Bird Costume for Laurie Anderson Tribal Fusion Bellydance

I danced to “The Beginning of Memory” from Laurie Anderson’s Homeland album at Mamuska (Exploratory Theatre Salon) curated and run by Brigit & Antonella. I wanted a slow-motion projection of birds in flight and Brigit sourced the dove footage (courtesy of Ed Braverman – thanks for permission 🙂

I wanted monochromatic black for the costume but ended up adding some red sequinned Sari material into the underlay of my belt. For the top, I chopped up a top that I made for Anna for a recent photoshoot with David Nugent:

I embellished the Furisode style sleeves with a load of Raggy Gypsy scarves from Penneys and hand-stitched the fabric roses on afterwards.

I had a certain kind of thing in mind for my headdress and came across two things that looked similar – one was an image Brigit sent me:

The other was this:

This is what I ended up with:

First Step

I used green gardening wire to make the wing shapes and then sandwiched them in between two pieces of stretchy black fabric, pinning around the contours to establish the sewing line. This made a little “pocket” to slide the wire frames into:

Second Step
I used an old elasticated sequinned belt for the headband. I used a fairly thick darning wool and needle to hand-sew the wings onto the front of the band (I did a bit of messing around seeing how and where I wanted them to sit on my head beforehand).

Third Step
I was thinking of fussing and buying a load of new black feathers but realised I didn’t need a whole load of them to get a good effect. I considered some Maribou trim that I had but Maribou trim is just always suggestive of the kinda stuff you usually see Maribou trim on! I already had a packet of small, soft, downy black feathers and an old hairband with stiffer, pointed ones and the two of these worked pretty well – the downy ones for the base and the pointy ones to accentuate the top. I didn’t even need that many – about four in total for each. I hand stitched them on for better positioning. The wire was still easily manipulatable into better shapes underneath the feathery sheaths too.

Fourth Step

The most fun part … drape liberally with things of a charm, chain and trinket like nature!
I will come up with a more permanent fastening mechanism which I didn’t have time to do for the gig – I just fastened the belt at the nape of my neck with a bobble which stayed no problem 🙂

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~ by FAFA on April 3, 2011.

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