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Monthly Archives: July 2013

30 07, 2013

Custom Gauzy Swags for Wilco

By |July 30th, 2013|Products, Projects|0 Comments

When Jeremy Roth, lighting designer for the alternative rock band Wilco emailed over his design concept for theatrical swags, it was a Sew What? first.

Anyone familiar with Wilco’s music knows that it is a far cry from traditional – blending tones of folk, indie and experimental rock to create an audio version of an unpredictable asymmetrical balance of ‘art’ for the ol’ ear drum. By utilizing a gauzy textile called Spider Stretch, the visual stage design emulates the ‘audible design’ of their albums – a little off-beat-sweet blended with a slightly trashy romance of ghostly familiarity.

Photo Courtesy Jeremy Roth

White Spider Stretch, a fabric traditionally used for lighting and shadow effects, was sewn into a family of half and whole swags in varying heights, widths, and fullnesses, along with two sets of legs, to create the off-kilter balance of drape apparitions that Jeremy was able to light with varying colors throughout the show, and even project onto. “The drapes are fabulous. The sheerness and fullness of the material was even better than I had anticipated and the custom sewing is really well done,” boasted Jeremy after seeing his creation hit the stage and lit up for the first time.


Photo Courtesy Jeremy Roth

An upstage metal mesh drape as well as custom lighting elements completed the look for their current Americanarama tour alongside Bob Dylan and My Morning Jacket.

26 07, 2013

Beautiful Layering of Chameleon LED Drapes and Specialty Rental Drapes at Colbie Caillat Show

By |July 26th, 2013|Products, Projects|0 Comments

With the onset of another beautiful summer here in Southern California comes not only the multitude of sensational summer tours, but also comes the family-friendly and extremely entertaining shows at county fairs! Just a few weeks ago one of our favorite artists, Colbie Caillat played to a completely riveted audience at the Orange County Fair 2013 in Costa Mesa, California. Working with Tour Manager Ryan Bishop, we here at Rent What? were very excited to help provide some of our dynamic theatrical rental drapes for Colbie’s summer tour, and especially at this local county fair.


 Photo Courtesy Ronn Conzano

Led by renowned stage designer Paul “Arlo” Guthrie, their design team used our versatile 30’ x 15’ Chameleon LED Backdrops as their main stage cyc, and layered our lightweight and enchanting 24’h x 12’w Sheer White Voile pleated specialty drapes directly in front of them. Layering these White Voile drapes in front of the Chameleon LED drapes helped create a mystical and dream-like appearance to their already stunning stage design, which was perfect for an outdoor concert under the stars! As the Chameleon LED drape operator, Kenny Gribbon was brilliantly able to utilize the included DMX controller to change the colors of the LED lights on the drape according the mood of the song and to the exact rhythm that they desired. And talented OC Fair photographer Ronn Conzano was able to truly capture how unique and gorgeous the stage design was behind this captivating artist. We were thrilled to be a part of Colbie Caillat’s amazing show, and love that her design team was able to layer our rental theatrical stage drapes in such a dramatic and memorable way.

23 07, 2013

Parnelli Visionary Award

By |July 23rd, 2013|News|0 Comments

So exciting to learn that Eric Pearce of Show Group Production Services (SGPS) has been selected to receive the Parnelli Visionary Award.  Eric is a legend in the industry, having formed Showlites in the 1970s, which became SGPS in the 1990s.  Eric has had a tremendous influence on the industry, and it is amazing to see how many people who worked with Eric in the early days now have their own successful companies.  Even Sew What? Inc. is one of those companies!

The Parnelli Awards honor the achievers and innovators in the live event industry.  Awards presented run the gamut of live event production and staging categories, including lighting design, staging, rigging, trucking and freight, and much more more.

Eric will be honored with the award at the Parnelli Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas in November. Congratulations, Eric.

19 07, 2013

A Blast from the Past

By |July 19th, 2013|Company, News|0 Comments

Recently, Andrea (our Graphics Coordinator) discovered that her neighbor John (who used to be a lighting designer) was a customer of Sew What? back about ten years ago or so. John remembered a holiday postcard he had received from Sew What? back in the day – he actually still had the postcard and shared it with Andrea.

As soon as Megan and I saw it, we remembered it. This was back in the days when Megan created all of our marketing materials herself – from designing and building our website to designing promotional materials. This particular postcard, built by Megan in Adobe Photoshop, was sent to clients during the holiday season of 2004 – my first year with Sew What?

It was shortly afterwards that Megan began a major rebranding of the company, retaining a marketing company to create a new brand, completely redesign and rebuild the company’s website, expand the company’s online presence to include Flickr, YouTube, and Linked In, and much more.

It has been nearly nine years since the rebranding, and as we continually seek to improve our website and expand our online content (such as adding the company blog in 2009), we sometimes forget what it was like in the early days. It is great fun to get this “blast from the past” to bring it all back!


16 07, 2013

Draped Sheers at Lone Star Ballet

By |July 16th, 2013|Clients, Products, Projects|0 Comments

As Creative Director and Senior Sales for Sew What? Inc., I work with clients on a number of projects featuring custom stage curtains, digital backdrops and other soft goods. My role is focused on the front end – consulting with the client to understand the client’s vision of the set design, translating that vision into a recommendation of how Sew What? can help achieve that vision (perhaps recommending a specific fabric or style of custom drape), following through with our manufacturing department as the drapes are being made, and much more. However, while I may see the finished product in our facility just prior to shipment, it is rare that I see the drapery on the back end – in use by the customer.

That is why I love it when I find a picture on Flickr or a video on YouTube of our custom made stage drapery or backdrops featured in a concert or performance. Even better is when a client emails me a photo – that tells me that the client is pleased with the products we provided, and gives me the opportunity to “see them in action.”

Recently I was emailed by Vido Rhodes from Lone Star Ballet, an organization that I have been pleased to assist for several years now. Vido sent me a couple of photos of sheer drapery that we manufactured for them over the last year or so, on stage during Lone Star Ballet performances.


FR Gold Chiffon Drapes.  Photo Courtesy Vido Rhodes, Lone Star Ballet

These 30’ h x 9’ 9” w drapes were sewn flat (unpleated), with grommets and ties on both the top and the bottom. This offers flexibility in hanging and draping. The client can increase or decrease the fullness of the drapes as desired, simply by varying the way the drapes are tied onto the supporting structure. The closer together, the greater the fullness; farther apart and the fullness decreases. The grommets and ties on the bottom edge also allow the client to use the drapes in multiple ways – either hanging from the top in a traditional drape configuration, or creating swags by hanging from both the top and bottom.


IFR Fire Red Voile Drapes.  Photo Courtesy Vido Rhodes, Lone Star Ballet

I love the way that Vido and his colleagues have designed the stage for these performances, and I’m so proud that our drapery played such a key role in achieving their vision.