Breaking from our normal discussion of Before & After’s, we’ve opted to highlight some of our past designs for Wearable Arts over the years.  This was our 9th year to participate in the design of the JAHC fundraiser, and we could not be happier with the results!  Year after year, we consistently challenge ourselves to incorporate new concepts and to push a little farther than the year before; as we continue to explore new territory of theatrical event design.  

How did you come up with the concept and what inspired it?

The concept of the show was derived from our desire for a theme that would incorporate a tremendous amount of color and be left open for interpretation by the artists.  We were also interested in incorporating more videography too, which was an element first introduced in 2013’s Organix show by Patty Kalbrener.  With video on the brain, we thought it would be a cool element to shoot a “music video” for each model and the director’s, Shona Strauser, background in professional theatre guided us towards the Motion Picture Industry; resulting in Technicolor!

Did you have any difficulties or challenges?

One of the biggest challenges in this year’s show was achieving a schedule that would accommodate the production of the videos.  Not only did thirty-nine entries need to completely finished and shot a week before the show, but it was also a goal to capture the “making of” these artistic pieces starting back in November.  Time was also required for the coordination of the music, choreography, and editing of the footage too.  Fortunately, with only a few minor technical difficulties, the production schedule kept everyone on track!

Design wise, we still needed to light the space in an over-the-top, colorful way.  We opted to construct large drum shades and illuminate them with LED lighting.  The construction of these elements was challenging because they had to be large scale, light weight, and cost effective.  We ultimately discovered that PVC piping was the perfect framing material because it was also strong enough to maintain its form once the fabric was stretched tightly around each drum frame.  The programmable LED’s also allowed the lighting designer, Mike Inwood, to achieve an endless amount of effects to coordinate with the music videos and further personalize the runway for each piece of wearable art.

Favorite memory of this year or years past?

The challenges overcome each year usually result in being the most memorable!  One of our favorites was “Altered State,” where we projected images on the back of weather balloons for an unusual effect.  Not only was this the first year we incorporated inspirational video and images from the artists, but ensuring the balloons would stay inflated throughout the weekend became a concern as well.  Another balloon related challenge was “Cirque du Pluie,” where we created a grand scale chandelier in the shape of a rain drop made up of hundreds of upside down balloons filled with one cup of water.  Achieving the shape was a true test in geometry to say the least!

For “Organix,” we wanted to create a large chandelier that supported the theme of incorporating materials that were raw and as unaltered as possible.  The resulting chandelier was made up of hundreds of light bulbs, each dropped from a single cord.  The real challenge was powering the chandelier in a way that allowed the lighting designer to control each bulb individually; giving it the “sparkle effect.”

During the shows “Carnival of the North” and “Between the Tides,” the literal creation of over-sized backdrops was achieved by carving Styrofoam insulation into the shapes and hand painting them.  While it was very time consuming, the effect was quite realistic.

Is there anything else you may want to add?

While we have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of such a huge community event each year, we have decided to take a year off to regroup and accomplish a few other goals on our list, but look forward to rejoining the team again in the future.  Thank you to all of the volunteers that have been involved in creating Juneau’s best event and for your continued support of the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council!

The studio of Bauer/Clifton Interiors- a local source for quality products & materials- is located in Downtown Juneau at 119A 2nd Street.  Additional photos of their projects can be seen at or on Facebook & Houzz labeled under Bauer Clifton Interiors.