Film and TV

'A Foreign God'

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The story of a vulnerable man's struggle to cling onto his talisman, all consuming faith. The film follows Thomas, a homeless man, from self imposed solitude to crushing disillusionment as he battles with increasing interference  to his belief. A lost soul wandering through the streets of Edinburgh, he searches for divine meaning and and renegotiates his position in society. I ran the costume department for this film, my main responsibilities were designing and organising as well as being on set during filming. I worked with the director to achieve his creative vision and with a small team I designed the costumes for 14 characters, breaking down and distressing a number for the homeless characters. I was in charge of controlling a small budget so devised a budget plan for the film and with this sourced costume pieces.

Theatre

'Summer on Stage 2015'

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  Summer on Stage is the annual production of three performances.

'Mancub'

Adapted by Maxwell from John Levert’s novel The Flight of the Cassowary, sees 16 year-old Paul dealing with the increasing traumas of teenage life by drawing into himself and, he believes, taking on the form of various beasts.

As the beasts become increasingly problematic and intrusive, it becomes a brilliantly conceived metaphor for all the turbulent emotions of that age. It draws you into Paul’s world and blurs the line between fantasy and reality as he returns to school after a lazy summer holidays.

Originally written as a three hander for Vanishing Point, and premiering at the Traverse in 2005, the LYT production under Xana Marwick’s direction, widens the script out for an ensemble cast of 26 – while adding judicious little updates to the lines to keep it contemporary.

 

The Children

The older group of LYT participants take on Edward Bond’s 1999 play, The Children which was written specifically for teenagers to play, although with two parts for adult actors.

The Children follows a gang of youngsters who leave home after a calamity which falls on one of their number, Jo, when she is coerced by her mother into setting fire to a house on the nearby new estate. Far from being empty, a young boy is still in the house and burned alive.

Caitlin Mitchard gives an appropriately neutral telling to the central role of Jo. Troubled with an absent father and a mother given to drink to dull the ache of her job, Jo finds solace and companionship in a life-size child puppet which she drags around, but which she is trying to abandon.

When her mother’s emotional blackmail forces her to carry out the fire-raising, Jo tells her gang of friends and, to cement their complicity, they ritually brick the puppet to death.

 

Film and TV

'Lucid'

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A SHORT FILM BYL J BARNES

As we watch the life of Sarah drain away through the eyes of her fragmented mother we piece together the tragic path her daughter has chosen.

For this film I was in charge of the wardrobe on set, organising the costumes, dressing the actors and maintaining continuity whilst filming. I worked with the designers to get a clear understanding of the looks they were creating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9pLgVx4DU4

Film and TV

‘From The Hill’

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‘From The Hill I Can See Everything That Happened To Us Here’ - Neon Eye Films https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6UB8VefIaA

Grace, Annabelle, Thomas, Eliot and Susanna are five young adults living in the beautiful and ancient, yet mercurial and drunk city of Edinburgh. They waste away hours in clubs and bars and sleep away the daylight in expensive flats. To be young, rich, beautiful and free is all we hope for …

And yet, after the death of their friend Clinton, a shocking start to the film that sends ripples through the remaining storyline, existential angst crawls out of the woodwork like worms. The bonds of their friendship and the bounds of their sanity begin to deteriorate, with the express help of the beautiful, Machiavellian main character, Grace.

I was head costume designer on this full length feature film. I was in charge of organising the team, looked after petty cash, and created budgets, call sheets and schedules. I made sure these schedules were followed and overall monitored the day to day running of the department. As the costume designer for the production I researched and designed for all the characters. I also sourced appropriate clothing from high street and charity shops keeping within the budget. On set I dressed the actors, helped with set dressing and kept notes on the costumes for continuity checks.

Theatre

Magnetic Opera - ‘La Bohème’

