Regular readers will have enjoyed Volunteer Sarah Brumfitt’s account of her early ‘Artistic Life’. Sarah currently works with Salisbury Museum’s costume collection. Her activities today follow on from a career of costume and scenery design, mask making, and set design and construction – in theatre, TV and film.
In the 1970s Sarah moved from Sheffield, where she had been based at the Crucible, to London. She taught there at the Association of British Theatre Technicians in Soho and continued, freelance, with such as the London Opera Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Sarah explains that jewellery pieces, like her creations shown here, are only detailed if for television or some films. In the theatre, simple, bold creations are required so that they make an impact from the distance of the stage.
Similarly, masks for ballet had to be delicate for ease of movement, while those for stage productions had to allow for the sweep of a sword or other action!
Although married by the time she was in London, Sarah continued her work into the new millenium. She was involved in the production of the Gwynneth Paltrow movie of AS Byatt’s ‘Possession’ in 2002 and a few years later produced these beautiful models for the Beatrix Potter Experience at the Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness on Windermere.
And finally, ‘Spitting Image’ has nothing on these! For a Thames Television political piece, Sarah produced a collection of masks which included Harold Wilson, JFK and Richard Nixon.
Ever the technician, as well as an artist, Sarah explained that masks like these always had eye holes other than the eyes of the mask. Here, the person wearing the mask was able to see through the creases below the eyes..
Salisbury Museum is very lucky with its volunteers. We hope to hear from more of them in the coming months.