Block 277: December 7, 2013




Date: December 7, 2013

Crane: 277

Days Spent on Project: 294:

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Katherine H-N.

I met Katherine my first season at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays; she came with Jane G. as her Costume Assistant from New York and quickly was given a job as the Costume Designer for one of the festival’s featured plays. She was a recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama, one of Jane’s students there. She was also from Louisville.

In fact, a few years prior, she had been the Costume Design Journeyman, the position I held at the time.

I realized, at that time, the job I was doing could prepare me to leave Louisville and move onto better things. I felt like I was in a good place.

The show Katherine was hired to design was relatively straight-forward. It was modern. Two men, one woman. Set in Paris. It was a series of very nice, fashionable dresses on the woman, shopped in New York and in Louisville. I remember loving the dresses, printed chiffon concoctions that seemed very airy and romantic. One red dress was built; I think it had a sweetheart neckline, a very high slit, and the red skewed less intense than you’d expect a “sexy red dress” to be. It was great. I later used some of those airy chiffon dresses in a showcase I designed later that year.

I remember Katherine saying she was so excited it was again considered fashionable to dress more feminine. She was tired of wearing boots. She thought it was great that it was stylish to be a little girly again. That was 11 years ago.

Later in 2002, I got in touch with Katherine, letting her know that I would be applying to the Yale School of Drama; would she write a recommendation for me? She did.

When she heard I was accepted she sent me a book: Drawing Scenery for Theater, Film, and Television. I’m staring at it on my bookshelf right now.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve got Dance music on this morning, courtesy of Spotify. I’m looking for new music. Haven’t found it yet.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Well. Hmm.

When I had my chat/interview with the costume designer on Thursday, it was interesting to hear him say that we, as designers and artists, can fall into two categories: the Neurotic and the Psychotic. The Neurotic takes the burden upon him or herself, thinking that the work, the creation, the issues come from them and move outward. The Psychotic thinks that the work, the creation, the issues are thrust upon them from the outside. He said it’s more of a spectrum… no one is exclusively one way necessarily.

Which made me wonder… which side do I gravitate towards naturally? And is one side any better? I know I tend to take things personally. I take a lot of burden upon myself because I think I should be able to have the answers, and also because I want to do the work. Does that skew me more to the Neurotic side?

Interesting to think about. I’m not sure it’s 100% accurate but, thinking back on the work experiences I’ve had as an assistant and as a freelance designer, it does seem somewhat right.

Also, I’d like to point out that I sometimes feel like New York is ignoring me… all of New York, friends, strangers, work, etc. I feel like my phone calls, texts, and emails aren’t getting returned. Maybe they’re not getting through? Maybe people are ignoring me? Maybe no one wants to talk?

And, at times like these, I wonder if my friend the costume designer is right. Do I skew more Psychotic in my relationships some days?

Anyway, happy Saturday. Let’s make the most of it.

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