"Costuming as an Art Form: The Creative Process from Script to Stage".

Hinz, Lindsay, Drama - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
West, Gweneth, Department of Drama, University of Virginia

Art embodies exploration, expression, execution, and communication of an idea. My thesis explores costuming as a form of collaborative art in every stage from script to production, and how the five stages of creativity: first insight, saturation, incubation, illumination, and verification apply to each step of the process.

Chapter 1: The Fundamentals of Art
Chapter 1 focuses on the different elements of design in art, such as line, shape, and color, and how each of them affects the overall mood and feeling of the artwork for the viewer. This chapter introduces my variation of Getzel’s Model of Creativity as a spiral model that includes the five stages of creativity. Through analyzing the five stages of creativity as an artist and using examples of my work in Figure Drawing class and Graphics class, I explore how the stages fit together as the steps of the creative process. My illustrated book, Orpheus and Eurydice, the final project for Graphics Class, serves as a primary example of the use of the elements of design and the stages of creativity to create a world from words, similar to theater with the script as the basis of creation.

Chapter 2: The Design Process: From Script to Rendering
Chapter 2 breaks down the art of costume design as I have learned and developed my methods, separating the steps of my process into script analysis, world research, character research, thumbnail sketches, line, color, and final character sketches. Using different examples of class projects and realized productions that I have designed, I explore in depth how the stages of creativity vary in length from production to production depending on the challenges that arise with collaboration, communication, and time. This chapter explores costume design as a form of art by applying analysis, research, visual arts, and creativity to exploring, communicating, and sharing ideas for the look and feel of the characters in a play.

Chapter 3: The Technical Process: From Rendering to Stage
Once complete, the design sketches pass to the costume technician who brings to life the vision captured in the sketches. From my experiences working on productions in educational and professional settings, I have learned the key questions to ask before starting a new technical project, which ensure complete understanding of the vision. Communication between costume designer and costume technician at this stage of the process is essential. Together, designer and technician work to create the costume visualized and agreed upon by the designer and director. This chapter breaks down the art of costume technology as I have learned and established the process in graduate school and professional costume technician jobs, separating the stages into draping, mockup, fitting, cutting, stitching, embellishments, and accessories. The stages of creativity in my spiral model apply to projects from my costume technology classes and costumes made for realized productions. These examinations show that the art of costume creation stands as a vital and valid parallel art form to the art of costume design.

Conclusion: In the Audience
My thesis concludes by discussing how costume design and technology go hand-in-hand and one cannot be done without knowledge of the other. In the collaborative art of theater, the designer and technician must know how to communicate and work together to create a unified vision for the costume and character. Lastly, I describe how seeing the production with an audience verifies the creative process of a costumer. All the work done for the costumes is analyzed, reviewed, and critiqued by observing the production as an audience member and witnessing the reactions of the surrounding audience from the professional theater critic to the casual viewer.

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
theater, costume technology, costume design, costume, drama
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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