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Monthly Archives: May 2009

28 05, 2009

Love those specialty drapes from Rent What?

By |May 28th, 2009|Fabrics, Products|0 Comments

Last month I posted about how beautiful Silver Satin is for lighting, and I mentioned in that post that we made a number of drapes in this fabric for our sister company, Rent What?  Well, Rent What? has recently upgraded their website, and there is some fantastic info there on the specialty drapes available for rent, including the Silver Satin Series.

The information that has been added to the website is terrific.  One upgrade that I particularly like is the addition of the Specialty Drapery Series page.  Not only are pictures included for each of the four specialty drapery series (Silver Satin, Rockin Red, Ivory Scene, and Industrial Textures – all manufactured by Sew What?), but there are even links to printable versions of the “Profiles” of each series.  These are great – not only informative, but well-designed and clever. 

They have also added a number of other products to their website, including LED drapes, Kabukis, traveller track, portable dressing rooms and much more.  Congrats to Megan and Marce (owners of Rent What?) for this impressive upgrade to their website.

If you are looking for stage or special event rentals, make sure you check out Rent What?  You won’t be disappointed. 

26 05, 2009

Pipe & Drape – It’s Not Just for Trade Shows Anymore

By |May 26th, 2009|Education, Products|1 Comment

You may not know what it is called, but you have probably seen pipe and drape at some point.  If you have gone to a home or craft show at your local convention center, if you have gone to a convention for your business association and there was an exhibitor hall at the hotel…chances are, you’ve seen pipe and drape systems (also called exhibit supply).

“Pipe and drape” is the common term for the components used to make trade show booths.  Depending on the components selected, pipe and drape can be used to make a single back wall, an individual booth or even a series of connected booths.  And they are easy to put together.  Simply place the bases on the ground, insert the uprights, thread the drapes onto the telescopic drape supports, and insert the drape supports to the top of the uprights.  No wonder they are used for trade shows – they are quick and easy to set up and take down and they are relatively inexpensive.

These same features of pipe and drape make it a great alternative for many applications outside the trade show circuit.  With just a few components, a church can have a 3 foot high privacy screen in front of the choir onstage.  If the choir isn’t singing for a service, the privacy screen can be quickly dismantled and placed offstage.  A high school can use pipe and base to decorate the school gym for the prom.  Instead of looking at gym walls and bleachers, the students could be looking at beautiful satin or voile drapery, easily displayed around the entire perimeter of the gym on pipe and base hardware.  A retail store could use pipe and drape as a backdrop to an open window display.  Radio stations could use pipe and base, along with digitally printed backdrops displaying the station’s logo, to make promotional booths outside rock concerts.

The possibilities are endless.  All it takes is a little imagination.

21 05, 2009

No Auditorium, and No Money to Build One?

By |May 21st, 2009|Education, Products|0 Comments

A lot of schools out there are small and (unfortunately) rather old, so not all have theatres or auditoriums dedicated to the performing arts.  One way to solve this problem is to convert an existing area, such as a gym or cafeteria, into a multipurpose room by building a stage at one end.  If you have the space for the stage (and the ceiling height), you can build a stage, install curtain track, and hang bi-parting stage curtains.  Maybe hang some basic stage lights.  Voila!  You have a simple stage area for music performances, school plays, and much more. 

On a daily basis, the room is used for its typical purpose (basketball practice, lunch, whatever).  The stage sits there at the end, drapes closed.  But on the nights that you have a recital scheduled, the transformation begins.  Bleachers or lunch tables are moved out or masked off from view.  Chairs are set up in rows facing the stage.  Lights are dimmed a little.  The audience enters and is seated.  Curtains open and the show begins.

Obviously, this is not an ideal solution.  But let’s face it, budgets are tight right now, especially in public education.  Construction projects (new schools, new buildings at existing schools) are being put on hold.  And the PTA isn’t going to be able to raise a million dollars for a new building.  But maybe they can raise the money for a project such as this (especially if there are parents in the construction industry willing to donate labor or materials). 

Just something to think about…

19 05, 2009

Why is one quote for stage curtains so much lower?

By |May 19th, 2009|Education, Products|0 Comments

So, you’ve gotten two bids on new custom stage curtains, and one quote is lower than the other.  What could be the differentiating factor between two otherwise identical quotes? 

There are many factors that can affect pricing – some good, some bad (at least from the buyer’s perspective):

  • Substitution of a “no-name” fabric
  • Old materials / materials whose flame retardancy is close to expiration
  • Returned / used fabrics
  • Sub-standard workmanship

These all sound like scary reasons for a lower bid.  But there are also some positive reasons that one vendor can offer a lower bid than another:

  • Lower overhead
  • More efficient production methods
  • Greater purchasing power
  • Leaner profit margins 

The fact is, there is no easy way to know if a lower price is better, and so in my opinion, decisions should be based on more than price.  Yes, price has to be considered, especially in light of today’s economy.  But it shouldn’t be the only consideration. 


Does one company have a reputation of offering superior workmanship?  Has one company provided timely, prompt customer service?  Have you received fabric samples from both vendors and, if so, are the fabrics identical, or does one fabric appear to be of higher quality?


After evaluating all of the factors – price, product quality, company reputation, customer service – you will then be able to make an informed decision as to which quote to accept.  You may still choose the lower quote, or you may decide to choose the other bid despite the higher price.  Either way, you will feel more comfortable with your decision in the long run.

15 05, 2009

Thinking about fabric longevity

By |May 15th, 2009|Education, Fabrics, Products|0 Comments

As I have been on a bit of a “green” tangent lately, investigating the availability and viability of “eco-friendly” theatrical fabrics, digital printing inks, etc., it has also lead me to consider the durability and longevity of theatrical drapery fabrics, and how they impact the earth.

Yes, I do understand the impact that the manufacture of synthetic fabrics has on the environment.  But I also recognize that, in most cases, a custom stage curtain manufactured from a synthetic velour  will be much more durable and therefore should last much longer than a curtain manufactured from cotton velour. 

Now, that is obviously a negative if we are talking about a short-term-use curtain that is destined for a landfill.  But what about the school, the church, the theatre that is purchasing a grand drape for longterm use?  Is it really better to buy a cotton drape?  Yes, the cotton drape may be a better choice, environmentally speaking, when initially manufactured.  But is it really better over the long term? 

Cotton velour drapes need to be topically treated for flame retardancy, on average once every five years, releasing more chemicals into the environment each time.  Cotton velour is also less durable and therefore the organization would need to replace the drapes sooner than synthetic velour drapes.  An synthetic velour drape, in comparison, has no topical flame retardancy treatment, and therefore no retreatment is required.  The drape should also last longer, as polyester fibers are more durable than cotton. 

So is it better for a theatre to purchase, for example, 4 sets of cotton velour grand drapes over the course of, say, 50 years?  Or would it be better if they bought 2 sets of synthetic velour grand drapes over that same time frame?  Something to think about.