Steampunk Makeup Project with Don James McCullough

Being a teacher of theater and art, I often meet talented students who have a passion for creativity. Jessie Hafer was one of those students that stood out. Her commitment to theater makeup was evident, and she plunged into her own research and began to volunteer to do makeup for our local theater productions. She also enrolled in Manning Academy for professional training.

Being an active artist as well as an educator, I asked Jessie to help me create a project that would take our collaboration into a professional level. I created the costumes and designs for six fairy tales: Jessie modeled the main character costumes and did all the makeup for each character.

Since fairy tales are common themes among artists, our creations had to stand out from other such works. We decided to follow our interest in Steampunk for our retelling of the familiar tales. My experience in working with paper constructions led me to tell the stories entirely with paper creations. Every costume for the project was made solely from paper. No wire, no cloth, no thread, no wood. Just multiple and varied forms of plant fiber and adhesives.

We were joined by a fantastic creative mind and professional photographer, Lisa Marie. This began a year-long series of creating and staging six old fairy tales in a new way. Our collaborative team was dedicated to this project while all of us continued other pursuits, including school and careers.

We have created greetings cards to match our tales and are producing a picture book, as well. Jessie's talent and training guided the central inspiration of this project.