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Carnival and Outdoor Performance

I joined the carnival scene in the UK rather unexpectedly in 2001.

Following the completion of my degree in Fashion Design and a Jellyfish costume for Southampton Carnival, I discovered Ali Pretty and her team running an exciting production of puppets and costumes for Ryde Carnival.

There I met the legendary Murphy Winters, structural engineer of  Peter Minshall’s large backpack costumes,  and decided I would immerse myself into his world of structural wizardry: I helped him pattern-cut the body shapes of a 3m tall puppet from laminated sheets, as well as decifering the importance of a detailed technical drawing, working with scale, and building backpacks from aluminium, wood and fiberglass to hold an endless range of rods in a multitude of forms.

I was swiftly roped into sculpting two giant african puppet heads for Celebrate South Africa and from this day I never looked back. Kinetika and Ali empowered me with creative opportunity: I started off by desinging make-up, making kits to face-paint hundreds of people and a lot of fixing of wings. I volunteered for a period of three weeks for three years, as long as Murphy was there I would be.

I made my first large-scale pair of wings from design to completion in 2004 for Derby Carnival Queen. And my passion for making “BIG” expanded.

From then on I felt very comfortable dressing large sctructures like the Bengal Tiger, I Pattern-cut and sewed giant wings and dancers’costumes using the finest batik silk, Prototyped headdresses and costumes to Ali’s brief, dealt with most of the structural side of costume and flag making- ensuring fiberglass rods would stay within the fabric and be reinforced in the necessary areas, made backpacks for smaller and larger costumes up to 4 m tall, pattern-cut and made costumes for giant puppets, as well as implementing a breakthrough in scaling up design work using photoshop.
All of these with their own complexities, troubleshooting issues with wind, rain, sun, dirt. Everything to be made lightweight, durable and quality most of all.

Alongside this- facilitating making techiniques “the Kinetika way” to hundreds of aspiring artsists, volunteers and members of the community.

I love working with people, be this collaborating on concepts and makes, or facilitating learning.

I believe where there is Carnival and Outdoor Performance, there is a greater understanding, sharing and grasp of culture. Here, doors open. This is the world I wish to live in, and through my work, I support.

My relocation to the South West has opened up new relationships and new opportunities, locally, nationally and internationally, leading me to a language I can call my own. I am certainly looking forward to being part of developing the arts in the South West, while continuing on my ventures in lands near and far.

Here are images of work projects I am proud of.