Friday, May 15, 2009

The Wizard of Oz - My Wizard Workshop in Bowral, Australia

Today some the cast came to our workshop to start picking up all their costumes, we have a huge parade through the Southern Highlands this weekend and everyone needs to wear one of their costumes.
Only two weeks to go.....

Farewell my little hats........ you pretty little things

and out they go.............. off to the Wizard of Oz

Above: Deidre checking off each item in the book in our little Wizard shop -

It is a little sad to see them leave our workshop

Only three more weeks to go until the show starts, I think I have aged 10 years in the last month. But I am still having fun. Here are a few more shots of the production of the costumes of the Wizard. Me above and below sorting and working on the designs. I started on the sets today with Andrew and the costumes will all go out next week. My eyebrow has been twittering every afternoon, (I'm tired, very tired). I have had the most wonderful women with me over these last weeks and although the hours are long and the work constant it is a brilliant production to be working on. (I will be back in Blog land soon - I am really missing everyone xx )

Our Ruby Red Slippers, What do you think ? We made four pairs.

One for each Dorothy, one for the legs on the witch under the house and one for the front of house.

Above: Deidre (Our treasured Grandmother of one of the cast, known as the Elf), who has been sewing, creating, cooking, and keeping everyone happy every single day at the Wizard workshop since day one - with her grand daughter Charlotte (sorting through boxes) who is eager to help in any way and always smiling. Right: More bling and one of the Ballet dancers, Chloe - Lullaby League dancers.

The famous blue gingham Dorothy dress, designed, created and hand sewn by yet another wonderful Grandmother, Marcia. What fun it has been to have her with us throughout these weeks.

The dress is exquisite - (or should I say dresses) as Marcia has made two Dorothy dresses.

For the last four and half weeks I have been away in my workshop with the Wizard of Oz. I am the Creative Director of the SHYAC production of the Wizard here in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. It is the 70th Anniversary of the Wizard of Oz and this production is huge, and I mean huge. There are so many amazing people involved in all the many different things from marketing and promotion through to lighting and sound. The director is a Wizard (well actually I think he is more a Dorothy) he is special and the kids adore him.

But oh my goodness gracious me, when I said yes I would help to design, style and make the costumes and paint and design all the sets, I really had no idea what I was getting myself in for. I have worked on many large projects before, but this is different. Firstly I am getting a little older and I am used to working by my self these last years, the days are short and very cold as Winter has arrived and I'm just not used to leaving my home everyday anymore. Just finding something to wear and leaving something out to defrost for dinner is hard (as we have had far too many take aways over the last weeks) and the worst thing is coming home to a cold house.

I am so exhausted, really exhausted and there are still three weeks to go. There are over 70 young children in this show and 330 costumes to make. Each day there are a couple of wonderful women who turn up and sew and help and they are very special. Grandmothers and Mums. The word is definitely spreading as today I had many women coming to help sew and take costumes away to finish.

I am that finding each day all I am doing is designing, pinning together costumes and creating the ideas for hats etc then passing them on to all the eager sewers. I have been sourcing all the fabrics, materials, bling, flowers, coloured bits and pieces for the last couple of months. Three weeks ago this workshop was completely empty and before we had this workshop most of this stuff was piling up in my back living room at home. Now it is full to the brim with colour everywhere and I am looking for more space.

It really is a wonderful job to be working on, but, I am also missing my blog world. I had plans to be documenting all this daily. However I cannot get near my computer, my phone, shops or my washing, my housework. My goodness, you should see my laundry. Gosh,,, do I need help.

Here are many shots over the last couple of weeks, this is me above (with the striped jumper over my shoulders) from behind co-ordinating many helpers that came to the workshop last weekend. I will try and get a photograph from the front. ha ha, next week. Tomorrow (Saturday) I am expecting quite a few to turn up and help and I have been busy preparing many jobs for many hands.

Above Glinda, the good witch's costume full of silver bling. The coloured costumes are for the Munchkins, the greens are for Emerald City and the the fur covered photograph below is the beginning of the lion costume. There are costumes for the Poppies scene, a Jitterbug dance (which was not in the original show). We also have two casts as well so two costumes of every main cast needs to be made. Two Dorothys, two Tinmen, two Lions and two Scarecrows. They are all different sizes and it also for health having your own costume. I know I would not want to be wearing the lion costume after someone has had it on for hours. Yuk..

