in the Defarge wine shop. They sold cheap wine to the poorest villagers in their suburb of Paris. The glasses in that shop only needed to be functional, cheap, and easy to replace. These clay mugs were the perfect solution. 
Working through these different wine glasses served as a good reminder of the importance of research. It can be very easy, especially when working on shows set further in the past, to find one or two images research images and move on; "That is what wine glasses looked like in 1790." But class, region and wealth also need to be factored in.