Sneaking in just before the ban on social gathering, ASG members met for the semi-annual NSW Industry Day.
Saturday, March 14th dawned cool and faintly miserable in Sydney. Inside the Blueberry Hill conference room at Canterbury Leagues Club, the atmosphere was anything but cool and definitely not miserable.
Attendance at the Autumn 2020 Industry Day was much reduced, in line with the increasing health crisis. But all that was forgotten as we were taken into the world of costuming by Rebecca Ritchie, head of wardrobe at Opera Australia. Rebecca was an engaging speaker and as some attendees said, “we could have listened to her all day”.
Rebecca spoke of how costumes are constructed and made to be true to the designer’s vision, reasonably wearable, and with meaning for the audience. She had many examples of considering who else will be wearing the costume i.e. someone larger or smaller than the first singer, and how money can be saved in one part of the costume to be spent up big on another part.
The visual story-telling was wonderfully illustrated by Rebecca showing us how, to indicate just what the character is giving up to marry a very poor man, her extravagant ensemble is slowly dismantled over the course of one aria, until she is, at last, standing in just her chemise. The success of this process is hugely dependent on the other members of the cast. One bow that knots itself and won’t come undone is a potential disaster. Scissors are held at the ready.
Attendees then enjoyed the three workshops available for both a morning and afternoon session.
Laura Walsh from Bobbin & Ink brought sewing decidedly into the 21st Century with information on sewing with conductive threads and materials. Conductive Thread is ideal for introducing electronics into textiles projects. The thread looks and behaves like conventional sewing thread with the added bonus of being conductive, allowing the thread to be used in the place of wires, with conventional electronics. Laura explained, to much merriment and excitement, how to start experimenting with light-up elements and other electrical components. Attendees came away with much enthusiasm to produce garments to wow their grandchildren.
Maria from Digital Fabrics very generously brought along her printing press and everyone who attended her workshop went home with a small sample. It was very interesting that the colours on the master pattern were very strong, while the final product was much less intense. It was inspiring to know just how much can be done with digital printing – not just fabric for garments.
In a quieter mode Kazue Kawauchi delighted with her line of soft toy patterns Piccolino Patterns. Kazue chose the Industry Day to launch her new addition to the Piccolino family, Forest Friends Mouse & Rabbit. Small figurines but endlessly cute – something to sew for family members not quite ready for techno threads.
For our regular “Show &Tell” session, there were 3 gift vouchers to be won, thanks to the generosity of The Fabric Store in Surry Hills. It was such a joy to hear the stories behind the garments – the sewing journey. The focus was not on the quality of the sewing, but on the journey.
Many thanks to Pitt Trading and Larraine Jenkins for providing some shopping opportunities. Unfortunately, Dearne Natoli from Booby Traps was unable to attend as it was her 20th Wedding Anniversary and she thought she really should spend the day with her husband. Achieve Australia were also unable to be with us because of the health crisis. Next time.
Thank you to everyone who sent their regrets – your kind words and well wishes were very much appreciated. We are now starting to organise our Spring 2020 Industry Day. Date to be confirmed. Hope to see you all there.