Annabel Reader in a stilt costume

Costume Studio Demo Artist Annabel Reader

Annabel Reader will be in the Costume Studio demonstrating fantastical costume design September 8 and 9, 2017.

Holly Nordeck: What will your demonstration at the DAM be like? What will you be showcasing?

Annabel Reader: I’ll be working on a new costume. It is an imaginary creature, a cross between a deer, a human, and a flower. It will be a two-legged stilt costume. I have been sewing together old sheets, upholstery fabrics, and clothes to make the fabric which I will then make the costume out of.

HN: Do you think your background has influenced your work, if so, how?

AR: I was taught that art is important; I was encouraged as a young person to follow my whimsy, maybe not necessarily a “wise" career option but [believing that art] is important has influenced me as an artist.

I have been fully influenced by my travels (Himalayas three times, India, Europe, the United Sates, Canada). The theatre of life in these many countries and seeing the many different ways people experience and celebrate this wild wonderful world we live in. Through travel and study and seeing the incredible waste and harm that the fast-fashion industry creates I am working on using materials that I either make, find, are used, or are going to be thrown away. I strongly know that there is enough in the world that we don’t need to make more, and while I am making more through the creation of costumes I try to stick to my beliefs in a way that supports my art and repurpose rather than use new as much as possible.

HN: What are your favorite materials to work with?

AR: Thrifted fabrics.

HN How do you think costumes can enhance a performance?

AR: For me, the best costumes are the ones that help suspend the reality that we are so strongly rooted in. While I do many “reality” plays (There are other times when they create the reality such as a play set in a certain era) the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that build other worlds, that make this “normal” world into the true magical place that it is. If it can be thought up, it can exist. Wonder. Curiosity. It is a theatre of hopes and dreams, full of longing and loneliness, losses and disillusionment; of tragedy and comedy, of absurdity and naiveté, of cruelty and gentleness. Costumes can and do tell this story even without sets and music and voices.

Annabel Reader grew up in New Zealand. She received a bachelor’s in performing and screen arts and has traveled all over, working as a dancer, dance educator, and personal trainer/rehabilitation professional. She currently resides in Boulder, where she owns and works at her stilt performance company, EyeSoar Performance.

Holly Nordeck is a program facilitator in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. She loves the museum’s modern and contemporary art collection.