amanda

About amanda

Amanda Mujica has been stitching since she was a child. She has completed coursework in garment construction, pattern-making, costume design, and textile printing and design at Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art and the School of Fashion Design.
10 Nov

Oceans Apart

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Nearly two years ago now, I saw an image of Alan Kurdi in his little red tee-shirt and his blue shorts lying face down on a beach. The image of that Syrian child made me weep. Somehow all the statistics and news reports of millions and millions of refugees had an image and it was brutal. But I could not look away and instead it propelled me toward the volunteer work I do today with numerous recently resettled refugees in Greater Boston and Lowell.

They have come so far and braved so much. They are fearless and funny and now many I call, friends. But my work with refugees has always been separate from my work as a costume designer. While we’ve shared meals and laughs and afternoons, the worlds of my work–both paid and unpaid–had remained apart until recently.

Last month I received a request to create a costume for a wearable arts show in Gloucester, MA. The request came from Jewelry Designer Sonja Gronstad whose work is inspired by the sea… by objects found along the shore in particular. The more we talked and the more she showed me seaweed that she was casting silver, the more a creation made of seaweed came in to view. But the garment also had to showcase and not overpower her delicate jewelry. So I envisioned and created a bustle made of three types of seaweed. (Sonja was the master-mind behind dipping it in rubber and spraying it with silver!)

But who to wear it? The answer to me was so obvious, someone who had braved oceans to be in America. Someone beautiful and strong, but maybe a little vulnerable too. Someone like my friend Sandra Kalambayi. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she and her family had fled her native country after her father was killed. They ended up in Uganda and in 2016 were relocated to Lowell, MA. She was the perfect choice for this unique piece of wearable art.

I remember when I first decided to volunteer with refugees, filling out the volunteer application… Do I fluently speak another language? No. Have I worked with refugees before? No. Have I worked in a third world country? No. What I didn’t know then is that those questions didn’t really matter. What mattered was, Can you be open minded? Can you listen and help? And I guess, can you sew with seaweed and guide a nervous model? On that day, how could I ever have imagined how my worlds would collide? And on a beach no less. The same place that compelled me to volunteer in the first place.

24 Mar

The Crazy Intersections of Art

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There’s a line in the play Really by Jackie Sibblies Drury when Girlfriend says, “I think art is important. Like really, I do. But maybe I only think it’s important because it’s the thing that I come closest to knowing how to do.” Each time I hear that line it resonates with me. Most of my days, I’m sewing or cutting or making something; I’m fitting someone or in the theater talking about a character or a play. I can escape to these places, I can be very, very busy in these places… I know what I’m doing.

But then when I stop, there’s the world swirling around me. And sometimes I don’t know what to do! Or how to do it?

While working on the costumes for the CompanyOne production of Really in Boston, I took a day off to attend the Women’s Rally with my 14-year old daughter. She in her Ruth Bader Ginsburg t-shirt and both of us in our pink pussy hats took to the streets of Boston. How do you explain to your child that the bully who had said some terrible things about Mexicans, Muslims, the handicapped, women, even the cast of Hamilton (godammit!) was our new President?! My only answer was to do something… on that day, march. Last month while I was at the Lyric Stage putting the final touches on the costumes for Stage Kiss, she marched again, this time at the Science Rally with her dad.

But I still keep asking what more can we do? What should we be doing? And I keep returning to the quiet of my sewing room where I sit now. And I really hope maybe as a country we’ll find a way through the swirling political rift that engulfs us much like theater artists find their way– by listening and creating and making and sharing and collaborating. But maybe I only think this because it’s the only thing I can think to do right now.

26 Dec

#FUN

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I am excited about 2017! First off, I am returning to CompanyOne–last year I designed the costumes for their production of “An Octoroon.” This year it’s “Really” a new play by Jackie Sibblies Drury. It opens January 25. Come and check it out. Double celebrating in store post-show–opening night AND my birthday!
https://companyone.org/production/really/

In February I’m designing “Stage Kiss” at the Lyric Stage of Boston. It’s a fun and funny play-within-a-play written by Sarah Ruhl. It’s a great design team. I think it’s going to be a great play to warm up a cold winter night!
http://www.lyricstage.com/productions/production.cfm?ID=118

Then in the spring, I’m back to designing for the opera and joining my friends at Odyssey Opera for “Patience.” It’s the final show in their “Wilde Opera Night” Series. Written by Gilbert and Sullivan and on the Huntington Stage, it should be fun!
http://www.odysseyopera.org/wilde-opera-nights/

 

 

 

4 Jan

Pictures Will Be Back Soon

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Just a quick note to let you know that the images from my recent work are not loading on my website. I am working on the problem and in the meantime if you would like to see images from a specific show I’ve designed or custom costume I’ve created please just email me. Sorry about this… the software/website that ran my photo gallery, went out of business. In fact, the entire website will get a mini redesign in 2016. Happy new year to all!

