Burning Man Costume, Part 6.

Nudibranches! Nudibranches, as I’ve mentioned before, are amazing vibrantly-colored underwater slugs. They are gorgeous and insanely varied. Here’s a cover of a book on them.

I made an artistic interpretation of a nudibranch and put a pinback on it so I can attach it somewhere on my costume. I don’t know if anyone will know what it is, but I don’t care because yay nudibranches!

It’s got sequins and rocaille bugle beads that reflect a bit of light, so it’s quite jazzy. And right now I’m adding the festive hoohah to the hem of my skirt. Ugh, what a pain. Here’s the thing: When I was pimping out the edges of the jacket, like the sleeves and the back, it was no biggie because it wasn’t much material. The hem of my skirt is about ten feet around, so hand-tacking and hand-beading is taking forever and a day, but it’s super-important to me that the jacket and the skirt match as much as possible, so I’m going to buckle down and deal with it because that’s what adults do (I think). I think I look like a Dickensian character, hand-beading m’lady’s gown until the wee hours of the morning so I can afford to buy my bowl of pig-finger-and-carrot-stew or whatever. Here’s two pics of the sequined strip with dangly plastic beads (I sewed all those sequins by hand, so at least those ten feet are done) as well as the top bit that I’m tacking down right now. When you see little blue or orange dots in the top part, those are the pins holding it on until I finish stitching it down.

And I’m making a big ole crab to put on my hip. I’m kind of depending on the three seastars and the giant crab to help to quickly identify what I am (ocean floor). The barnacles, tube worms, nudibranches, kelp and sea anemones are a bit more cryptic, so I’m hoping the crab and sea stars will do the job. I made the base of the crab’s carapace out of the most mundane of objects. It’s made of a couple of bent hangers, which I then covered with newspaper dipped in a flour and water mix. I didn’t want the shell to be rubbery and I was too lazy to research which factory-made glues resemble the glue used on casts for broken arms, so I just made my own like a pioneer woman. I then painted the undercoat white and put yellow on top of that. I don’t have any yellow in my costume yet and I’m trying to have all the colors, so this will be a yellow crab. Here’s a pic.

I was reticent to tackle the claws because I truly had no idea what I was going to do. I found some blue foam which I used all the time in college prop class and carved me up some claws that I covered with papier-mache as well. And then I realized I hated them. I didn’t like how all the corners were round and soft. And bonus, my apartment was now covered with a thin, itchy layer of powdered crunchy foam. It’s in bed with me now.

Eh. I hate working really hard on something and then chucking it in the trash, but sometimes you gotta do it. I cut a new claw shape out of illustration board and then carved new foam bits to give it dimension, then covered those with three layers of papier-mache and goshdarnit if they don’t look more crisp and claw-like.

Now I’m papier-mache-ing the six legs I also cut out of illustration board. Once those are done and painted, I’m going to assemble all the bits on the base piece and hopefully it will all come together like magic.

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