Thomas Henderson – Director

Calum Fraser – Conductor

Molly McDonnell Finlayson – Designer

Tom Turner – Lighting Designer

Magnetic Opera Orchestra

Textiles

Textile Design

The Exterminating Angel - textile design

Design, Projects

The Exterminating Angel

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Concept

Bunuel’s surreal black comedy is a parable that satirizes social norms, artistic pretension, moral hypocrisy, and the Catholic Church. Luis Buñuel was strongly connected to the surrealist movement and I’d like to convey a connection to surrealism through the costume and style of the cinematography. I’m interested in designing mainly for the society group and then also for the Major-domo of the house to create a comparison between the two groups. I’m designing for 12 characters in total, including Edmundo Nobile and Lucía de Nobile, the party hosts. I’m interested in exploring the disintegration of social behaviours that happens as the group remain trapped in the room, I think it would be interesting to have layers to the costumes that are gradually revealed to maybe begin to show the secrets of the group or play upon the seven deadly sins that can be seen in many of the characters, including greed, lust and pride. And I would like to explore the possibility of using these sins to create laser cut pieces and digital prints that sit beneath layers in pastel tones juxtaposing the symbolism of pastel tones (which suggests sweetness and innocence) with the harsh reality of their actual behaviour and aggressive excess. I want to design for a contemporary film, focusing on a slightly futuristic, fantasy style – films that I’ve taken inspiration from include Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola and The Hunger Games by Gary Ross. I want to explore the wealth and excess of the society group and represent this through exaggerated shape, 3D textiles and pastel and primary tones. I’m interested in exploring a fantasy element creating a world in the film where the social divide between the rich and the poor is represented by the stark difference in clothing – colour, shape and textiles – the excess of the wealth shown through the society group comments on the continued extensive divide between the haves and the have nots, I’ve been exploring the Surrealist Ball held by the Marie-Hélène De Rothschild on December 12, 1972 and I want to use this as a basis for creating the party scene held by the Nobile’s. as it highlights the very real divide that exists within society.

                              

Plot

Edmundo and Lucia Nobile, a wealthy society couple, invite a group of twenty friends to their lavish estate after an evening at the opera. For various, vague reasons their servants desert them as the guests arrive, leaving the bourgeois group to a truncated meal, a pretentious piano recital, enigmatic and sometimes absurdist conversation, boorish manners, and indiscreet romantic assignations. At 4 a.m. the Nobiles begin to question why no one has left, and when the dawn arrives, the estate’s major-domo is unable to prepare breakfast because the usual delivery of daily provisions has mysteriously not arrived. As the day drones on, they slowly begin to realize that they are gripped by an inexplicable inertia that keeps them confined to the room. They make no conscious attempt to overcome their constraints but accept this self-imposed quarantine because no one else seems to make the effort. In the days that follow their behaviour deteriorates as they use a closet full of expensive ceramic urns to relieve themselves and smash into a wall to break a water pipe to drink. Authorities that have surrounded the estate find that the same invisible barrier keeps them from entering the mansion to rescue the group. As the health and mental well-being of the occupant’s degenerates, they argue among themselves, begin to take drugs, and slaughter the sheep and lambs that in explicitly wander the inside of the house for food. They finally realize that in order to escape they must repeat their actions from the dinner party. When they escape the house they go to church where the whole congregation becomes trapped inside the church and a revolution begins outside. The film finishes with three sheep running into the church.

     

https://issuu.com/abigail-king/docs/exterminatingangelmay9db

Design, Illustration, Projects

'Beauty and the Beast'

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https://issuu.com/abigail-king/docs/finshedbbdesignbookmay8

Concept:

I have designed a site-specific immersive theatre production of the fairy-tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’, reinterpreting the traditional fairy-tale to include elements of Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’. The production draws upon the elements of oppression and violence against women from both stories to tell the story of Beauty as she goes from submissive girl to powerful, dominate woman. This well-known fairy-tale is retold as a site-specific immersive theatre piece to create an atmosphere of drama and tension. As the audience follows the action I wanted the closeness of the action to create an uncomfortable atmosphere and force the audience to feel like they are participating in the performance as more than just a passive audience. The story lends itself to an immersive theatre piece as it allows an audience to be fully drawn into the action and the site-specific location helps build up the drama and force in the narrative.

The overall production design for the show takes inspiration from voyeurism in order to heighten the sense that an audience is secretly watching the action unfold, as if watching a real couple interact. For the costumes the design draws upon fetishism and sexuality to create pieces that explore gender differences in fairy-tales and that emphasise the subverted nature of the fairy-tale.

Plot:

