Saturday, July 13, 2019

"Wig school" was so much fun!

DePaul University's Theater dept. offers a week-long wig styling & maintenance class, which I attended at the end of June.  There were only 7 of us, plus 2 students who worked in the university wig shop and were assisting the instructors.

I was a little intimidated to learn that I was the only amateur in the class.  Everyone else was a theater professional, most of them in some aspect of costuming (cutter, draper, wardrobe) who wanted or needed to learn about wigs because they sometimes got tapped for "wig duty" for one show or another.  Two of us had also taken the wig-making class taught the week before.  I might consider taking it in some future year, but for now this was plenty.

They showed us SO MUCH!  The size curls you get from different rollers, ways to color a wig (temporarily or permanently), how to wash a wig, how to wear and clean the lace on lace-front wigs, how to do your own wefts, how to do fingerwaves, and so much more.  Most of our time, however, was spent on styling wigs - setting the styles, drying them, brushing them out, then styling them.  I wasn't terribly successful - only got 2 right on my first try - but I took a lot of notes on what I didn't like and how to fix it, which is probably more helpful.

It was very productive, in that sense - we each styled at least 5 wigs in just 5 days' time:  an 18th-century man's wig, a modern man's wig, and at least 3 add'l styles (1940s, 1640s, and pre-Raphaelite for me).  I took so many pictures that I actually maxed out the data usage on my phone, for the first time since I got it 3 years ago.

Now I want to re-do some of the wigs I styled for my spring shows - the 1920s curls would look better, the 1780s "hedgehog" wigs would be bigger, bushier, and generally better.  As for the Duke's buckles, well, my first lesson was to use yak hair instead of the slippery, silky, static-y stuff on the wig I was trying to work with.  (Those side curls were the bane of my existence - I had to reset them for every performance!)

Gimme a period show to style, somebody, please!  I'm itching to use all my newfound knowledge! 😁

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