Two Weddings and A Beheading – July 2012

And so wedding season is upon us again. I haven’t really done many weddings so far this year, but have two wedding make ups to do this month and two weddings to attend as a guest. The first was for Ruth, somebody I had not met before. She was having quite traditional make up, browny/purpley eyes, false lashes and pink lips. Her bridesmaids confessed they seldom wear make up and so, it seemed anything I did would impress them. Excellent. Luckily Ruth, and her bridesmaids were all beautiful anyway, which always makes my job much easier. It’s always an odd feeling to be in a stranger’s house, surrounded by their family on the morning of a wedding. It feels a particularly intimate time, the culmination of a year’s planning, the realisation of the brides dream. All her loved ones will gather together to celebrate and there I am, intruding on their day, eating their champagne breakfast and getting excited for them. They could not have made me feel more welcome though and it really is such a pleasure to be able to contribute to somebody’s big day.

The second wedding was for my cousin, Rachel. She lives near Macclesfield and so I travelled over the night before and stayed with her and her sisters. It’s a difficult balance to strike, doing make up for a family member. On one hand, I was there to do a job, Rachel had requested colourful make up, her dress was white, with scarlet accessories, we tried a few colours on her eyes before deciding on a goldy/browny/purpley combination with bright pink lips. On the other hand, she is my family; I want to drink champagne, faff about getting myself ready and giggle excitedly about the day ahead. Rachel was a beautiful bride; her choice of bright colours looked happy and youthful in the bright sunshine.

some of materials required for a latex prosthetic

The other side of July provided quite a different challenge. I had been contacted by somebody from the St Dracula crew to ask if I could make a fake head for a theatre production, heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The production, ‘Pool Of Blood’ is a horror musical, centred around magic shows and bodysnatching. It’s been a while since I have done any prosthetics and things did not get off to a good start. I had a very limited amount of alginate, enough for one head cast only. I’m not sure if it was due to the warm weather, or the water temperature, but the alginate set with 10 seconds of mixing. Oh dear! What now? I rang around to find if there was anywhere in the vicinity that sold alginate, but to no avail. One of the theatre technicians then suggested using a barrier of Vaseline and just layering modroc over that. I was a bit uncomfortable about this technique, having never done it before. I’m not entirely convinced its safe, but the model encouraged me to try anyway and the technician said he’d done it plenty of times so we proceeded. I was so relieved to finally take the cast off and be able to clean the model up, but my confidence had been knocked and so, whilst building the head from the cast, colouring it, applying make up, eyebrows, hair and lashes I constantly felt it wasn’t good enough. I know how expensive it is to buy silicone prosthetics, how time consuming they are to create and how latex is a poor substitute. I know that budget was limited, and time was a factor too – the show premieres in Liverpool at the end of July. I know that I did my best and that expectations were met, but I still wish I had done better.

My dream is to one day train in prosthetics, I’ve often priced up the training courses, but they’re unbelievably expensive. Far too rich for my blood. Even if I had the best training, budget would have required me still to use latex, time would still have been limited and the result would probably have been much the same. And yet I think I would have worked with more authority and confidence. One day, perhaps when I win the lottery, perhaps when I even enter the lottery, I will train in prosthetics. One day.

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