The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane's costumes were designed by Jenny Ampersand and inspired by 1920s and 1930s fashion. We asked her to tell us more about her creative process with Director Marcella Crowson and how their ideas translated to the stage.
"During our research for the show we looked at images from the 20s and 30s. Lots of Dorothea Lange photos of people during the dust bowl. Since Rory [Stitt]'s score was such an integral part of the show, we researched musicians and, as always, gravitated to images of Woody Guthrie of the time. He became the inspiration for James' musician. We also found some images of clothing from the 20s as well as contemporary clothing which had a pieced together quality. Inspired by designers like Ivey Abitz, we strove to create costumes that a contemporary troop of actors could wear today, but had a period feel in their shapes and details. I played with lots of layers and textures, cool buttons and trims, and a fun distribution of color while paying close attention to how to create simple effective changes for each of the many characters who Edward meets on his travels."
"[Edward's] wings were inspired by some fabric artists who make scarves printed with wing images we found during our research for the show. [Director Marcella Crowson] was hoping for the wings to effortlessly appear and to be seamlessly removed. A light, flowing fabric with a wing image seemed like the way to go. We decided to create the wings ourselves since, one, painting fabric would be a super fun process to learn, and two, we could have full control of the color palette and fabric. I ended up painting the wings on China silk using water based gutta and liquid silk paint. The design has the constellations mentioned in the show in the background which most people won't see, but it's a fun detail that makes me happy."
Jenny Ampersand is a costume, set, and mask designer. She is an associate artist with PETE and just opened her sixth show with them, [or, the whale]. Other local credits include, costumes for Third Rail's The Realistic Joneses, Liminal's 7 Deadly Sins (Drammy Award), Wobbly Dance's You Too Are Made of Stars, puppets for Strawberry Theatre Workshop's This Land-Woody Guthrie, scenery for PETE's Enter THE NIGHT, PHAME's Up the Fall, Consolidated Work's Antony & Cleopatra, Empty Space's Ming the Rude, and scenic painting for Arkham NW Production's film Cthulhu. She received her BFA in Scenic and Costume Design from Cornish College of the Arts.