Make – It: Costume Design

The February half term holidays are fast approaching and once again we will have a great calendar of events taking place throughout the Museum for families to take part in. To give you a taste of the kind of events of taking place, as part of the October Half-term activities  for families celebrating Hollywood Costume, the Museum ran a number of workshops called “Make-it: Costume Design”. “Make-it” sessions offer families the opportunity to work with design professionals of different disciplines, to draw inspiration from the Museum’s Collection and get creative. In “Make-it: Costume Design” families worked with the Museum’s Artist in Residence: Costume for Film, Hayley Nebauer.

Hayley Nebauer Teaching

After an introduction to Nebauer’s career and designs, families were given the synopsis for a film, with character Vicky travelling in a time machine to meet a boy called Bert in an alien planet (a nod to Nebauer’s love and work specialising in Sci-fi films). They then headed up to the Level 3, Silver, Rooms 65 – 69, to draw any objects that caught their eye and imagination. Families were also encouraged to draw the negative space within or around the objects, a feature of the artist’s own design process.

Working in the galleries

Participants then returned to the Art Studio to carefully cut out their drawings and hear about how the designer would translate those drawings into a costume design. Using the idea of “random design”, Nebauer illustrated how designers might free-up their process to encounter the beauty of chance, dropping their drawings randomly onto a template figure. Revisiting the idea of negative space, the designer showed how drawing around the constellation of dropped drawings can form a costume.

The use of random design and negative space helped provide exciting introductions to design processes and illustration; whilst highlighting that a Costume Designer doesn’t necessarily make the costumes, but provides visual ideas to the film’s Director/Producer often in the forms of illustrations with annotations and swatches. The focus remained on bringing the character of a script to life, helping families to understand more about the role of a Costume Designer in a film production. Some comments from the day:

 “We enjoyed meeting an artist in a contemporary setting of film and making a connection with the museum.”

“The artist has given us a new way of looking at different artefacts for inspiration.”

Working in the Sackler Centre's Art Studio

Creating designs for costumes

Hayley Nebauer has also designed an activity for the Drop-in Design Programme, please see the Family Art Fun calendar for when Crazy Costumes next takes place.

A csotume design from the workshop

Illustration by Hayley Nebauer. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Hayley Nebauer

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