Atlanta Ballet Studios Tour

On June 6, TASA members toured the Atlanta Ballet studios, prop room, costume room and costume workshop. The group enjoyed seeing the architecture of the Ballet’s LEED certified building with its iconic KALWALL–the insulating light transmitting wall paneling; the dance studios with their Marley floor covering; and the stunning photographs of dancers on every wall.

In the costume room we saw hundreds of different costumes for all of the many different ballet productions. We learned how the costumes are designed so they can be altered for different body sizes, and to allow for the movement of the dancer.  Attention is given to the costumes to take into account wear areas–such as the waist.  TASA members were in awe of the intricate details of the costumes as well as the quality of the fabrics and workmanship involved in their creation.  We learned how the costumes are cleaned and how they are often shared with other theatrical, musical and dance companies.

Submitted by Gail Goodwin.

A Visit With Hellenne Vermillion

At TASA’s spring program, artist Hellenne  Vermillion shared her silk painting techniques and designs.  She explained the kinds of paints and fabrics she uses in her work.  She also showed the group many beautiful wall hangings, kimonos, masks, scarves and other accessories she has created.  After Hellenne’s formal presentation, she gave the group an opportunity to do their own silk painting with materials she had set up.

Submitted by Gail Goodwin

Winter Program: SCAD, FASH Exhibition

In January, at the invitation of Marie deGeorge, artist and couture fashion designer, three groups of TASA members toured the extraordinary exhibits at the Savannah School of Art and Design, SCAD, FASH:  “Threads of History: Two Hundred Years of Fashion” and “Embellished: Adornment Through the Ages.”

Rafael Gomez, curator of the exhibit, led the tours. He explained the historical context of the dresses and adornment objects– shoes, hats, jewelry, and other items–as well as the construction materials and the unintended consequences of many of the extreme dress fashions for women: skirts catching fire, dangerous falls, re-alignment of body organs, radiation poisoning, difficult child births, etc.

Rafael also explained how in order for SCAD to exhibit the historic dresses properly, each dress required its own individually carved mannequin.

SCAD student docents accompanied the tours.  Using  iPads, the students showed pictures that gave additional contextual information to the objects on display.

Following the formal tour, Rafael took the TASA groups into the working room where he showed costumes that were not put on exhibit, reproduction corsets and antique fashion design books.

The low light to protect the textiles, the black framed exhibition niches, and the extensive diorama presentations of the dresses augmented with historically accurate accessories made for a thoroughly dramatic and beautiful complimentary set of exhibitions.

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An Afternoon with Jon Riis

On Sunday afternoon, November 13, a large TASA group met for a two-hour visit to the home of Jon Riis and Richard Mafong.  Jon showed us a wonderful large antique European tapestry he had recently acquired, several very old Coptic textiles, some interesting rugs, a rare Dida tie-dyed piece from Ivory Coast, a red wool piece that once was used as money, ancient Americas Chancay  weavings, many beautiful Asian embroideries and a plethora of additional intricately woven textiles and shawls.

Descending into Jon’s studio, the group enjoyed seeing many more exquisite fabrics including gold-thread sari weavings, bagru textiles. and double ikat weavings from India.

In addition to the wonderful textiles, the group enjoyed Richard Mafong’s stunning wood and metal sculptural works, Jon’s amazing contemporary beaded tapestries as well as carvings, hats and other unique artifacts from vanishing cultures around the world.

Submitted by Gail Goodwin