Update from Arts University Bournemouth

Sarah Buss
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Sarah Buss, is currently studying at the Arts University Bournemouth towards a BA (Hons) Degree in Costume and Performance Design. Sarah has chosen to specialise as a Costume Interpreter and has recently completed her second year.

Find out more about our Student Bursaries here.

I have had a lot of fun making exciting and varied projects over the last two years and I am looking forward to the working on the University projects in final year. My love for theatre started here in the Isle of Man and I have been fortunate enough to help backstage in the costume departments of many local shows, something which has prepared me greatly for my degree.

During the second term in the costumer interpretation pathway, Sarah has been concentrating on historical cutting and draping techniques, historical pattern drafting and reading, historical tailoring techniques and couture hat making.

Safe to say I have thoroughly enjoyed this term as I have been able to work with a wide range of beautiful fabrics and look at the historical context of garments.

During the first half of the term Sarah had the opportunity to make an historical recreation corset, modelled on that of the C.B 1890’s celebrated Bridal Corset. She chose to add a colourful twist to her interpretation by using green with contrasting pink decorations.

I loved getting to work with an historical corset pattern and using a spoon busk as my front fastening. My research showed that this was typically used in the period. I also enjoyed having a say in how it was decorated. I chose to create my own ribbon flowers to decorate the bust line, something which I enjoyed getting to experiment with.

Alongside the corset Sarah has learnt how to drape historical dresses on the stand. According to Sarah, this is a widely-used technique within the industry.

Using historical patterns like that of Janet Arnold’s Patterns for Fashion, I would look for where the design lines lay on the body before pinning fabric onto the mannequin to create pattern pieces that are exact to the wearer’s measurements.

For the last unit of second year Sarah has enjoyed exploring traditional and modern tailoring techniques whilst making an 1810-1820s Frock Coat.

I have loved this project due to the amount of new techniques I have learnt such as how to pad stitch a collar to achieve the perfect look, how to insert sleeves to industry standard and how to achieve the correct look for the period. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the amount of hand sewing involved in tailoring as this is an area which I explored before university through the Young Embroiders Guild and assisting backstage at the Gaiety Theatre. Similarly, when making my 1950s hat, I have been able to continue to improve and use my hand sewing techniques whilst applying them to a totally new skill area.

I would like to once again thank the Arts Council for their continued support of me and my work. The support has allowed me to access quality fabrics and relevant support material. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to study a course that I love and to have that support in doing so.

Thank you so much for sending us your updates, Sarah! We wish you the best of luck in your degree!


Quickfire Q&A

Sarah Buss

Q. What is your proudest moment to date?
A. After being accepted onto the course it would probably be the completion of my costume for the Gulliver's Travels unit in second year. I was able to have a lot of fun with this costume as I had beautiful colours and fabrics. It was a challenge but I really enjoyed the process and it is fabulous to see a completed garment after starting with a drawn design!

Q.  What are you hoping to do after your degree?
A. I would love to work within the world of Theatre, Film and TV as a costume maker. I'm quite open to seeing what opportunities come up at the end of my degree, however I would ultimately love to work in a costume workroom making a variety of different costumes.

Q.  What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking about applying for an arts degree?
A. I would say go for it! If you have a real passion and a love for what you do it will shine through in your work. I would also say to try a variety of different art styles before, whilst and during applying for an arts degree as it gives you a broad range of skills and an appreciation for your contemporaries in your chosen field.

The next deadline for our Student Bursaries is the 22nd August 2018. If you'd like to find out more about our Student Bursaries then you can find more information on our website here. If you'd like to chat to one of our team you can email Isabella.Hawke2@gov.im or call Isabella on 694596.

If you'd like to read more of our Student's Stories you can read about Micha Quayle who is studying Dance and Drama at Studio 10 in Liverpool. 


A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government
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