Art Nouveau Chairs

The Ladies Man, by Charles Morey
Scenic Design by Erin Hemming
Ohio University, 2016

Hecor Guimard Research
Hector Guimard Research

The designer requested a third chair be built to match two Art Nouveau chairs we had in our stock, but with arms added. The stock chairs were based off a 1900 Hector Guimard design, but one of the stock chairs had partial carving that needed to be finished.  All subsequent details for the rest of the chairs had to be based around what the original artisan began to ensure the set matched.  I finished the carve on this chair before moving on to the rest of the project. The challenge became striking a balance between making the new chair look like a part of a set with the stock chairs, while also improving its resemblance to the original image.

For the construction of the new chair, I began by tracing the shape of one of the stock chairs. I created a front and side template for the legs, and glued up layers of poplar to cut out the blanks on the band saw. The chair back was doweled before being cut out so it could be properly clamped.

I looked at 1912 Guimard chair as inspiration for how to integrate arms into the chair. I adapted the shape of this 1912 armchair with the design of the stock chairs’ carved details. The height and length of the arms were determined by taking measurements off the rehearsal chair. The final shapes were decided by looking at the pieces on the chair frame itself. A notch was chiseled into the sides of the chair back to naturally integrate the arm into the rest of the chair. Screws were used and capped for the sake of time in the completion of this project. The gaps were filled before it was painted by Vince Salpierto.


Lyle the Crocodile, adapted by Kevin Kling
Imagination Stage, 2013

Expanding foam was sprayed on wax paper and sprinkled pony beads mid-cure. They were shaped with a sureform and painted with acrylics.


La Boheme, by Giacomo Puccini
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016
Scene Design by: Kevin Depinet

A quick afternoon project: there were already several batting-stuffed muslin sausage links already in stock. I coated them in tissue paper to create a crackle-y skin. They were then painted and coated with FEV.



Wilde Tales, by Ben Moore & Kelley Rourke
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016
Scene Design by: Ryan McGettigan

These sausages were made from sections of a thick cardboard tube. One end was stuffed with blue foam, and the other a wad of newspaper. The whole thing was covered in masking tape, applied unevenly to create the wrinkly skin.  The foam was coated with epoxy for rigidity, and after being painted with acrylics it was finished with FEV.



Mantilla Comb

The Nutcracker
Costume Design by Holly Hynes
Kansas City Ballet, 2015

I started this build by researching other mantilla combs and interpreting the designers rendering into an achievable wire design. A printout sized to 4-1/2” was placed under a layer of plastic wrap on a homosote board. The shapes were then formed by curling 18ga. millinery wire around T-pins.  The wire shapes were attached to each other by hand sewing them with silamide thread. The whole thing was coated in glue to smooth out any frays and secure the thread knots. The piece was then painted gold. Sheer polka dot fabric was stitched to both sides. Lastly, the structure was sewn to a black comb.

The veiling was cut from a different sheer black fabric. A fancier trim with gold accents was hand stitched around the perimeter. Red and gold Swarovski HotFix rhinestones were added to the veiling and and wire frame as a final detail.

This was a set of 3 combs; mine is the back left. The other 2 were made by project lead, Joanna Koefoed.

Burgers & Fries

Advanced Hand Props
Ohio University, 2015

The Buns – Expanding foam was blown into plastic containers, and after cure carved into their basic shape. After 2 light coats of latex, they were painted with acrylics. Sculpt or Coat was used as sealer, and crushed seed beads were sprinkled on top as it dried for poppy seeds.

The Patties – Expanding foam was also used for the patties, but many thick layers of latex were applied to create the proper surface area. The patties were sealed with semi-gloss polyurethane to give them an extra shiny, greasy looking appearance.

The Fries – Rigid insulation foam were cut into strips and coated with Sculpt or Coat to give a painting surface. Each fry was kneaded to take down the square edges. They were sealed with a spray poly after a 4-step paint treatment.

The Cheese – A very thick mixture of Sculpt or Coat and acrylic paint was spread onto wax paper and allowed to dry. Before it was fully cured it was gently laid on the patty.

The Veggies – Tomatoes: 2 layers of 1/8” microcell foam, painted, and sealed with Sculpt or Coat. Lettuce: strips of polystyrene plastic heated and crinkled. Spray painted, and sealed with polyurethane. Onions: 1/8” microcell foam.

