This was a costume project from uni! The piece was inspired by a drawing in a book called 'Faeries' by Brain Froud and Alan Lee. The drawing depicted a knight on horseback who had butterfly wings poking through his armour. I really loved this idea, so I decided to create a suit of armour that was faerie inspired. Originally I had designed the suit of armour with butterfly wings; you can see the final design in my gallery. For the final piece itself I left the wings off! This was because the muted colours of the material used for the garment clashed with the strong colours and finish of the silk I’d chosen for the wings. And as I quite liked the strong colours of the Macaw feather plume behind the head I thought both would be a bit too much.
The costume was made up of several pieces; the garment underneath, the armour plates, the plume and the scale apron. The armour was sculpted in wet clay on a life cast. I found that using thin store/credit cards to smooth the surface of the clay when it’s hardened slightly gives a very smooth finish. The various plates were then moulded in silicone with a fibreglass jacket. They were cast in bronze powder and fibreglass. I used antiquing fluid to darken the metal powder at give it a more weathered look.
For the scale section I sculpted a line of scales in Plastiline. In retrospect I should’ve sculpted one scale segment then cast out a bunch in fast cast to make a line of them. I moulded the line of scales in plaster and cast them in black pigmented liquid latex. I left the latex in the mould for about 40mins before pouring off the excess. I wanted the colour to match the armour plates so I dusted the black scales with a bright gold metallic spray paint, a rubbing of iron paste and a burnt umber acrylic wash. I used a sewing machine to sew the strips of latex to a fabric apron that ties around the waist.
As this costume was intended to be a museum piece, I wanted it to have a fictional history to give the various details and design aspects purpose. This was what I wrote:
Origin: Forest of Belom, Servogne Province.
Date: Early first century.
The people of Belom were often mistaken for the Fairies of folklore stories. This was due to their petite structure, aloof behaviour and their depiction of natural symbolism, mainly from insect designs on their clothes and armour. They are in fact Elfish in origin and live in secluded communities dotted around the Forests of Belom.
This suit of armour depicts the Belosian deity of protection ‘Ghofero’ who is usually shown in Belosian culture as a pastoral beast. He is often depicted as a goat or a deer. In this case the deity has been depicted as a ram on the back plate of the cuirass. This was used to discourage enemies by implying the deity was watching over the wearer’s shoulder. The hands on the armour represent the deity’s protection over the individual wearing it. The feathers used on this particular piece are reproductions of the feathers taken from the native Fengol bird. These feathers would have originally been used to indicate which tribe the wearer was from, as each community had a different pattern on the plume. The size of the plume would indicate importance and the crossing of colours would indicate particular allegiances between communities and families
I hope you like it! Feel free to ask questions any positive feedback would be welcome