Burning Man Costume 2.

Because of the Burning Man ticket poopstorm (you can read about it here and here if you haven’t been made aware of it) I may not get to go this year, which is a bit of a bummer. However, I chose the theme of my costume with the intent of wearing it to a bunch of different events. For example, it’s an ocean theme, so I could march in the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island next June. And the Halloween Parade in New York in October. And maybe I can go to Burning Man next year if I don’t make it in this year. It’s all good. This costume’s gonna get worn.

In the meantime, I’ve been making more components. I took one of my father’s old crappity herringbone jackets and cut it all up to hell, then painted it. It now looks like this.

I painted it various shades of brown, then did some sponging of gold on the shoulders to give it some texture. I’m attempting to mimic the crusty complicated ocean floor. Why gold you ask? Well, I’m using gold throughout this costume because I read somewhere that there are nine pounds of dissolved gold in the ocean for every man, woman and child on Earth, which I thought was a neat scientific fact. I then added the magenta dots to increase the visual…stuff. I bet you think I splattered the magenta paint, but no, I painted each and every dot because I am a control freak and splatter-painting is too chaotic for me. I went and bought nearly identical herringbone material to make the skirt so it will look like a set. Here’s a shoulder for more detail.

I need to put weights on the two points in the front because with the rest of the jacket cut away the points stick straight out ahead. Also, I’m perfectly aware that I am the worst seamstress in the entire world, but remember two things – one, I sewed this whole thing by hand so shush; and two, trim will be going on most of the raw edges and that will cover up the shreddy bits. There’s going to be dangly bits of seaweed on the sleeves and barnacles and seastars all over, no one’s going to be looking at my awful sewing technique.

In addition to the jacket, I bought polytubing, and with assistance from Snorth (God bless you Snorth, with your bodkins and whatnot) we constructed a hoop skirt base. I need a hoop skirt because if I have lights all over this thing there needs to be a place for the battery packs to go, and I am going to hide them under the skirt. See? See what I’m doing? Very smart.

So for the hat I have made a sea anemone (or, as I call it, a sea menemenem). It’s basic structure are two cheap Indian gold bracelets, a manipulated coat hanger and a ivory-colored knee-high stocking. I used a stocking because, once again, if I can light it up it needs to be translucent. Then there are the ribbons and the wire and the plastic beads and layers and layers and layers of Mod Podge.

And finally, the scales that go on the corset. They are made out clear packing tape and sequins. That’s it. I’ve made about 120 of them, and it takes ten minutes to make one, but it’s worth it because I sewed one half of the corset and it looks super-rad. Seriously. I’m very proud of myself.

Next is sewing the skirt and painting it, and after that is making a crab, two more seastars (bigger! pinker! sparklier!), some coral, some worms, maybe a nudibranch or two, a face mask with tentacles (or maybe it will look like a wee manta ray, I haven’t decided), seaweed for my sleeves, and an umbrella/jelly.

5 Responses to “Burning Man Costume 2.”

  1. Colleen says:

    The scales look great!

  2. Kyrsten says:

    I randomly came across your blog and was taken with your beautiful art and costume work (especially the packing tape scales!) I looked at your other Burning Man posts, and came across your post explaining why you want to go — and there is a picture of my Snail! I was so tickled, I thought I’d write. You can look at our website to see the Snail as well as other things we have made; including a Trilobyte you might like very much. Take care!

  3. snorth says:

    you SOOOOOO crazy!!! this is gonna be the coolest!

  4. Rothbeastie says:

    Thank you so much! I was delighted to see “the making” of the snail. It is truly marvelous. The trilobyte and the zeppelin are lovely as well. You do some terrific work.

  5. Cathy Taylor says:

    Would love to talk to you about costumes …
    Email me or call

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