Sunday, October 17, 2010

Who doesn't like Flying Fishes?

Several months ago, I attended the final rehearsal of Jonsi's concert before his world tour at the 3 Mills Studios in London. We were asked to come dressed as animals, because the music background, stage and clothes of the band reflect that theme. That was a topic that allowed us to make extravagant things, and the photos of the evening I have taken only show a fraction of it. You can see them here. To see more from the night, head to Jonsi's page.

That's a lot of bubbles over the head! You always get very hopeful on paper.

Nevertheless, I never took the time to take proper photographs to immortalize my creation, and considering it's essentially made of felt, it gets damaged quickly (way too fast for my taste). It took me three intense days to complete it, besides making the finishing touches in the train between Birmingham and London (under the curious eyes of a young family eating pepper-flavoured potato chips at 8am).

The original sketch counted far more scales. I would have needed
a few more days of cutting and stiching.

I heard about this private concert a week before it happened. So I put my thinking cap on to find the animal I wanted to dress like, and my beaver hat to be able develop a feasible solution that could be made in a short time, was easy to carry and put on. My brain saw a flying fish.

"I'm flying!" Yeah, well… Not yet.

I am no stylist or costume designer. So I sought a basis on which to build the garment. The blue scales are sewn over a pair of leggings. "Sewn" is a big word, because unlike felt, leggings are expendable and hug your legs. This detail was at the top of my problems since I had to make the exact calculations around my legs so each row of scales would fit.The rows are first stapled to create a strip. Then I made a stitch every 10cm, taking care to keep the circumference. I don't know how many scales I cut. I had two colors and about three sizes to get enough variety.
For the shirt, I found a blue nightgown that I liked, (I mean for the colour but not the shape). I shortened the size and slipped a ribbon into the hem so I could tighten it around my waist. I also added scales and felt tips around sleeves and neck.

In the back, inevitably, you find fins which are cut like wings. On both ends, the fabric has a loop so I could put the index finger and stretch the "cape". Finally there is the fish's tail, made with tulle and sewed with scales at the bottom.

Water is very dangerous to Felt-Flying-Fishes!

No, this is not the Little Mermaid.

To create the mask, I found a silver cardboard base that conceals the face enough. Scales are also sewn into the mask (and I'm proud to say I haven't broken one needle). Behind them you find foam-like tulle. On the original mask, I added small balloons of different sizes to represent bubbles. In recent photos, I just hung them to a string to keep them in the air. The style is slightly different but attractive if you want to play a bit with your costume.

The night of the concert, I also brought my °O Bubbles O° and distributed them around me, because as a flying fish, I never felt so high than with oxygen.

You can see more photos on my Flickr page.

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