At work, we’re in tech for August Wilson’s Fences and our costume designer, Helen Q. Huang, wanted a porkpie hat for the character of Lyons. Trouble is, we don’t have a porkpie crown block in the correct size! However, that was not insurmountable.
Here’s how my crafts assistant, first-year grad student Adrienne Corral, built up a crown block to create this great hat!
Research images that Helen and our director, Seret Scott, love.
If there were time, we could have purchased one, but there was not.
A floppy Dobbs fedora from stock, whose crown has lost its pinch.
Can we make this a porkpie? Yes.
Base block, a cloche block carved by
former technical production graduate Laura Merola (’09).
This block is slightly smaller than the actor’s headsize.
First Adrienne built up the crown to a bit of a dome shape with oil clay.
Dome covered with foil.
Piping core that will form our porkpie ridge,
and foil tape that will help smooth our block surface.
Two rows of piping stack to form the ridge, and a sleeve
of thin Ethafoam helps smooth the outer line of the block.
The top of the block, ready for foil covering and blocking…
Adrienne uses a pullerdown from DeCou Studio to block the hat.
The blocked crown in our ventilation box being sized.
Finished hat, ready for stage!