Local designer Margie Preninger makes one-of-a-kind things every day, but she rose to a new challenge when she decided to take on the task of creating a massive, 3D Brant Goose.
Preninger heard through Facebook that Parksville city councillor Carrie Powell-Davidson, and the Nature Trust of B.C., were looking for a designer to help them create a mascot for the local Brant Wildlife Festival. Having worked on all sorts of projects in her career, including a layered wedding dress fitted with 50 yards of fabric, Preninger welcomed the task. But it took a lot of research, brain power, skills, creativity and time to bring the costume, called Lucie the Brant Goosie, to fruition.
“As an artist you really have to dig deep when you do projects because they have to come from your heart,” she said. “So I seriously slayed dragons, had self-doubt, did the whole thing, but I’m so proud of her now.”
Preninger graduated from Ballenas Secondary School and went on to the fashion institute of technology in New York City, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree with a focus on design and apparel production management. Following that she lived in New York and Los Angeles where she worked for big companies like Jones New York and Warnaco. She’s had a design, alteration and sewing business in the area for 22 years called Klozhaus Clothing Designs, as well as teaching in her studio and online.
During the early days of creating Miss Lucie, Preninger decided she would use cardboard for the base. Big into recycling and reusing, Preninger decided to get her cardboard by doing some dumpster diving, and that’s when she met her first big obstacle, some broken ribs.
Soldiering on, Preninger got to work creating a giant goose mannequin so she could better plan out all the different fabrics and materials that would adorn the giant bird. Powell-Davidson’s ideas for Miss Lucie included creating a friendly-looking bird that children would love, but also a diva goose with an elegant and flamboyant attitude.
“So she is going to strut her stuff with some pomp and circumstance but she’s also very funny in that she isn’t all that,” Powell-Davidson explained.
Powell-Davidson wanted her to resemble a real Brant goose, with the same markings and colouring, but she wanted luxurious materials, complete with sparkles and pearls.
Preninger was onboard and chose a stretchy, velvety textured material for the body, and a shimmery black fabric for the head. The Brant’s white neck band is embellished with pearls and the white tail is a soft white fabric with silver sequins. Preninger created patterns for the fabrics.
Now came the hard part.
Preninger said she’s really into math and science so she researched a number of mathematical ways to give the goose its three dimensional shape.
That’s when she discovered two dimensional nets, which give the optimal configurations for creating a certain three dimensional shape.
After making her calculations, she cut the cardboard into the appropriate shapes and then began folding and hot gluing every opening until a 3D shape took form.
Another important piece of the project was it had to comfortable for Powell-Davidson to wear and friendly looking.
Powell-Davidson said Preninger’s hard work paid off as Miss Lucie is comfortable to wear and the children love her.
“I’m completely pleased with her,” said Powell-Dadivson, “And The Nature Trust, who paid for her, they are very pleased.”
Powell-Davidson said she thought Miss Lucie would be a wonderful way to promote the Brant Festival all year round, as well as be a mascot for the area.
Miss Lucie is booked in at the provincial Nature Trust of B.C. convention in Vancouver in October, among other events.
“She’s getting calls from arts and craft fairs to show up, she’s going to be in the Canada Day Parade and anywhere else people want her to be.”
For more on Margie Preninger visit her Facebook page called KLoZHAUS Clothing & Textile Design Studio. To contact Powell-Davidson visit her website www.parksvillebeachparty.ca.