The story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ revolves around Beauty, a gentle, submissive girl and her family. Her father has remarried and is often away on business, leaving Beauty alone with her stepmother and two stepsisters; who treat her like a servant, forcing her to wait upon them. During his business trip Beauty’s father loses all his money to the Beast; unable to pay his debts the Beast agrees to accept his most prized possession – his daughter, Beauty. Upon returning home he tells his family what’s happened but Beauty saddened to leave, obeys her father ever the dutiful daughter. She leaves for the Beast’s castle, when she arrives she is ushered in where she meets the Beast’s servants and led her to see the Beast in his study. Beauty leaves her room to attend dinner, seated at the end of the long table is the Beast, he leers at Beauty; appearing interesting, mature and suave he slowly starts to engage Beauty in conversation. He offers to show her around his castle, guiding Beauty through the castle he abruptly stops in front of a dark corridor he gestures to the door at the end and orders Beauty to never go into that room. At the end of the tour he grabs Beauty, pushing her up against the wall in a hard embrace; growling like a lion he sets her down and abruptly leaves. Beauty left breathless returns to her room filled with anticipation, thinking that what has just happened is a sign of love and believing that she will become the mistress of the house. Over the next few days the Beast and Beauty dine together, he shows her more of the castle and they spend the evenings in the library etc. Beauty discovers books and art that shock her; the Beast’s collection of erotic pieces begins to unsettle her as each night he grabs her, hinting at a darker side to his affection, this feeling of uneasiness stays with Beauty throughout her time at the castle. The Beast asks Beauty to marry him. Afterwards he carries; almost drags, her to their bedroom violently consummating the marriage. He appears almost deranged. (Creating deeply unsettling moment for an audience heightened by a set that plays upon voyeurism, the sense the audience are willing watching/participating in the story.) Beauty wakes up to find herself alone in the dark. The Beast prepares to leave on a business trip; he gives Beauty the keys to the castle, she holds them in her hands feeling their weight, and he repeatedly holds up a single key and reminds her not to enter the door off the dark corridor. She promises to be good, waiting for him to return. Beauty waits, moving from room to room trying to pass the hours away. She finds herself continually drawn to the forbidden door. Opening the door she is greeted by darkness. Her candle offering a faint light shows the room to be an ancient dungeon; around her are alters each displaying the persevered body of the women who came before her. In horror she drops her candle and runs out of the room, but the smell of death clings to her. Hearing the Beast returning home she hides in her room, he calls out for her; finding no response he walks through the castle calling for her to answer him; he enters the room in a blind rage, finding her cowering in the corner he pulls her up, shouting at her to confess. Running through the castle the Beast chases Beauty, she realises he means to kill her, completing the cycle of his religious sacrifice. In order to make it out of the castle alive she knows she must stay and fight. Grabbing a small knife she hides it behind her, turning to face the Beast as he charges towards her. She pulls out the knife and plunges it through his heart, she repeatedly stabs him whilst he lies motionless on the ground. Standing over him drenched in blood Beauty realises how taken in by the Beast and by her surroundings she was. She overcomes her feelings of self-doubt and fear, realising she is now truly in charge of her future, she takes charge of the Beast’s fortunes, Beauty orders the Beast’s head to be stuffed and mounted and then displayed on the wall in the great hall.

Design, Illustration, Projects, Textiles

Foundation Projects

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A selection of my work from my foundation course; Peter Pan insect research, fairies final illustrations and costume for Wendy. I focused on creating a human world that was historically accurate and then a magical world that was surreal and contrasted the human world.

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wendy Fashion and textiles workshop

fay Palimpsest project; I explored the effect of attitudes held during the 1950s, I staged a photoshoot and layered the images with old 50s adverts gradually building up a decay effect using ink,wax and burning, representing the eroding effect of these attitudes.

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Projects, Textiles

Firebird 2nd Year Project

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design2  design4 design3 design7 design6 design5 My intention for this project was to design costumes that highlight the differences between reality and fantasy. I wanted the human world to have a different style of dress to the characters in the fantasy world in order to create a contrast between them so that children watching the play could follow the characters. I looked at traditional Russian dress for the Tsar and his family as I wanted to keep the design based in the story’s history; I based these characters on the Romanov family, because of the Romanov’s reputation for extreme wealth and luxury which are key character traits in the Tsar and Katya but also because they had strong family values. Colour is also very important in creating a distinction between characters; I’ve used rich colours for the Tsar and Katya, symbolising their wealth and status but for Prince Ivan, who is clumsy and initially a disappointment to his father, is dressed in muted colours to create a distinction and to show how he is an outsider in the royal family. Vasilia’s costume is all white to represent how she is pure whereas her captor Koschei wears black. I made the costume for Baba Yaga, the witch in this play. I used a bright colour to act as warning symbol, showing the children watching that Baba Yaga is an evil character. I also drew upon the mythology around the character and created her jewelry using small animal bones to represent how she would keep the bones of those she trapped and had eaten, without being too gruesome for a young audience.

