Costume Designer Mark Bridges: Still Image from The Artist

THE ARTIST- Costume Designer Mark Bridges

The Artist movie (The Weinstein Co.)

The Artist- a film still

A moment of love, anticipation, self-love, longing and peace. Mark Bridges articulates the dress of Peppy Miller here played by Bérénice Bejo to stand out from the background curtains and wall. He designed/chose the dress with stripes and  swirly motifs, of sequins in patterns which all separate her from the surroundings. Because the film was transferred into black and white, Mark Bridges had to be mindful of this phenomena so that depth and the dynamic use of space with figure is maintained visually and carries the story in an exciting way. Mark Bridges does this brilliantly.

Above is a black white collage of some ladies in contemporary 20’s fashion. I created it. The ladies are connected to the abstract trees. In this case I had to separate them away from their environment because the  patterning that is in their garments is also in the trees. Close to camouflage. This is the opposite to what Mark Bridges had to resolve. His characters had to stand out in the sets at all times.

To freshen your memory, watch the trailer of  THE ARTIST  by Director Michel Hazanavicius if you can. You gotta love the 20’s style.



I  came to the conclusion the other day that I often try to bridge Western and Eastern thinking and here is an occasion of that.

Bauhaus mask

Schlemmer Masks from Bauhaus stage workshop

Trickery is an ancient art of survival whether you are a god or a mere mortal. Rhea fooled Cronos in order to save their infant son Zeus to become an Olympian hero, Hephaestus exposed the adulterous love between his wife Aphrodite with lover Ares, Hermes stole objects from the gods for fun, so too women have had to become cunning in order to not get overpowered by male forces.

Hermes Greek Trickster God

Hermes Greek Trickster God


Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks

Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks

‘Glamourie’ is a Scottish Faery term for illusion. ‘Cast a ‘glamour’ over the senses so that things aren’t what they seem’ has become part of my inquiry into costumery, textiles, and the roles of human play in daily life. As a practitioner in the way of the arts I have become conscious of how this ancient art of ‘deceit’ is a necessary invention that keeps us in the realm of possibility. The theater of Glamourie to which I allude to is a stage that mediates between emotion and perception. Below is some visual research for the artist residency I will be attending at the Oxygen Art Center this December with exhibition from January 9 thru to 6th of February 2016 in Nelson, BC.

The following images show costumery from different points of view. The choices are endless so I selected a few such as an illustration of the body masking with geometry

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder

masking with anatomy


masking with shadow and light

masking with architecture

Architecture and costume
Architecture and costume
                      We are never complete as human individuals, this is our beauty in constant play and our path towards self-realization. In Zen Buddhism the Enso circle can be painted open or closed. If it is open then we are in progress, if the circle is painted closed, it represents perfection and perhaps full self-realization. We can recall Plato’s perfect theory of forms and his distrust in the world of appearances and constant change. To a Plato thinker a circle doesn’t exist in the physical reality of space and time only as an approximation of the real thing and which can only be known through reason. 

Greek Myths include the fairies who may have been inspired by Greek gods and goddesses. Fairies actually developed from the concept of the Fates, dance, and ritual. I wonder which ‘glamour’ will bless the artist residency in Nelson? Which of the 3 Fates or Moerae?- Clotho the spinner? Lachesis the measurer? Atropos the cutter of Life’s thread? Yikes! I have to be prepared and accept the challenge regardless of what may come to pass.

The Three Fates

The Three Fates

‘Glamourie’ is the agent that lets loose our characters that block inner freedom; an awareness that illuminates a small sword of truth in all that we are.






Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69

Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi


While I have just stepped into examining KINGS already there are more than a few to admire. One of my favorites is  Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi. The Magi are presented here as individualistic, peculiar, grotesque and sophisticated all at the same time. Hieronymous Bosch lurks in the postures. They are exaggerated in an illustrative way; elongated, appearing wise and carrying peasant worn faces of the Flemish Renaissance.  Robed in their own elegant style, their dignity overrides the bustling younger community around them.  Mary caped in sky blue welcomes the 3 strangers with open arms, as she clearly knows they have traveled to Bethlehem following a miraculous star, which has lead them to this nativity scene. Jesus is indulged by their presence and smiles back at them. Their fashion flows between jester, royalty and native non-western ceremonial attire painted in the classical palette of reds, blue, van Eyck green and soft warm whites. Within the ordinary the extra-ordinary (our ‘star’)  guides us. How would you cast the remarkable in your life?

Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine II by J.B von Lampi 1780

Voltaire called her “STAR OF THE NORTH”. Catherine the Great was a strong proponent of European culture, of art, literature, the education of women and expanded the Russian Empire in western ways. My kind of King in Queen form. Gorgeous decadent color combinations in her attire. However, in her own words on fashion “I did not make beauty or finery the source of my merit, for when one was gone, the other became ridiculous, and only character endured.”  I get it but my mum was ‘royal’ and to her from style your character was born so I will lovingly disagree.

Diego Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

 Look at his unusual  luscious lips, boyish hair and significant nose! A dandy underneath hard exteriors. Mean to Jews, expelled them from France, a nepotist, not a big fan. A fabulous portrait of light, flesh and color, however. Say no more.

Ferdinand VII by Goya

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes
portraiture of the King of Spain- Ferdinand VII

Something went wrong here. Head and body aren’t connected, his flesh discolors from face to hands, feels like he hopped into some fancy clothes without showering. Can smell his odor, even. Better to have a standin. The formalities of duty call for the ‘pose’ and back to  lordship we go. The background seems unfinished, the legs of the horses on the right are cut off, perhaps two paintings merged into one? Bloated with conceit Ferdinand loves himself, a power that had to pop. Definitely disconnected from his environs. Not impressed.

Portrait of a King- by sam tk

Portrait of a wounded king- by sam  tk

So forget all the grand posturing, really, who are we kidding? I protest! Acknowledge all the wounds that lie herein, I bring thee the opportunity to face them. Yes, we are wounded by our histories, of all our failures, of all our melancholia that forced us to bore into the earth and retrieve something new over and over again. All strata of society and culture need a cathartic release from all this bruising. Let time collapse our tragic past from all kinds of domination.

Instead, let’s turn towards the royalty we are. Inhabit our grandeur within, sing to it with all our heart, let it store within us like a long lasting preserve, a delicacy of profound sweetness. Measure ourselves with the grace of the small, for they smooth all our hard edges and ask us to dance with the gods.




Video by T.REX




TIME TO GET OUT OUR KNITS – great smile! my sisters dressed like this when I was a wee one. FANTASTIC!

metamorphoses-david-bowie-sizedCLASSY AS ALWAYS…got to meet Bowie one day. Time he had an art critique of his paintings.


WHY NOT, RIGHT? polyester blue….hmmmm…white zipper  boots please!

punk-770x495“…and punk? you never let me down..”

STRUT FASHION SHOW’ 13 -backstage photos

BACKSTAGE AND WAITING…My dancers at STRUT were a knock out! Thank you super much for all your effort in our collaboration Josie, Zoe Sam and Hannah! They dressed in loose chopped bottom silver pants with second hand grey t-shirts chopped at waist and reconstructed with silver components. And of course they were on point! Sam Ringer is a former contortionist who fused an independent streak of flexibility and together they made an excellent team. I am super grateful and proud. Video footage is coming!

S'AMUSE delivers in fabulous attire

S’AMUSE dancers wait backstage…

IMG_1047 IMG_1098 IMG_1095 IMG_1055 IMG_1072 IMG_1099 IMG_1101 IMG_1081




ZOE AND ARI are once again my dancing poets but only this time on the street. Life goes on in the neighbourhood; dogs get walked, lawns are weed-wacked, cars unload, meanwhile a brief pause of rhythmic whimsy unwinds the day. A moment of realization that life really isn’t complicated when all we want is to belong and celebrate with another and allow for another kind of stability to flow…Life is good for sure.
Enjoy everyone!

Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson

Lately I have been engrossed in watching dance from classic hollywood of the 30’s and 50’s to that of more recent pop culture. The entertainment world is alluring and fantastic. I know it is corrupted too, but that isn’t my reflection here. In some flukey non-linear way I started to watch Fred Astaire and Michael JAckson and began making comparisons. You are all thinking, ” well of course saM!”. I never saw Fred Astaire actually perform, but I did see MJ back in the 80’s. Join me and watch the similarities and differences in choreography between Fred Astaire and his dancers

( Silk Stockings, 1957) to that of Michael Jackson and his dancers


Despite attitude, social behaviours and cultural agendas of their differing eras Michael Jackson learned a lot from Fred Astaire. They don’t share ‘classy’, but they do share the genius spirit that comes from being possessed to entertain. What is remarkably similar in their entertaining styles is that both locate themselves centre among a dancing body of people. Whether as gang members or the sophisticated possy of well dressed men, MJ and Fred are leading the stage. We know MJ to embody a sexual stage presence despite his weird facial metamorphisis, of frequently grabbing the crotch, while whimsical and chivalrous Fred Astaire uses his humorous charm and cane acrobatics to secure the attention of his audience. Equally true is their theatricality, they both embrace exaggeration for effective story telling.


The freedom to move in suits across the distances of a stage also rubbed off on MJ. As we know the suit is the overarching dress icon symbolizing men, which I doubt will disappear. I say that knowing full well Coco Chanel structured the same for women. I don’t know about you but I am OK with that. Suits can be exquisitely handsome on men and women if they are cut well and fit one’s physique. A black tailored suit or tails with a white crisp shirt have remained current throughout the decades thanks to the impeccable dandy George Bryan ‘Beau’ Brummell (1778-1840) and the evolution of London’s Savile Row fine tailoring. Here’s Fred in Hollywood 1935…top hat and tails…what a happy guy!

Putting On My Top Hat

let’s really be serious tho, NO ONE comes close to Annie Lennox in suits…annie-lennox


If I were to analyze the delivery of their messaging I would say MJ dancing in the second video is flatter technically, constructed from artifice and fantasy with movement compressed to the foreground compared to that of the dynamic, all consuming and motivating presence of Fred Astaire. Michael Jackson expresses the dark state of “dangerous” and Fred Astaire somehow angelically stirs fire, lightening the load of life.

What amazing gestures of human spirit!



‘Not Impressed’

The interpretation of these images are a reflection on the creative process and what their expressions elicit. Hannah and Zoe are in a temporary zone, not interested in engaging in anything outside their world. Their group aura is impenetrable, tight yet flexible and supportive among each other. The Four dancers in this post are wearing costume design by S’AMUSE- aka Sam TK. Bomber caps and scoodies are for sale on store site


‘Bring it On’

Strong, malleable and have an instinctive nature for composition in space.


Circling by extension, A Pol’sh Move

Time to extend out to find new ground and listen to their creative process on how to move forward…expansion from a core.

entering cohesion

Contraction of Ideas

and contraction, new possibilities happen ‘on point’ and at very specific moments in time…


Timing is both serendipitous and inwardly vigilant

Ari prepping and gathering strength from a huge well of energy.


Reverie is Bliss

Thoughtful, taking a break gazing at the scenery out the window of the fantastic building called The Blanchard Building in Barre, VT. Their private reverie is telling of  the wisdom that comes from spending time alone and being with the unknown. There is a great amount of satisfaction that comes from risking and developing a relationship to the unknown…we are all in the same boat. See video by Lars Hasselblad Torres of these dancers wearing S’AMUSE.