“My practice seeks to use the craft of costume design and making to produce clothing that can tell a tale both on stage and on screen, whilst also standing alone as a piece of art.”
“The transformative elements of my costumes seamlessly integrate the clothing into the performance as the wearer removes layers of their costume to become a part of the set they belong to.”
Costume and Set Design
BA (Hons) Performance Costume
Edinburgh College of Art
“Hello, my name is Liberty Bramall and I am a set and costume designer from rural North Yorkshire. After a wonderful four years realising a variety of design briefs at Edinburgh College of Art I graduated from my ‘Performance Costume’ degree this summer. I have always been enthralled by the stories that are woven into our clothing and the memories that individual garments harbour; thus as a designer I have enjoyed forging my own relationship with the craftsmanship that lies behind costume construction to reveal these retentions.
I have developed a method of working where I use detailed clothing designs to explain complex stories. For me clothing has the matchless ability to express distinctive ideas in multiple forms – stories can emerge from the way the patterns that adorn the surfaces of garments are drawn, to the way that a material has been cut or manipulated across a body. During my studies I was encouraged to experiment with a variety of textiles techniques and sculptural making methods and these explorations have allowed me to express different stories through the many different fabrics I created. My practice seeks to use the craft of costume design and making to produce clothing that can tell a tale both on stage and on screen, whilst also standing alone as a piece of art.
My work revolves around site-specific performances where the costumes that I design become the stimulus for my storytelling. I produce clothing that has multiple functions, such as millinery that transforms into lights and skirts that detach into soft furnishings. My practice utilises the costume design and tailoring experience that I fostered during my degree to explore the boundaries between our material possessions and the emotional responses we have to tangible experiences. I use decorative textiles to portray my ideas and I develop colour palettes and patterns that carefully represent the content of the stories I want to represent during my performances.
When producing clothing for the characters in my performances I adorn their costumes with images or textures that I design after extensive research into their experiences or into their role in a script. I transfer ideas from storylines onto their clothing, for example I may include the figures and objects they encounter in a narrative to their clothing via a screen print or a hand drawn motif. Then I would use woodwork and millinery wire to build larger than life silhouettes that would house my complex textiles.
Ultimately, my final pieces are often garments where every inch of fabric has been treated as a canvas for storytelling. The many layers and sections of the costumes I make give a series of clues into the character’s life prior to and even during their role in the performance. The transformative elements of my costumes seamlessly integrate the clothing into the performance as the wearer removes layers of their costume to become a part of the set they belong to.”
Materials and Techniques
“I like working with calico as I find that if I begin the costume making process with this plain cotton fabric, I have free reign to develop my own textiles. I treat the material as a blank canvas that I am then able to create layers of detail on top of to transform a lifeless material into an unrecognisable and complex fabric. I use hand-painting alongside screen printing, embroidery, applique and felting. I also construct many of my designs from millinery wire and woodwork.”
Awards, Exhibitions and News
“I moved to Italy on September 1st to partake in six months of work for a Theatre in an Education Company on the Italian Rivera. I am helping the company to produce costumes and props for their touring actors to use as they travel around Italy teaching English to primary and secondary school children. The work has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to transfer my making skills to a quick paced environment and make multi-functional props and costumes for over 30 actors, which must be original whilst being both durable and easily transportable.”