9 Sep

MY Season.

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I always like it in the spring when the local theaters announce the shows they’re doing for their upcoming seasons. I like reading about new shows I’ve never heard of or old shows that I love to see again. There’s this “theater flurry” and then Summer. And it seems like everyone retreats to the Berkshires or the Cape and the local theater scene gets very quiet. I like that transition.

But as I’ve written before, I love the transition to Fall. And that’s where I find myself this morning… thinking ahead, reading scripts, doodling notes, organizing binders. Getting ready for MY season. And I hope you’ll check out these all-new-to-Boston productions.
First off I’m designing the costumes for ArtsEmerson/Company One’s Production of “An Octoroon.”

https://companyone.org/production/an-octoroon-play/

Working with the same director as “An Octoroon” Summer Williams, I’m then designing the hilarious and disturbing and creative and-way-too-many-adjectives-just-see-it “Booty Candy” at Speakeasy Stage.

http://www.speakeasystage.com/bootycandy/

Then I am returning to Lyric Stage where I designed “Intimate Apparel” last season to design, “Mr. Burns, a Post Electric Play”. Yup, it features the Simpsons in all their animated style! Should be a crazy one to create!

http://lyricstage.com/productions/production.cfm?ID=91

I hope along the way to add a few more productions and if so, I’ll update you here. Maybe you’re like me and you too like to plan for a season-full of great local theater.

 

 

19 Jun

Quickly Changing To “Powder Her Face”

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I have had a busy spring designing costumes for Odyssey Opera’s British Invasion Festival. The latest one is “Powder Her Face” which I have lovingly renamed the “Quick Change Opera.” While the opera can be designed in numerous ways, Director Nic Muni and I decided to fully change all the characters except for the lead. What that meant was that three, super-talented singers–Daniel Norman, Ben Wager and Amanda Hall– would be playing 15 costumed characters in the span of roughly 2 hours. What this meant for the costume, wardrobe and wig crew was that every decision–needed to be made wisely and quickly!
Backstage all these changes are like a choreographed dance between performers, two dressers and our wig designer.
I thought it might be fun to fill you in on just a few of the tricks we employed for making quick changes…
Let’s start at the top, an old trick… find a fabulous hat, add a veil, add a turban wrap, add some feathers and trim… voila new look.

Moving down from there, let’s stop at the Duchess’ jewelry. In this production there’s some parodying of the Duchess… three sets of pearl earrings and triple strand pearls. How to get them off and on quickly? For the earrings, clip ons, of course. For the necklaces, we replaced the nudgey metal clasps with magnet clasps allowing both actors and the wardrobe crew a quick way to literally pull them off.

On stage, the Mistress’ dress comes off violently. Fabulous draper Ashley Collett made it with a back velcro “zipper”. When the Duke pulls it off that ripping sound is some colored velcro stitched along the zipper line.

Finally, the “Tried and True Underdressing” was employed. There are full costume changes “hidden” under this elderly English couple! With some careful planning I was able to design a whole other look that is later revealed. This was a fun one to design!

In a world of change and in a production filled with change, it is always great to reflect on constants. In this production it was our gorgeous Duchess played by Pat Schuman. Whew, she didn’t change at all!

28 May

“Wild Things” are Wildly Liked!

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Well the menagerie that was created for The Zoo and The Bear was wildly loved by audiences and critics!

Odyssey stages British ‘folly’ and ‘extravaganza’ – Music – The Boston Globe

I need to give a public shout out to my amazing crew of seamstresses, painters and fiber artists.
Susan Handler, Costume Shop Manager
Natalie LaChall, Draper
Holly Johnson, Painter
Christine Alger, Fiber Craftsperson
Cathy DeCoste, Applique Artist
Meghan Beohmer, Stitcher
Toni Elliott, Stitcher
Heidi Michel, Stitcher
Emily Wensberg, Stitcher
Andrea Zax, Stitcher
Meghan Dowd, Costume Craftsperson

And of course big thanks to the talented Wig Designer Rachel Padula. This was an amazing, hardworking team and I look forward to working with each and every one of them again.

And, funny I should end on that… I am working with many of them! As I begin designing and creating the costumes for Odyssey’s final production in their British Invasion Festival–Powder Her Face.

10 Apr

Where the Wild Things Are…

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…All around me, it feels like! I am designing The Zoo and The Bear for Odyssey Opera. Both are short, funny operas that will play together in a double bill opening in May at the Huntington Theater. I don’t want to give much away, but these are going to be fun, funny (slightly furry) shows! If, you’re in the Boston area, check out the full listing of performances.
http://www.odysseyopera.org/production/british-invasion-festival
Note: I’m also designing Powder Her Face for Odyssey Opera in June. Which is also kind of “wild” but in different ways!