Above: The many wonderful women, (sewers and painters) and above right the gorgeous Vicky, my great friend sorting all these costumes off my enormous list.

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to hearing from you, please leave a comment if anyone else ever been involved in the Wizard of Oz, I would just love to hear your story.

Oh I nearly forgot, we also made it to the front page of the local paper this week. This is a copy of the front page of the paper with my son Thomas (who is playing the Lion) going up in a wonderful hot air balloon.

As you may all know the Wizard of Oz leaves in a hot air balloon from Emerald City, so we organised a hot air balloon to take off promoting the up and coming Wizard of Oz.

Welcome to everyone from Julia's Hooked on Houses blog and from my wonderful friend Lisa at The Lisa Porter Collection in the U.S.A, I am totally hooked on Wizard of Oz - It is my life at the moment, I am even dreaming about it.


  1. What an undertaking!!

    I can not wait to see the pictures of all the costumes.

    Sorry I can not make the show as the cost of tickets from Iowa to Australia makes the show a bit pricey.

  2. You are one amazing lady. What an awesome project, and everything your fantastic. I am enthralled by all of the wonderful colors and textures.

    Everyone must adore you.

  3. Oh my goodness Coty!!! Wonderful! Gorgeous! I so admire your creativity! I love the designs, colors and fabrics! Soooo magical! It will be a smashing success! If I lived close, I'd be volunteering to help just to be a part of all the fun! I can see why you are so exhausted, but oh the joy of it all... especially when you watch all those precious ones in their costumes and performing!!! I know you are taking lots of photos to show us. I will wait with happy anticipation to see it all. Take your time... it will all be worth the wait for me! (: Vicki

  4. All I can say is Wow! My blog name should tell you I have been a lifelong fan of the Wizard of Oz. The colors are breathtaking and the costumes are perfect. This looks like such a huge but immensely rewarding job. I wish you had time to document every moment and more than that I so wish I could see a performance!! Thank you for sharing this!

  5. All of that beautiful fabric and those sparkling costumes! I can just imagine that this production is going to be such a feast for the eyes! I do hope you'll have a lot of help tomorrow! If you get enough help, perhaps you could send someone to your house to do the laundry! I can't wait to see pictures of the costumed actors. What a great publicity idea that brightly colored hot air bal. was! laurie

  6. ohhhhhh Coty...all these colors are so beautiful!! You did a hell of a job!!! and as combine the pictures so well...take care and I hope you are all right after so much work...

  7. OMG Coty.... I can see you are such a busy girl... but such a lucky girl! Wizard of Oz is just so dear to my heart. I have seen the original movie over 50 times. The costumes and colors in your version are GORGEOUS! What a fun project. Have fun...tired or not....what a great memory.... we'll still be here when you are finished! :)

  8. What an incredible undertaking you have taken on! The photos and colours are incredible. I'm in awe!

  9. Lisa Porter sent us all over for a visit and I had a great visit. You must be exhausted, that is quite the production (bless your creative heart) and just taking all those photos would wear me out. Will visit again!

  10. Oh, my gosh, I can't even imagine such an undertaking. Thank you for posting the breathtaking photos-the colors are magnificent! I can not wait to see the final costumes; you are so creative! As for the housework,there are times in all of our lives when our work takes priority and this is one of them for you. Don't feel guilty, just concentrate on the production and it will be there when you get home.

    As for Wizard of Oz, I haven't been involved in any productions, but I did make a pretty amazing tin man costume one year for my son-if you scroll down on the link. It took hours to make using poster board cut down to size for each body part, covered in tin foil and velcroed together.

    Love your ruby slippers!

  11. Hi My Friend this has to be the most incredible pictures & post I have ever seen.. it's like I fell onto a Fairy tale planet made of all the most luxurious fabrices & treasures.... God Bless you.... xoxoxo laura

  12. hi Coty, are you allright? I have been missing you for so long....

  13. Who needs to go over the rainbow, the rainbow begins & ends on your blog.
    Thank you for the tapestry.


Your comments and emails truly make my day a very special one. Thank you for dropping by and visiting me at home in Australia, I read every single comment and I treasure each and every one. xxx Coty