Oversized Scissors

Sweeney Todd, by Stephen Sondheim
Scenic Design: Andrew Holland
The Glimmerglass Festival, 2016

Photo: Karli Cadel
Photo: Karli Cadel

For this production of Sweeney Todd, Signor Pirelli was a Liberace-inspired showman who required a 5’0” pair of flashy scissors. To keep the scissors lightweight in proportion to their size, a 1/2” plywood  core was sandwiched between 2 layers of 1/2” rigid insulation foam.

The foam was first routed with a 1/4” round over bit before a final shaping and sanding. The foam was coated with white glue to create a barrier before applying the fiberglass resin.

Several layers of chopped fiberglass and resin created strength and Bondo was used to fill any cavities in between sandings to create a smooth and uniform surface.  Metallic spray paint and a high gloss spray sealer were used as the final surface treatment.

Fruit Cart

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Ohio University, 2015

*This was a collaborative project. I completed the wheels and started the box construction while Prop Mastering the show, and then guided fellow artisan Travis Nelson through the rest of the build.*

Blocking during rehearsals demanded that the fruit cart be able to rotate 360°, so the final object differed from the drafting in this regard. Instead, the wheel axle was moved to the back of the cart and a third wheel was added on a central front leg.

The back wheels were made by sandwiching 3 layers of 3/4” plywood, and routing the outer rings to the center. The wheels were fed onto a 1” pipe and tacked into place by custom washers made from 16g. sheet steel to space the wheels on the spoke.

The structure of the box was cut out of 1/2 luan plywood. A groove to indicate planking was cut in using the table saw. Off cuts from other shop projects became the slat details on the front. The wood was all aged using a 4” grinder equipped with a flap wheel.

Wall Clock

Advanced Hand Props, with Tom Fiocchi
Ohio University, 2016

Research Image
Research Image


The original clock was most likely several feet tall despite being a wall hanging. I downsized my clock to roughly 27”H x 11″W x 8-1/2″D.

The first thing I made were the spindles. I used rock maple for it’s strength in turning something both narrow and complicated. They measured around 1-1/2” at the widest diameter and stood at around 13” tall.The trunk was constructed from pine, poplar, ply, and some leftover moulding. The height of the trunk wasn’t determined until the spindles were cut to size. The spindle attachment points were left accessible during construction so they could still be removed.

The base was made from planed and shaped scraps of poplar and a wooden finial found in stock. The thick black paint was sanded off, and its detail returned with a dremel. The trunk was assembled after the base was constructed. The screws that held the bottom of the spindles in place were eventually replaced with the dowels used to create the lower finials.

The plinth was created using a base of pine and embellished with scraps of trim moulding, pressed wood appliqués, poplar, oak, and other findings. The plinth and base both had a set of small decorative finials. They were too delicate to lathe, so I used beads, knobs, and other wood findings to create similar shapes. The best shop finding was by far a perfectly sized lion brooch in the Costume Crafts Shop!

The back plate and pendulum insert were left removable so the clock itself and a plexi window could still be accessed for changing the time and cleaning purposes. The pendulum was of poplar and a pressed wood appliqué.  The whole thing was coated in epoxy create a glossy surface for the paint. Small bits of coat hanger wire were brazed to create the fret and epoxied into the top of the pendulum. The source clock had a decorative plate with the model name “Gloria” engraved on it. I found a drawer pull with no mate in stock and shaped it with the dye grinder and  dremel. As an homage, I christened this clock with my own  initials.

Because so many varieties of wood were used, I chose to paint the clock in order to unify the piece. It was sealed with a polycrylic semi-gloss. The clock rim, pendulum, lion pendant, and name plate were all hit with the same gold spray paint and FEV treatment.


Urinetown Sign

Urinetown, by Mark Hollman & Greg Kotis
Scenic Design by Glenn Pepe
Ohio University, 2015

This 5’9” x 2’0” dimensional sign was cut out of 16ga. sheet steel. The combined efforts of a plasma cutter, a nibbler, and a jig saw were used to cut out the arrow and 3” strips. Welds from the inside secured them to the face. A hole saw was used to cut out 36 holes for Electrics to install lightbulbs. Masonite letters were adhered with Liquid Nails. The unit was rigged by the Scene Shop and painted by the scenic artists.