Photo Credit: Luanne M. Ferris/TIMES UNION

Creative Process

We put three artists to the test: Make a costume using five common, but disparate, items

Section: Scene,  Page: E1

Date: Friday, October 22, 2010

 This will either inspire you or make you hang up your craft supplies in total "I'll never be able to do anything like that" despair. The Times Union created this Halloween costume challenge for three local artists. We gathered together five common items -- a newspaper (of course), aluminum foil, a bag of 100 balloons, black leggings and a toilet plunger -- and asked the artists to use them in a costume. They were allowed other materials. The only rule was they had to use the five items in some form. We thought we were pretty funny as we dreamed up the list of materials. How in the world would they possibly use a toilet plunger -- tee hee. But, that was no problem for this crafty threesome.


1. Tommy Watkins

 Local artist (works in abstract modern paintings) and co-founder of The Albany Underground Artists and The Upstate Artists Guild.

Costume: Apocalyptic angel

 What he used: Kept it mostly about the items, aside from paint and tape and hardware on the wings. Wig and deer antlers, plastic wrap, deer skull.

 How he used our items: The five objects were made into two parts, a scepter and wings. Newspaper, aluminum foil and a black leotard formed the wings. The scepter was composed of a toilet plunger and gathered red balloons.

 Watkins Quote: "The concept behind the costume addresses the world's current state of affairs. The demon/angel represents an ethereal messenger coming to warn humankind that their unbridled behavior will ultimately lead to their downfall."

 2. Jenn Dugan

Fashion designer and owner of Jenn's Creative Outlet in Troy.

Costume: Geisha

 What she used: 4 yards linen, 1/2 yard muslin, 1/2 yard canvas, tape, foil, newspaper, leggings, plunger, balloons.

 How she used our items: Plunger rubber end was cut and used to hold hair bun. Plunger handle was cut and used with newspaper to make a fan. Newspaper was turned into obi (belt). Leggings were used to hold aluminum foil bow. Balloons were cut to make cherry blossoms on the sleeves. "I needed to think, 'How can I use the plunger?' and I can figure everything else out."

 Dugan's Quote: "I was a geisha about six years ago, but nothing as elaborate as this."

 3. Tirza Chappell Fogle and Carolyn Walker

 Tirza, right, is a costume designer for Capital Repertory and Carolyn is a costume shop assistant. Model is Winston, 3-year-old basset hound.

 Costume: Bumblebee

 What they used: Yellow material, headband, pipe cleaners, foil, newspaper, leggings, plunger, balloons.

 How they used our items: Used leggings as black stripes around the dog for bee pattern. Plunger cup on dog's butt with handle sticking out as stinger, newspaper painted and shaped into wings, aluminum foil antennas on headband and swarming bees' wings. Balloons were used as bodies for the swarming bees.

 Tirza's Quote: "We had a big argument over whether he was a swarm of bees or a queen bee. He's a boy and he's a dog, so swarm of bees sounds better than a queen bee," says Tirza. "We did do it in one night after work."

 Benefit event

"On The Runway: Fashion Show and Design Competition"

Jenn Dugan will unveil her first collection of three outfits and 20 hair accessories at a benefit in honor of Liza Ellen Warner to help Unity House in Troy.

 The show is Sunday at Michael's Banquet House in Latham.