Goodbye Glitter: Swoon 17
I just cleaned my studio… goodbye glitter, glue, and iridescent fabric…another play season is over.
Being a graphic designer used to mean using your hands… it was active, it was dirty. The smell of the waxer was comfort. What is a waxer, well, in the olden days (like 1985) there were really no computers in graphic design. We created mechanical boards for every job… every page in a book, every poster, every business card. Those mechanicals were then sent to the printer with intricate instructions on tracing paper, the blueprints of the design. Text typeset by an outside company would be delivered via messenger every morning. The type would be put through the waxer (to make it sticky yet repositionable), cut out, and adhered to the boards… paste up. Every folio, headline, photo box, graphic element, and all of the text was put on the board by hand. Straight, clean, crisp. It was an art form. It was tedious. It was rewarding. It meant using your hands for precision work all day. Swoon.
Computers changed all that. There was no longer work to be done by hand… it was typing, using the mouse, eye strain, and carpal tunnel, oh good.
I needed a new outlet, and soon I fell in love. Plays. My first experience was creating a strongman costume for my son’s Kindergarten play. The plan was to to make “muscles” by strategically gluing the feathers from an old pillowcase between two shirts. What was I thinking? Glue. Feathers. Wind. My back yard looked like a poultry truck had exploded. A great learning experience… from then on I would go for the easy, think about materials, play out how it would all work out ahead of time. No glue, wind, and feathers combo ever again.
20 years later, I have made props, costumes, and sets for more plays than I can name. At the end of a run I happily clean up the materials and take a break from looking like a cheap stripper covered in glitter.
It only takes a short time before I miss being covered with glue. I miss smells. The computer doesn’t smell. The computer has no texture. I miss feeling my work… until in a blink, there is a new play, there is a new list of things to make, I start burning off my fingertips with hot glue, and once again… I am in hands on heaven.