Tag Archives: blog

This blog is one-year old today

Tomorrow will be one year since the First Post of this blog. I now have a link to the archives of my blog, which will show the 162 posts I’ve made so far, as well as this one and all future posts. So if you miss a few days, or are new to the site, you can quickly check out all the contents. If you don’t want to miss any posts from now on, you can subscribe to my blog with your favorite blog reader, or sign up to get all articles through email. I post three times a week, and as a bonus, the RSS feed and email subscriptions are advertisement-free.

During the past year, I attended the 2009 SETC Theatre Symposium, which focused on props. My paper was presented in a panel called “Creating Props, Creating Performances“. I’ve also posted some highlights from Bland Wade’s keynote speech as well as the closing remarks. I also took part in the “first” New York City Props Summit, where I met many other props people from the city. Finally, I was hired full-time as the Assistant Props Master at the Public Theatre.

I described some of the props I made for Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them, including a separate post on the bar. During Shakespeare in the Park, I made a wooden ratchet and a funerary urn trick for Twelfth Night. The big prop for The Bacchae was a dead body, which I described in two posts (part one and part two) as well as a third post showing the evolution of the head of Pentheus. Last fall, my wife and I built a three-foot tall garden gnome. I prop-mastered my first New York show, Slave Shack, and wrote an article on the set props and one on the hand props. I finished the year with a wooden table for Mike Daisey’s The Last Cargo Cult.

I’ve also made some videos for this site. I have one on blood sponges, a breakaway bottle, making a breakable glass, and a video of my father throwing a ceramic pot. One thing I hope to show more of on this blog is diagrams, illustrations, photographs and timelines of specific kinds of objects. Whether I find them online, or create them myself, my wish is to compile a sort of “quick reference guide” for commonly used props. So far, I have information on bar glassware, telephone history, 40 Styles of Chairs, mid-century kitchens, old-fashioned carpentry tools, a brief history of gift wrap, and the parts of a chair.

This blog has a number of articles I’ve written:

I also reprint articles from older books in the public domain:

I investigated when the the word “property” was first used in the theatrical sense, as well as the first time it was shortened to “props”. I’m interested in the history of props and prop-making itself, and have written about Ancient Greek theatre props, Shakespeare’s Props, and gathered a group of photographs of props in the twentieth century.

And finally, I’ve shown off the work of other people and companies, such as the Santa Fe Opera, Actors Theatre of Louisville Props Shop, a tour of the Mythbusters Shop, Ross MacDonald, Milwaukee Rep’s Prop Shop, the Internet Craftsmanship Museum, prop people across the news, interviews at Collectors Weekly, Mad Men Props, and original Stargate SG-1 Props.

There’s still dozens more posts on this site I haven’t mentioned here, so take the time, if you haven’t already, to poke around. I wanted to thank all of you who have written or talked to me over the past year about this blog; I don’t know if I would keep writing this if I didn’t know people were reading it. If you like this site, leave a comment or shoot me an email, and share it with a friend. I’d also love to hear any suggestions for topics to cover in the future (or topics to stop covering). Until next time, prop it like it’s hot!

Friday Link-a-dink

It’s time for the first round up of links of the year.

  • Matthew D. Jordan pointed me to two of his sites. The first is a scenic-shop blog. I know some of you who work in smaller theatres have to do both scenery and props, so you’ll find it interesting, but even those of you who focus more specifically on props can still find some crossover in the topics this blog covers. His second is a Stagecraft Wiki. Like Wikipedia, this is a site you can edit and write yourself. The only way for a site like that to grow is for everyone to add a little bit of their own knowledge and tell their colleagues to check it out as well.
  • Do you like old-timey blueprints? How about the blueprints of Monsieur Eiffel and a little tower he designed*?
  • The New York Public Library has a few pictures of furniture from the Ancient World. Exotic!
  • BAFRA has an article on how to furnish an eighteenth-century bed. Naughty!

Until next time!

*That would be the Eiffel Tower.

Friday Link-topia

It’s been a busy week, and it’s going to be a busy month. Here’s another quick list of links I wanted to share, until I can find time to write something for reals.

  • Jesse Gaffney, a freelance props master in Chicago, has a new blog. Theatre Projects details the process behind some of his more challenging props projects. I’ve also added a link to the blogroll column on the side.
  • Art of Manliness has a wonderfully illustrated article on the various types of hammers and how to use them.  And if you’ve never been to the Art of Manliness before, take some time to look around; there’s a large archive of articles and forums to explore.
  • Popular Woodworking magazine has posted 3D models of some of the projects featured in their magazine. I don’t know if any of you props people ever use 3D to help you build, but if so, this is a great repository of early American furniture and workbenches.
  • Finally, if you have time, watch The Story of Stuff. It’s a 20 minute film showing how products go from raw materials to the store. It examines the social, environmental, and political aspects of production and consumption, but it’s also interesting for props people who are interested in objects and where they come from.