Projects

Roy Lichtenstein Dance Project

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http://issuu.com/abigail-king/docs/designbookfinal3yr?e=27245190/41411136

We were asked to use the work of Roy Lichtenstein as inspiration for a dance costume, collaborating with Edinburgh's modern art museum and Edinburgh college dance students. I was drawn to the pieces of his work that featured his famous 'Ben-Day' dots, and with nudes and surrealism. I was keen to explore how he abstracted form and the female body using the dot pattern and I created a costume that reflected this, using 3D forms and pattern to change the appearance of the dancer's body and altering the audience's perception of the performance. I designed four costumes, all based around a bodysuit and 'dot' head piece. I wanted the four dancers to interact with each other creating a piece that connected all of them; the 3D forms are detachable and I wanted them to be moved around from dancer to dancer altering the appearance of each piece as they moved.

Design, Illustration, Projects

Macbeth design project

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I took inspiration for my Macbeth design project from dystopian fiction writing and the growing unrest and turmoil in the real world as I wanted to explore the increasing similarities between the two. The conflict around the world has grown over the years, leading to wars, huge refugee crises and environmental disasters. I wanted to create a look for a contemporary film that commented on the irreversible oblivion that the world is heading towards and the story of Macbeth works well when adapted for dystopian fiction. I wanted to create a dystopian world that would resonate with the viewer; the turmoil of the natural world is slightly reflected in Macbeth through the use of pathetic fallacy, I want to exaggerate some elements of Macbeth, weather will be more dramatic, looking into issues of climate change that are currently effecting the world. Creating tribe systems that reflect societies social structure and reflecting our human weaknesses.

Duncan is leader of one of the surviving groups. There are clashes with other surviving groups, humanity hasn’t been able to reconnect with each other. Tensions run high as each group fights for survival. Loyalty, is first and foremost, to the group; Macbeth serves under Duncan, but after one clash with another group he encounters the witches (members of a separate group, outcast women, and non-conforming to other groups’ power structures) their prophecy of new power and success sparks the inner turmoil in Macbeth. His human nature, the part of him that sees the good in Duncan, the best part of him, his admirable qualities, fights against the id; which is selfish, greedy, ambitious. The selfish nature overrides the good, Lady Macbeth exacerbates his desire, forcing him to bow to his ambition. Macbeth kills Duncan, he steps into Duncan’s role as leader. This puts into motion a series of other murders which ultimately leads Lady Macbeth to take her own life from guilt and Macbeth is defeated and killed. Although Macbeth was set in the 11th century the themes of ambition, betrayal, fate, and the nature of the ideal king along with others, are still very relevant to a contemporary audience.

I want to use my version of Macbeth as an examination of a world which reflects our own. I want a contemporary audience to recognise the similarities and critically examine this as a warning of what could happen to us. Macbeth is led to believe he is invincible, that he can distort the natural order of things and manipulate society, we as a modern society are doing the same, through our desire for bigger, better things and progress. People with power believe they are untouchable, not accountable to anyone. Governments ignore the voices of their people, minorities are discriminated against, and wars rage in countries across the world. Natural disasters and the effects of climate change keep getting worse but oil companies are still allowed to drill for fossil fuels. The UK is the only G7 country to cut renewable energy subsidies and boost non-renewable and nuclear energy funding. We live in a selfish world, we aim to get what we want, when we want it, there are clear divides between ‘them’ and ‘us’. Our overreaching ambition to be the greatest species on the planet, to be the most powerful, the most prosperous, the most secure has led us to become isolated, we allow our success to come at the expense of poorer countries. We are heading for disaster, our greed and desire (like Macbeth) will lead to our ultimate downfall.

Design, Projects

Macbeth Redesign 3rd Year Project

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http://issuu.com/abigail-king/docs/historicaldesign234?e=27245190/41411018

Macbeth - By William Shakespeare

The costume explores the juxtaposition of femininity and masculinity that is present in the Macbeth's; focusing on Lady Macbeth's obsession with power and strength that contradicts the traditional, passive role of a wife. Emphasising her harshness and aggression by combining the silhouette from the period 1910-1915 with contemporary textiles that could be used to bring a hard edge to the softer style of dress.

Researching the Edwardian's fascination with flowers and their meanings and I decided to incorporate a floral print into my design; using something considered beautiful and delicate but that means the opposite, I used Ginger - ambition, White Hollyhock - female ambition and Starwort - welcome to a stranger, referencing Lady Macbeth's true nature and her false face of civility. I used the flowers to create a CAD embroidery design and I photographed some decaying flowers manipulating the image to create a kaleidoscope effect and turning this into a digital print.

For the silhouette I manipulated the jacket pattern, embracing a stronger, more defined shoulder creating the impression of masculine shoulders that suggest power and dominance. I also incorporated sharp edges and points on the jacket and dress referencing the sharp point of a blade and the danger associated with a knife.