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.
19 Jun

Quickly Changing To “Powder Her Face”

2019-06-26T07:42:10+00:00By |

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!

2019-06-26T07:42:14+00:00By |

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…

2019-06-26T07:42:14+00:00By |

…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!

18 Feb

Making Intimate Apparel in Blizzards

2019-06-26T07:42:14+00:00By |

For those outside of Greater Boston, that title is not a typo. There is an “s” on the “B” word. Getting supplies, fitting actors and loading in “Intimate Apparel” at the Lyric Stage this month has been a challenge to say the least.
What has not been a challenge has been the “escape” to my sewing machine. Like the title character in “Intimate Apparel”, Esther, my old sewing machine has kept me company through many a dreary day. And for this show escaping to corsets and lace trimmed camisoles and silk robes has kept me sane.
Early on in my costume design process for this show, I decided I wanted to make some, but not all, of the corsets. I made two and they took me nearly two weeks. (A wise decision not to tackle them all. The other three were made by the super-talented Isabella Bray in sunny Cali.)
The publicity crew at the Lyric Stage made a video of me talking about corsetry. I thought you might like it. And that it might provide you a little escape from the winter of 2015!
http://www.lyricstage.com/productions/production.cfm?ID=88&multimedia

28 Jan

A Distressing Story… or Miss Havisham’s Odyssey

2019-06-26T07:42:14+00:00By |

As I was leaving an opera performance in Boston of Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night, someone asked me if the costume she wore, and that I created, was vintage? Part of me wanted to lie and say “Yes, so old, just so dreadfully old!” And part of me wanted to tell the truth, “Hell no!” (As I recall I said something polite like, “Well, no, it is a modern gown that I made look old.”)
Distressing costumes is a process. In the case of Miss Havisham… a long one. You basically have to take the costume to “another place or time.” In this case, from like the “Polyester 1980s” to 1850!
Quick background… jilted on her wedding day, Miss Havisham has been in her wedding clothes for 50 years. In the opera she recalls the terrible day and her life since. I designed the costumes for Odyssey Opera’s production at the Modern Theater in November 2014. The short opera played in a double-bill with “A Water Bird Talk” starring Aaron Engebreth.
Back to my distressing tale… I started by sanding the entire dress with sandpaper. Then I slowly started staining it with fabric dyes. I had three pots–light grey, light yellow and a tan/tea color. Using a wide brush and a rag I worked the dyes into the fabric paying particular attention to where stains might naturally occur–armpits, center front, center back, all along the hem!, etc.

But this polyester wedding gown that I started to think was manufactured by either a bullet-proof vest company or a sports bra manufacturer was not looking old. Not at all! Time for the rasp and the drommel.

Yup! I was takin’ this dress down–working both tools from top to bottom.

Miss Havisham does quite a bit of candle toting so I added some wax (in the form of hot glue). I also melted actual wax on her gloves.
No bridal gown is complete without a lovely string of pearls.

Finally, Boston wig designer Rachel Padula made her a fabulous wig. To which we added some cobwebs. I actually added cobwebs all over her gown and trailing from her veil.

All-in-all it took over 10 hours of dying, sanding, and ripping to get Miss Havisham just right.
Here she is in all her glory on her wedding night. Played by the beautiful Heather Buck, Miss Havisham looked like one sad, vintage bride from long-ago, but now you know the whole tale!

24 Nov

Odyssey Opera Spring Festival Videos

2019-06-26T07:42:14+00:00By |

Odyssey Opera recently uploaded videos from their spring festival. I designed the costumes for these operas. It is wonderful to see them again. For those who missed it (or like me, like seeing it again!) check out these beautiful videos created by Kathy Wittman at Ball Square Films:
Un Giorno de Regno

Zanetto

Il Segreto di Susanna

25 Sep

Back to School… Back to Business

2014-09-25T10:38:46+00:00By |

I have to admit I am one of those people who are happiest when they are busy. It’s why I like Fall–I have my routine and my activities planned. (Plus cute sweaters and wool skirts just make me happy in general!)
But I also realized, after teaching sewing for the month of August, that back-to-school is also reconnecting and inspiring. I really enjoyed teaching. It made me want to sew more and I couldn’t wait to see what my students (creative 5-50+ year-olds, but mostly kids!) would create–A. made her mom a skirt; P. made herself one and her favorite doll one too; and C. & S. made me laugh with their mustache-inspired creations and super-fashionable bags.
Daily, while teaching, I thought about my first creations–the lime green apron I made my mom in Home Ec.; the triple pleated, high-waisted pants I made for myself in a class in the 80s; and the first costumes I ever made and saw on stage–tuxedo jackets for a production of “Follies.” Teaching reminded me of how frustrating and exciting making something of your own can be. And it reminded me daily how much more there is for me to learn.
So I too am back-to-school this Fall. I am enrolled in a Tailoring course at MassArt. While I do a lot of tailoring alterations and have made a jacket or two over the 10+ years that I have been in this crazy business, I thought honing my patternmaking and tailoring skills would be a good idea. I also decided to sew for myself which I almost never get to do these days. I’m making a wool jacket and skirt… well right now I’m making patterns for these future creations.
For work I am back-to-school too! I am at the Belmont Hill School designing the costumes for their fall production of Diary of Anne Frank.
Work and homework await me… better get busy! :)

15 Jul

A Whale of a Time Even After All These Years

2019-06-26T07:42:14+00:00By |

In the summer of 1998 I went to a cookout in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in Boston, and met Diane Edgecomb, a storyteller and performance artist. Wearing big sunglasses and her petite hands going in all directions, she began telling me about a project she was dreaming about–twin Greek goddesses, fully costumed, roaming the Boston subway system and perhaps meeting up with a Minataur and maybe Athena and there should be masks and the audience should be involved in the experience. “Is this ANYTHING you’d be interested in costuming???” Cue muzak and little floating hearts above my head! I made all those costumes we talked about that day and along the way, made a great friend and collaborator.

Over the years, I’ve made for Diane, Kurdish-inspired clothing; a costume that would “work” under a straightjacket and that she could hang upside down in; pants and belts… some with bug designs; and fun stuff for her audience (especially kids!) to “get in on the action”! From witches to wizards, a little Irishman (in a myriad of woolens) and countless others along the way, these characters have taught me about other cultures; they’ve reminded me that my work can be varied and fun; and they’ve allowed me to get to know this talented performer so well. This summer it was costume pieces to work with her Water Wizards show–whales, crabs and wizard-ry-ish stuff. It’s all been a whale of a time and I hope for more of it!

Learn more about Diane and her performances for adults and children at her website Diane Edgecomb’s Living Myth