Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Josh Kelly: My Last Week

I leave for home in just a few short days. I'm already looking forward to working with Chris and being her tour guide to DC. (Chris Carpenter is the OSF crafts artisan who will travel to DC early in 2014 for an exchange.) I plan on introducing her to the other crafts artisans and costume shops around town as well as the DC that tourists come to see. This past week I met Deb Dryden, costume designer and author of Fabric Painting and Dyeing for the Theatre. This text has been an essential guide for nearly every person who has become a theatrical painter/dyer. Of course we talked shop. She had just returned home from a surface design conference and had experimented with both e-textiles and computer printing onto everything from homemade paper to fabric to metal mesh. It was an honor and a highlight of the trip to meet her.

The prospect of using more technology in theatre production seems inevitable even though we work in a field where small batch, old school, artisan techniques remain the norm. Here in Ashland, water use is sometimes a concern, and the opportunity to find more ecologically responsible products is a priority. The investigation of safer products to use in an historically toxic work environment is imperative. Using computer printing techniques can allow a larger range of design options, often with a much faster production turnaround, and it allows for endless reproduction. I'm going to try to approach more projects with an eye towards technological advantage. Could this be better, faster, cheaper, or safer if I think around my normal process?

Thank you to Rachel Maize, Christine Smith-McNamara, Chris Carpenter, Caroline Dignes, Lene Price, Betsy Krausnick, and the entire costume shop for making me feel so welcome. I've had a marvelous time and highly recommend this exchange to others interested. I'm looking forward to being home with my family, friends, and shop, which is often one in the same.

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